Photo of Bjarne Sode Funch

Bjarne Sode Funch


  • Universitetsvej 1, 03.1-NE

    DK-4000 Roskilde


1974 …2020

Research output per year

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Personal profile


Bjarne Sode Funch is an Associate Professor in psychological aesthetics at Roskilde University in Denmark. For the academic year 2015-2016 he was a Templeton Fellow at the Notre Dame Institute for Advanced Study at University of Notre Dame, USA. His scholarly interests are in the areas of psychological aesthetics, phenomenology, and existential psychology. Much of his research is dedicated the curatorial and educational programs at art museums.

His book The Psychology of Art Appreciation (1997) is a comprehensive review of how different schools of psychological thought have concerned themselves with the topic of art since the time of Gustav T. Fechner’s epoch-making approach to formal beauty in the 19th century until recent works by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi. It also offers a new existential-phenomenological theory of art appreciation. The book suggests that an aesthetic experience, as a transcendent phenomenon, contextualizes an emotion within a distinct form. It concludes that art is the optimal option for constituting fleeting emotions caused by previous or current existential circumstances. This emotional constitution contributes to existential well-being.

His most recent monograph Matissekapellet: Et jordisk paradis (2010) [The Matisse Chapel: An Earthly Paradise], is concerned with the French painter Henri Matisse and his work on a small chapel, Chapelle du Rosaire des Dominicaines de Vence, in the south of France. It focuses on four major works of art and shows how Matisse brings his own artistic force into play with Christian ideas of paradise, purity, love, and suffering. It argues that Matisse’s work on the Vence Chapel is not only a major work of art but also contributes significantly to a contemporary understanding of Christianity.

Bjarne S. Funch has written a great number of articles and other scholarly works on art appreciation and art’s importance to emotional and existential integrity, as well as articles about ethics of confrontational drama in museums, the phenomenological method in museum studies, and silence as an existential utopia among many other topics. He is currently participating in research projects on art curatorial studies at the Esbjerg Art Museum and on the aesthetic experience and the pre-reflective self at the University of Copenhagen. He regularly contributes to research networks on existential-phenomenology, interdisciplinary aesthetics, and museum studies. Dr. Funch is a member of the American Society for Aesthetics, the International Council of Museums, the International Association of Empirical Aesthetics, the European Society for Aesthetics, and the Society for Existential-Phenomenology.

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Research Output

Art, emotion, and existential well-being

Funch, B. S., 30 Apr 2020, In : Journal of Theoretical and Philosophical Psychology. 40

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

Farvens indre klang

Funch, B. S., 2020, Baron Rosenkrantz: Farvernes mystik. Hedin, G., Gether, C. & Rasmussen, N. (eds.). Ishøj: Arken Museum of Art

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingBook chapterResearchpeer-review

How art affect us

Funch, B. S., Roald, T. & Køppe, S., 2020, Handbook of language and emotion. Schiewer, G. L., Altarriba, J. & Chin Ng, B. (eds.). De Gruyter

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingBook chapterResearchpeer-review

An Extended Look at Art

Funch, B. S., 2019, In : Journal of Aesthetic Education. 53, 1, p. 106-119 14 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

Visual Art and the Rhythm of Experience

Levin, K., Roald, T. & Funch, B. S., 2019, In : The Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism. 77, 2, p. 281-293

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review