Irina Danieli
ifk Junior Fellow

Duration of fellowship
01. October 2021 bis 30. June 2022

Animals and Identity. An Analysis of Maria Lassnig’s Animal Paintings


The dissertation inquires into animal depictions, as found in the work of Maria Lassnig. Individual sections of her work, selected through formal and content-related criteria, are placed in a dialogue with Human-Animal Studies. Does Lassnig answer to the human-animal discourse that emerged at the time of her work’s creation? Fundamental zoological and aesthetic questions are at stake: To what extent should the appearance of animals in art be understood as a metaphor? Do animals always refer to the human realm or do animals also assume non-metaphorical functions, e.g. as portraits of individuals?

This approach will allow new insights into Maria Lassnigs oeuvre, notably her concept of the body and human-animal relationships.


Irina Danieli studied Theater, Film and Media Studies, and History of Art at University of Vienna. Between 2014 and 2015, she worked for six months as intern at the Phototheque of the Institute of Art History (Max Planck Institute) in Florence. In addition to her studies, she worked as a tutor at the Institute of Art History. As an intern at the Picture Gallery at Kunsthistorisches Museum (Vienna), she inquired into the inventory catalog of Titian’s paintings, followed by several commissions for the museum. Her master’s thesis focusses on Tintoretto’s Susanna in the Bath (1555/56, KHM), emphasizing narratological effects in the Venetian Cinquecento in connection with modern gender research. Since 2020, she focusses on Maria Lassnig’s oeuvre, notably her animal paintings. Further research interests are: feminist art history, zoological aesthetics, animal theory, and gender studies.

02 May 2022
  • Lecture
Irina Danieli


Maria Lassnig malt Tiere, viele Tiere. In allen Medien, Notizen und Gesprächen finden sich Beispiele der tiefen Auseinandersetzung Lassnigs mit dem tierlichen Gegenüber. Diesen Tieren eignet eine ähnliche Mischung aus Nähe und Alterität wie der Selbsterfahrung des Leibes – sie stehen in Verbindung mit dem Lassnigs Werk überspannenden Komplex des Körpergefühls - siehe Bildmaterial zum Vortrag von Irina Danieli in der Anlage.