Tessel M. Bauduin (University of Amsterdam), ‘Fantastic art, Barr, surrealism’ 17/TMB
Abstract: In 1936 Alfred Barr, jr., curator-director of the Museum of Modern Art, New York, organised the first large-scale American show about dada and surrealism, which he named Fantastic Art, Dada, Surrealism. This show would have a considerable impact, not least because of its introduction of ‘fantastic’ as a category of visual art closely related to surrealism. But how and why did Barr arrive at this label? This article explores several sources, including surrealist lectures, early twentieth-century Belgian art history and art criticism, and art historical debates about form vs. content, south vs. north, and reason vs. fantasy. Some suggestion are made as to why Barr considered ‘fantastic’ relevant at that time, including to set it against Cubism and Abstract Art and to make a—partly political—point about the form/content-dichotomy and the validity of romanticism, sentiment and the fantastic.
Keywords: fantastic art, surrealism, Alfred Barr, jr., MoMA, fantastique, André Breton, Fantastic Art, Dada, Surrealism, surrealist exhibition history
Ayelet Carmi (Harvard), ‘Sally Mann’s American vision of the land’ 17/AC1
Abstract: The American photographer Sally Mann is one of the best-known female artists of our time. She is known primarily for her family photographs Immediate Family from 1992, which provoked intense controversies in the American media and art world, around child pornography and motherhood. While these photographs occupy a central place in the artistic discourse about Mann, her series of landscape photographs remain relatively unexamined. This study examines Mann’s landscapes and the ways they were framed in the art historical discourse. I argue that the canon of American landscape photography is the subject matter of Mann’s landscapes, and that her work stands in for a wider project: demonstrating that there is no landscape per se, nor ever was. Moreover, by analyzing the discourse surrounding Mann’s landscapes, this study highlights the patriarchal biases and intra-geographical hierarchy of symbolic meanings between the US regions that underlie the canon of American landscape photography.
Keywords: Sally Mann, landscape, photography, gender, historical memory, national identity, American South.
Robert W. Gaston (Melbourne), ‘Paradigm hunting: architectural and argumentational decorum in Marvin Trachtenberg’s research’ 17/RWG1
Abstract: The author explores the methodology of a selection of Marvin Trachtenberg’s publications on medieval and Renaissance architecture. Particular attention is given to his distinctive use of both paradigm theory and what the author identifies as paradigm inversion or reversal, a characteristically bold strategy of argumentation in Trachtenberg’s work, but one nevertheless carefully controlled in its rhetorical presentation. Trachtenberg’s argumentational language and terminology are examined, and his probable sources identified. His constant reworking of interpretations of buildings he has previously studied and the successive modifications of his methodology and its means of persuasion are pursued through close analysis of his texts. The author introduces aspects of current ‘politeness theory’ to emphasise and theorize Trachtenberg’s blending of both disciplinary caution and a transgressive approach to paradigm-shifting, entailing ‘seduction’ of the reader.
Key words: Paradigm-shift, decorum, politeness, ekphrasis, Gothic, modernism, historicism
Csilla Markója (Hungarian Academy of Sciences), ’János (Johannes) Wilde and Max Dvořák, or Can we speak of a Budapest school of art history?’ 17/CM1Illustrations
Abstract: Johannes Wilde, noted Michelangelo researcher and deputy director of the Courtauld Institute in London, earned fame, among other things, for being among the first to use the X-ray to examine art objects. This paper highlights Wilde’s close friendship with Max Dvorák, (who died in his arms in 1921) and his correspondence documenting his daily contacts with the Viennese school. Wilde is among the Hungarians, like Arnold Hauser and Charles de Tolnay, who won world fame. Beside revealing the daily life of a Hungarian art historian and his colleagues (Elek Petrovics, Simon Meller, Károly Tolnay, K. M. Swoboda, Strzygowsky, Schlosser) in wartime Vienna, his correspondence is a primary source to study the little-known support of Austrian aristocrats (Count Khuen-Belasi, Count Lanckoronski, Count Wilczek) for Hungarian artists. The periodical Enigma released a four-time selection of the 3,000 letters (some in the Hungarian National Gallery, some in London) with the Wilde siblings’ epistolary diary of the Budapest siege of 1944. The study is about these new sources, the Wilde-Dvorák friendship, Wilde’s contact with the Viennese School and the Sunday Circle, and raises the question again whether a Budapest school of art history can be outlined.
Keywords: Johannes Wilde, Max Dvorák, Sunday Circle, Viennese School, Michelangelo, Courtauld Institute, Budapest Museum of Fine Arts
Gavin Parkinson (Courtauld Institute), ‘Positivism, Impressionism and Magic: modifying the modern canon in America and France from the 1940s’ 17/GP1
Abstract: This article narrates for the first time the competing views over Impressionism in America and France in the 1940s and 1950s, between modernist art history led by Clement Greenberg, on the one hand, and Surrealism led by André Breton, on the other. It argues that the sustained critique of Surrealism against positivism in the early 1940s helped to determine accidentally the modernist reconstitution of Impressionism – a movement that had suffered some neglect historiographically due to the emergence and rise of the utterly dissimilar Surrealism in the 1920s and 1930s – that was continued into the 1950s. The observation of and resistance to the triumph of American abstraction and revival of Impressionism in that decade by a now thoroughly esoteric Surrealism are shown to be another facet of this chapter forgotten by art history.
Key words: positivism, Impressionism, Surrealism, modernism, Monet, magic, Greenberg
Barbara Pezzini (Manchester), ‘Art sales and attributions: the 1852 National Gallery acquisition of The Tribute Money by Titian’ 17/BP1
Abstract: Using a broad range of previously unexplored sources such as sales catalogues, newspaper articles, parliamentary reports, and National Gallery documents and correspondence, this paper reconstructs the commercial trajectory and critical reception of a painting by Titian, The Tribute Money, when the London National Gallery purchased it in 1852. It demonstrates that the stylistic dispute was only one aspect that contributed to the nineteenth-century attribution history of this painting. In fact, the modalities of its sale at auction, and a growing suspicion towards art dealers, contributed to the negative evaluation of The Tribute Money’s authenticity. The broader methodological contribution of this paper is the complication of the relationship of cause and effect between quality and prices in art sales, and the impact that sale prices can have on an artist’s subsequent historiography.
Keywords: Titian, William Woodburn, National Gallery, art market, art prices, connoisseurship, attributions.
Devika Singh (Centre allemand d’histoire de l’art, Paris), ‘German-speaking exiles and the writing of Indian art history’ 17/DS1
Abstract: The German and Austrian origins of some of India’s leading art historians from the 1930s to the 1960s is an understudied dimension of art historiography that questions the knowledge hierarchies of the British Empire and the role of foreigners in Indian nation building. The article focuses on three figures who held key positions in the Indian art world (Ernst Cohn-Wiener, Hermann Goetz and Rudolf von Leyden) and argues that such German-speaking exiles played a determining role in urgent debates of the time. Participating in the circulation of foreign art and ideas in India, especially in Bombay and Baroda, they significantly impacted on the selective process of the history of art. Far from propagating an esoteric, Hindu-centred perspective on Indian art, as did many Indian nationalist art historians, émigrés championed an inclusive take on art by integrating its Muslim as well as Hindu heritage. In addition they helped launch some of India’s most innovative artists. The article thus opens up broader discussions on art and nationalism, the building of a canon and the appropriation of modernism before and after Indian independence.
Key words: India, Germany, Austria, exile, migration, nationalism, canon, modernism, Ernst Cohn-Wiener, Hermann Goetz, Rudolf von Leyden
Jindřich Vybíral (Academy of Arts, Architecture and Design in Prague), ‘Why Max Dvořák did not become a Professor in Prague’ 17/JV1
Abstract: In 1903, the Czech University in Prague proceeded to fill the vacant chair in Art History. The Philosophical Faculty chose the mediocre – and subsequently quite forgotten – Bohumil Matějka, intentionally bypassing the clearly more competent Max Dvořák, the most famous Czech-born historian of art. According the report of the committee which had decided to choose Matějka, the principal reason for this appointment was number of years served by him. This paper attempts to explore the background of Dvořák’s rejection and to set the affair into a more plastic and broader context, based on so far neglected archival material. The goal is not only to complement Dvořák’s intellectual biography but also to learn more about the functioning of the institutions of learning in the Hapsburg monarchy, and about the role of history of art in Czech national society.
Key words: Max Dvořák, Bohumil Matějka, art history, Czech University in Prague
Reconsidering the Origins of Portraiture edited by Mateusz Grzęda and Marek Walczak
Mateusz Grzęda (Jagiellonian University) and Marek Walczak (Jagiellonian University), ‘Reconsidering the origins of portraiture: introduction 17/GW1
Abstract: This introductory essay discusses central issues of European portraiture in the period of its decisive transformation in the later Middle Ages. Starting with the notion of an individual in the Middle Ages it moves on to consider means of pictorial representation of men in the High and later Middle Ages, and to reflect on portraits’ power to make an absent man present. All these issues are considered based on Central European examples, namely, portraits of Casimir the Great, the king of Poland; those of Charles IV, the holy roman emperor and king of Bohemia, and a celebrated portrait of Rudolph IV, the archduke of Austria, thus stressing their relevance to the development of early modern portraiture.
Key words: portraiture, representation, individual, likeness, Middle Ages, Renaissance, Central Europe
Pierre-Yves Le Pogam (Louvre Museum, Paris), ‘The features of Saint Louis’ 17/PLP1
Abstract: The recent ninth centenary of the birth of Saint Louis, in 2014, gave the possibility to renew the study of the man and his reign, so important for French history, not in a nationalistic agenda or for a mere celebration, but in order to shed new light on a figure indeed profoundly studied but deserving a repeated attention, so much Louis IX lends to many-sided, even contradictory explanations. In the past, one has paid an almost maniacal attention to the point of the physical appearance of the king, looking in some images for a reflection of, or indeed a portrait of Saint Louis. Or, on the contrary and more recently, one has denied any validity to this trend of studies. In line with the essay I devoted on this question in the catalogue of the recent exhibition on Saint Louis in Paris, I would like here to go further in the analysis, especially regarding the meaning of details of the dress and bodily features of the saint king.
Key words: Louis IX (Saint Louis), portrait, beard, royal iconography, Sainte-Chapelle
Katharina Weiger (Kunsthistorisches Institut in Florence, Max-Planck-Institut), ‘The portraits of Robert of Anjou: self-presentation as political instrument?’ 17/KW1
Abstract: The slightly curved nose and hanging chin came to be characteristics of the portraits of Robert of Anjou and made him ‘the most recognizable of all medieval monarchs’. This analysis will explore the question whether this concept of portraiture was used to influence the public and as an instrument to forge the legacy of Robert’s sovereignty on the Italian peninsula. In doing so, it is important to consider that the Avignon Papacy changed the religious situation in the Christian world at that time which perhaps could have influenced the representation of the French monarch too.
Key words: Robert of Anjou, portraits, Anjou Bible, royal self-perception, imaging sovereignty
Mateusz Grzęda (Jagiellonian University), ‘Representing the Archbishop of Trier: portraits of Kuno von Falkenstein’ 17/MG1
Abstract: The article addresses the issue of physiognomic individualization that distinguishes portraits of Kuno von Falkenstein (ca. 1320–88), the Archbishop of Trier and Elector of the Holy Roman Empire. While the first part of the paper pays special attention to the famous description of Kuno’s outward appearance created by Tilemann Elhen von Wolfhagen in his Limburger Chronik, the second part examines the portraits of the hierarch, and especially two of them: the one found in the so called Pericopes of Kuno von Falkenstein (ca. 1380, Trier, Treasury of the Cathedral) and another in his tomb monument in the church of St. Castor in Koblenz. The article states that in Kuno’s portraits, not only were the legal and political dimensions of his power emphasized, but also those of universal and godly character expressed in specific individual qualities, identifiable with Kuno. Individualized physiognomy that appears in Kuno’s portraits appears in this context as an integral component of the archbishops’ visual representation in which his identity as both an ecclesiastic of high rank and a sovereign of the Electorate is constantly revealed.
Key words: portraiture, representation, likeness, physiognomy, Holy Roman Empire, fourteenth century
Javier Martínez de Aguirre (Universidad Complutense de Madrid), ‘Pride and memory: perceptions of individuality in Iberian sculpture around 1400’ 17/JMdA
Abstract: In the Iberian kingdoms of Castile-Leon and Navarre, the development of individualized sculptural representations at the beginning of fifteenth-century was directly conditioned by the interest of patrons. Castilian kings and many nobles of the most powerful lineages gave no importance to the commissioning of funerary statues. On the other hand, King Charles the Noble of Navarre and some prelates and nobles, raised to the highest positions because of their services to the monarchs, felt more attracted by the idea of leaving a memory including their physical appearance. The depiction of physical likeness depended, secondly, on the training and ability of the artists, as well as on the existence or not of the sitter at the time the work was executed. In Navarra, sculptural fidelity to facial features enjoyed wide acceptance, while the contemporary literature showed no signs of interest in these personality traits. In Castile, however, writers of classical training had provided physical descriptions of the main characters in history since the 14th century, while sculptural depiction of individualized features came later.
Key words: Iberian late Gothic sculpture, origins of portraiture, Gothic art and literature
Jakov Đorđević (Belgrade University), ‘Made in the skull’s likeness: of transi tombs, identity and memento mori’ 17/JD1
Abstract: This paper examines the ways in which identity in the later Middle Ages could be displayed through the means that paradoxically seem to dissolve the very idea of identity – the image of the decomposed body. In the following pages it is argued that the transi or cadaver monuments were considered to represent the true portraits of deceased individuals, emphasizing that those buried beneath were experiencing purgatorial pains. Special attention is devoted to the mechanisms which were employed in order for the transis to be fashioned as individual portraits. Even though cadaver monuments were not part of the experience of Italian art of Trecento and Quattrocento, it is argued that, albeit all the differences from its northern counterparts, the tomb slab of Antonio Amati should be considered as a true transi tomb as well as the true portrait of the deceased.
Keywords: transi tomb, Antonio Amati, verminous effigy, likeness, memento mori, macabre
Krzysztof J. Czyżewski (Wawel Royal Castle) and Marek Walczak (Jagiellonian University), ‘Picturing continuity. The beginnings of the portrait gallery of Cracow bishops in the cloisters of the Franciscan friary in Cracow’ 17/CW1
Abstract: Important type of “group” portraits are likenesses of people connected by blood, holding the same position or representing the same office, shown next to one another, in chronological order. Such portrait galleries, which usually displayed a high degree of uniformity and disregarded the chronological and spatial accuracy, are examples of commemorative paintings. Their primary purpose was to emphasise the lineage and create a picture of unity by simultaneously showing, as a “family” and “house” people who lived in various times, but were united by heredity or succession. In the case of portraits of Catholic clergy, a key role is played by the notion of the Apostolic succession which has guaranteed the continuity in the Church since the times of Christ. The paper deals with (partially surviving) group of likenesses of bishops, in the east and south wings of the cloister of the Franciscan friary in Cracow, initiated in the 1430s by Cardinal Zbigniew Oleśnicki, then ordinary bishop of Cracow, 1323–1455. The Franciscan collection likely showed all of Oleśnicki’s predecessors seated next to one another on stone benches, dressed in pontifical garb and identified by means of coats of arms. The founder of the gallery decided that his predecessors be depicted seated, a pose that was considered to be a privileged one, signified the authority of bishops and their role as teachers. The figures of enthroned bishops form a timeless, “ideal” congregation of hierarchs of the local ecclesiastical community. This particular, and fairly rare, arrangement of the representation may have been influenced by the fact that the portraits were painted on walls of cloister walks where, according to the monastic tradition, stone benches were often present. Zbigniew Oleśnicki was well-versed in history and there can be no doubt that he considered himself to be the heir to the accomplishments of all his predecessors and treated their group representation not only as an illustration of the lineage of diocesan bishops, but also as an eternal synod in session deliberating over the problems of the Cracow Church. If we consider the paintings in the light of the article of faith on the communion of saints, they may be seen as depicting not only symbolically the fellowship of the living head of the Cracow Church with all the bishops that preceded him on the way to Salvation. Oleśnicki, who instituted Eucharistic processions held in the walks of the Franciscan cloister, by participating in them together with the clergy and lay people became part of the pilgrimaging Church, whereas the saints depicted on walls and the bishops seated in their company represented the Church triumphant. Of key importance is the fact that the cloister walks were traditionally used as burial place. On All Souls’ Day they were visited by processions of the faithful during which prayers were said for the salvation of those whose souls were still in Purgatory, i.e. for the suffering Church. The paintings can also be understood as a kind of apotheosis of the Cracow Church. We have tried to show the cycle of portraits of local Bishops in the Franciscan monastery in Cracow, as a part of the long tradition which reaches back to late antiquity. Although the placement of these images on the walls of the cloister has no antecedents, they were presented as a timeless family. Agreeing with the opinion of Truus van Bueren and Otto Gerhard Oexle, also for Cracow cycle the notions: Tradition, Sukzession, and Memoria are fundamental.
Key words: portraiture, painting, portrait galleries, collective portraits, bishops of Cracow, diocese of Cracow, iconography
Marek Walczak (Jagiellonian University), ‘The portrait miniature of Cardinal Zbigniew Oleśnicki on a letter of indulgence issued in 1449 for the Church of All Saints in Cracow’ 17/MW1
Abstract: A particularly interesting example of illuminated document is the indulgence granted to all who would visit the parish church of All Saints in Cracow on the major feasts of the liturgical year, issued by the Cracow Bishop, Cardinal Zbigniew Oleśnicki (1423–1450) in 1449. A piece of parchment is decorated with the miniature composed of two juxtaposed fields, of which the upper one shows Christ with St Peter on His right, surrounded by the community of saints; the bottom field depicts the Pope seated between St Jerome and Cardinal Oleśnicki. This hierarch had been raised to the purple no fewer than three times. For the first time, Pope Eugene IV granted him this dignity with the accompanying title of St Prisca, but Oleśnicki did not accept it. Then Antipope Felix V, elected by the Council of Basle, elevated Oleśnicki to the cardinalate (with the title of St Anastasia), but the Cracow prelate likely did not accept the cardinal’s hat again and did not use the title, abiding by the orders of King Ladislaus the Jagiellon who was reluctant towards the Council. It was only in 1447 that Oleśnicki had relinquished the camp of the Council’s supporters, regarded by Rome as schismatics, and endorsed the rightful pope, Nicholas V. Oleśnicki received the cardinal’s hat sent from Rome in Cracow Cathedral, on 1 October 1449. The portrait composition on the Cracow miniature is complex and combining a few iconographic solutions popular in the late Middle Ages. Of particular significance seem to be the representation of the pope enthroned, the Traditio legis and Traditio clavium, as well as the juxtaposition of ecclesiastical hierarchy with the heavenly one. The Cracow miniature fitted perfectly in the then current problems of Church discussed anew in the mid-fifteenth century. Commissioned shortly after Oleśnicki had pledged obedience to Nicholas V and had received his cardinal’s hat, it is a public declaration by the former conciliarist of his new attitude. In the reality of ‘communis sanctorum’ showed in the upper part of the composition, Christ keeps repeating his blessing of St Peter, seated on his right, and gives him the power of the keys. The bottom part of the miniature testifies to the fact that the power had been given to the pope not ‘ministerialiter’, as conciliarists would have it, but in full.
Key Words: miniature painting, medieval indulgences, iconography, papacy, diocese of Cracow, Councils of the Catholic Church, Conciliarism
Philipp Zitzlsperger (Fresenius University for Applied Sciences and Humboldt University, Berlin), ‘Renaissance self-portraits and the moral judgement of taste’ 17/PZ1
Abstract: The following comments are concerned with a special feature of the portrait: clothing and its profound significance. Two artist’s portraits are exemplary for a view at artists who refer to their social standing. The examples are the self-portrait of Albrecht Dürer and the portrait-bust of Anton Pilgram in Vienna’s St. Stephen’s Cathedral. While scholars did many investigations on the Dürer self-portrait in comparison the bust of Anton Pilgram leads a shadowy existence. For overarching portrait studies and especially studies on self-portraits of the Renaissance, the Vienna example has been overlooked. Reason enough to get it back into the limelight because it is of exceptional quality and the bust is a jewel of iconography of portraits.
Key words: Anton Pilgram, Albrecht Durer, Portrait, Self-portrait, Justice, Aesthetics, vestment
Alexander Lee (University of Warwick), ‘The look(s) of Love: Petrarch, Simone Martini and the ambiguities of fourteenth-century portraiture’ 17/AL1
Abstract: In two sonnets written in the summer or autumn of 1336, Petrarch heaped praise upon a portrait of his beloved Laura that he had recently commissioned from Simone Martini. But while these poems complimented Martini’s artistry, they nevertheless appear to express an ambiguous understanding of the portrait’s character and moral status. Placing the two sonnets in the broader context of Petrarch’s oeuvre, this article argues that, rather than being manifestations of a ‘platonic’ understanding of beauty and love, they use Martini’s portrait not only to dramatize the delusions from which the poet suffered, but also to indict the folly of his love.
Keywords: Petrarch, Simone Martini, portraiture, Laura
Mary Hogan Camp (The Morgan Library and Museum), ‘The cryptic knot: Jacopo Pontormo’s portrait of Cosimo il Vecchio’ 17/MHC1
Abstract: The ‘Portrait of Cosimo il Vecchio’, circa 1519, marked the first Medicean portrait commission of the rising young Florentine artist, Jacopo Pontormo. Over the course of his career, Pontormo tended to avoid the use of common attributes in portraiture, instead investing character and meaning in the elements of design (disegno). Though this portrait relies more heavily on traditional iconographic symbols to elicit character than some of his later portraits, even at this early stage, his use of line, colour and spatial characteristics inflect the work in original ways. And while the portrait is encomiastic, projecting the elder Cosimo’s princely status and his role as father and founder of a dynasty, visual cues modulate the overt themes of glorification and inevitability of rule that dominate the portrait, destabilizing its tone of authority. This essay explores these alternative readings of the iconography, and the reasons why they may be justified.
Key words: Jacopo Pontormo, sixteenth-century Italian portraiture, the Medici family, disegno, iconography, Neo-Platonism, visual rhetoric
Albert Godycki (Courtauld Institute), ‘Countenances of the deepest attentiveness: the historical reputation of Jan van Scorel’s portraits’ 17/AG1
Abstract: This study examines portraits produced by the Netherlandish artist Jan van Scorel (1495-1562) and the pictorial, aesthetic and cultural sources from which they both emerged and departed. Scorel’s five group portraits depicting members of the Utrecht and Haarlem Brotherhoods of Jerusalem pilgrims (c. 1524-1541) are unique in his oeuvre and furnished a template for his later portrait practice and innovations. Considering equally technical aspects of manufacture and the social dimension of function and reception, Scorel’s portraits are shown to participate in vanguard concepts of art and humanism around 1500. Furthermore, the later prestige accorded to Scorel’s portraits, by scholars such as Alois Riegl and Max Friedländer, contributes to a historiography which can help reevaluate Scorel’s crucial place in art historical discourse.
Keywords: portraiture, Northern renaissance, Jan van Scorel, Erasmus, Alois Riegl, Max Friedländer
Masza Sitek (Jagiellonian University), ’Just what is it that makes identification-portrait hypotheses so appealing? On why Hans Süss von Kulmbach “must” have portrayed John Boner’ 17/MS1
Abstract: The alleged apprentice of Albrecht Dürer, Hans Süss von Kulmbach (d. 1522), ‘must’ have painted at least one crypto-portrait of the Krakow banker John Boner (d. 1523), who went down in history as ‘the Polish Jacob Fugger.’ Such a conviction has seemingly inspired art-history scholarship devoted to Kulmbach and his relations to Poland. What varies is the selection of figures in his religious pictures claimed to represent Boner. This paper aims to examine two best argued theories, which concern two panel paintings preserved in the collection of St Mary’s Basilica in Krakow: Disputation of St Catherine of Alexandria with heathen philosophers, 1514-15, and Self-burial of St John the Evangelist, 1516. The suspect images will be analysed in terms of the enduring ‘premodern’ concept of recognizability, with focus on such aspects as mimesis versus schematism, heraldry and costume.
Keywords: Hans Süss von Kulmbach, the Boner family, identification portrait, panel painting, St. Mary’s Basilica in Krakow, 16th century
Anna Blair (Cambridge), ‘The resonance of ruins and the question of history’: Southeast Asia in Ruins: Art and Empire in the Early 19th Century, by Sarah Tiffin, Singapore: NUS Press, 2016, 302 pp., 44 col. plates, £38.95 hdbk, ISBN: 978-9971-69-849-2 17/AB1
Abstract: Southeast Asia in Ruins: Art and Empire in the Early 19th Century, by Sarah Tiffin, offers an overview of eighteenth-century interpretations of ruin as applied to the images of Java’s abandoned temples that illustrated Thomas Stamford Raffles’ The History of Java. These images were surrounded by discourse on aesthetics, politics, and religion that served to reinforce British beliefs in their own cultural superiority, and Tiffin argues that this was particularly the case in Raffles’ book, which served as a retrospective justification of his administration and reflected his personal feelings of loss. In this review, I argue that Southeast Asia in Ruins raises interesting questions about the nature of historical objectivity, visual literacy and cross-cultural ruin appreciation that have relevance beyond the period examined by the book.
Key words: Thomas Stamford Raffles, Java, trust in images, monuments, postcolonial theory
John Clark (Sydney), ‘Comparativism from Inside and Outside: Not only a matter of viewpoint’: Comparativism in Art History edited by Jaś Elsner, London & New York: An Ashgate Book, Routledge, 2017, 234 pp., 84 B&W illus., £76 hdbk, ISBN: 978-1-472-41884-5 17/JC1
Abstract: The review criticizes the genuflection made to ‘world art history’ without specifying what this is, even as an antithesis to the methodology of some authors. Statements are made about the lack of art historical quality in certain non-Euramerican compilations of documents without accepting that in different ways these documents were both art historically motivated and frequently collated and collected. This attitude speaks of an indifference to the way texts we now speak of as ‘documents’ were actually generated and deployed in other cultures, even those with only an oral or ritual documentation. 13 writers say what comparativism might indicate as a methodological premise in art history or how it might interpretively operate in their different fields, but there is no overall analysis of what structure these concepts might form and how effective they might be in some contexts, and ineffective in others. Comparativsm is presented as a positive fundamental in art history but its negative deployment under conditions of ethnocentrism is barely mentioned. In their different ways all of the scholars are highly motivated and exercise great insight but understanding of comparativism is gained more from obliquely watching what they do than their directly telling us how or why they use this concept in art history.
Keywords: Comparativism, art history, Euramerican [= ‘Western’], anthropological, archaeological, Asian, genealogical, world art history, post-colonial, aetiological, bi-cultural, textualization, location, classicism, rupture, relative speed, bivisibility, rhetoric, ‘power’ relations, art historical formalism, origin, lacunae, boundary, astrolabe, ‘literati’, essentializing, paradigm, godhead, transcultural, simulacrum, naturalism, narrative.
Jan Gorak (Denver), ‘Process or paralysis? Revisiting the contemporary art canon’: Re-envisioning the Contemporary Art Canon: Perspectives in a Global World, edited by Ruth E. Iskin, London and New York: Routledge, 2017, 294 pp., 42 b. & w. illus., $134 hdbk, ISBN: 978 1 138 19268 3 17/JG1
Abstract: Ruth E. Iskin’s new collection presents the artists and genres of a new global art and reflects on the challenges they offer the museum, gallery administrators, and scholars of the future. She and her contributors are particularly concerned with the likelihood of a new canon that will emerge in this global future, arguing that such a canon must be less exclusive, less centralized, and more self-conscious than any predecessor. The review is particularly concerned with how the findings of the collection relate to the larger history of canon formation in the humanities.
Key Words: global, canon, contestation, process, pluriversal
Jessyca Hutchens (The Ruskin School of Art, Oxford), ‘The legacies of Bernard Smith’: The Legacies of Bernard Smith: Essays on Australian Art, History and Cultural Politics, edited by Jaynie Anderson, Christopher R. Marshall, and Andrew Yip, Sydney: Power Publications, in association with the Art Gallery of New South Wales, 2016. $35.00 pbk, ISBN: 9780994306432 17/JH1
Abstract: The Legacies of Bernard Smith: Essays on Australian Art, History and Cultural Politicscollates a wide-range of essays on the life, work, and legacies of an Australian art historian whose prolific and varied career spanned seven decades. These essays, which are often tightly framed to cover an aspect or key topic in Smith’s career, and which are frequently a form of intellectual biography, give varied insight into Smith’s multiple works and engagements, as he helped to dramatically increase the cultural infrastructure and scholarship around Australian art, while ever wielding a complexly conceived ‘antipodean perspective.’ The review considers each of the four sections of the volume: on Smith’s seminal European Vision and the South Pacific (1960), his role in defining Australian Art, his various work in and interactions with public art museums, and his broader cultural politics.
Key Words: Bernard Smith, Australian art history, Antipodean Manifesto, European Vision and the South Pacific, the legacies of Bernard Smith
Matilde Mateo (Syracuse), ‘Breaking the myth: Toledo Cathedral on the international stage’: Toledo Cathedral: Building Histories in Medieval Castile by Tom Nickson, University Park, Pensylvannia: The Pennsylvania University Press, 2015, 304 pp., 55 col. illus., 86 b. & w. illus., $89.95 hdbk, ISBN: 978-0-271-06645-5, $39.95 pbk, ISBN: 978-0-271-06646-2 17/MM1
Abstract: This review analyzes the contribution of Tom Nickson´s study from the position given to Spain within European Gothic by the Anglophone historiography. It argues that Nickson´s book is a radical departure from previous historiography, which had condemned Toledo Cathedral, and all Spanish gothic monuments, because they were thought to be mere copies of European models. Nickson, however, convincingly argues that Toledo Cathedral is a monument as interesting as its canonical French and English counterparts. He does so by employing a holistic, integrated, and diachronic approach, with an impressive amount of information, much of it new, which addresses some of the latest concerns in the historiography of art, the humanities, and the social sciences, such as the creation of an identity through the creation of memories.
Key words: Toledo Cathedral, historiography of Spanish gothic architecture, memory, identity, integrated Gothic, diachronic methodology
Claudia Mattos Avolese (University of Campinas), ‘Historiography and the retracing of Latin American art history’: The Academy of San Carlos and Mexican Art History by Ray Hernández-Durán, Politics, History, and Art in Nineteenth-Century Mexico, London and New York: Routledge, 2017, 174pp, 16 b. & w. illus., £110 hbk ISBN 978-1-4094-3412-2 17/CMA
Abstract: The Academy of San Carlos and Mexican Art History presents an account of the cultural and political circumstances that led to the installation of the first gallery of colonial art at the Academy of San Carlos in mid-nineteenth century Mexico City, and to the associated publication of the first art historical account of colonial Mexico. The author proposes that these two endeavors relate closely to the ambitions of the Mexican conservative elite to create a Mexican corporate identity based on the colonial past. Ray Hernández-Durán also argues that the gallery and the associated book can be seen as the starting point for the construction of the field of Latin American art history as we know it today.
Key words: Latin America, Mexico, colonial art, historiography
Jennifer M. Sakai (University of Tennessee, Knoxville), ‘The current state of research on Dutch Golden Age painting’: The Ashgate Research Companion to Dutch Art of the Seventeenth Century edited by Wayne Franits, Abingdon, Oxon and New York: Routledge, 2016, 478 pp., 91 b. & w. illus., £105.00 hdbk, ISBN: 978-1-4094-6594-2 17/JS1
Abstract: This review examines Wayne Franits’ edited volume, The Ashgate Research Companion to Dutch Seventeenth-Century Art. The collection of nineteen essays is organized into sections addressing genres, major artists (Frans Hals, Rembrandt, and Vermeer), art movements, media other than painting, and areas of further research. The essays summarize the major developments in research produced in the last thirty to thirty-five years on their respective topics. This volume is an invaluable resource for scholars of Dutch seventeenth-century art; however, the structure of the book reinscribes some of the stereotypes and methodological problems directly addressed by many of the authors as needing to be done away with, or in some cases, already firmly consigned to the past. This review provides summaries of the main findings of each essay, while also addressing some of the broader themes that characterize these essays.
Key words: early modern, Dutch, state-of-the-field, Golden Age, seventeenth century
Anne Nike van Dam (Leiden), ‘Louis Friedrich Sachse and the making of Berlin as a capital of art’: Der Pionier. Wie Louis Sachse in Berlin den Kunstmarkt erfand by Anna Ahrens, Cologne/Weimar/Wien: Böhlau Verlag, 2017, 780 pp., 288 b. & w. illus., € 100.00 pbk, ISBN: 978-3-412-50594-3 17/ANvD1
Abstract:This review discusses the Der Pionier by Anna Ahrens. The book offers a monographic study of Louis Friedrich Sachse, an entrepreneur at the forefront of the Berlin art market. Based on extensive research into the letters of Sachse, Ahrens presents the story of an eager and intelligent man who worked for decades to achieve his goal: to help Berlin establish itself as an art capital in Europe. Sachse’s broad interests led him from lithography to daguerreotype and photography, from collecting drawings and watercolours to starting his own salon for contemporary art. Through the tracing of extensive historical interconnections, Der Pionier offers valuable insights on the connection between artistic reproductions, contemporary art, the development of the art scene in general and the different strata of the Berlin society in the nineteenth century.
Key words: Louis Sachse, Berlin, art market, nineteenth century, lithography, contemporary art.
Karl Johns (Independent) trans. and ed, ‘Josef Strzygowski. Lecture Two: “The History of Art”’, originally published as ‘Zweiter Vortrag. “Kunstgeschichte”’ Josef Strzygowski, Die Krisis der Geisteswissenschaften Vorgeführt am Beispiele der Forschung über bildende Kunst Ein grundsätzlicher Rahmenversuch, Vienna: Schroll, 1923, 35-60 17/KJ1
Abstract: Josef Strzygowski (1862-1941) is remembered primarily as attracting a Pan-Germanic audience when his early career and most prominent publications actually promoted materials from outside of the classical tradition then being overlooked or ignored. From the list of his students and their topics of study, it is clear that his audience was probably more diverse than most. The list of his publications and his students and their topics of study should give some idea of this. Some of his emphasis was actually typical of his time and place and reflected the growth in popular tourism and travel. His expeditions by camel to photograph remote architecture and sculpture in near eastern areas prone to earthquakes and plagued by armed conflicts have preserved many important examples of art that have since been damaged or lost.
Key words: Josef Strzygowski, Vienna School of Art History, Orientalism, Nationalism
Colin Eisler (NYU Institute of Fine Arts), ‘Where’s Willibald? A bittersweet NYU Institute of Fine Arts interlude 1963-1965’ 17/CE1
Abstract: Reflecting on German refugee art historians in the United States and their complex relationships within the art historical community, this article provides a personal account of a complicated time at New York University’s Institute of Fine Arts when Dr. Willibald Sauerländer visited the Institute, raising unexpected issues related to national heritage, discrimination, and self-worth.
Key words: Willibald Sauerländer, Erwin Panofsky, New York University, Institute of Fine Arts, Colin Eisler, art historiography, Nazi Germany, refugee scholars, Zentralinstitut für Kunstgeschichte
Karl Johns (Independent), ‘”Josef Strzygowski (1862-1941)” a bibliography’ 17/KJ2
Abstract: a bibliography of writings by and on Josef Strzygowski (1862-1941)
Key words: bibliography, Vienna school of art history, influence of Josef Strzygowski
Tomáš Murár (Charles University, Prague), Art as a Principle and Pattern. Vojtěch Birnbaum’s Concept and Method of Art History.17/TM1 English version of Umění jako princip a zákonitost. K dějinám a metodologii umění Vojtěcha Birnbauma, Archiv výtvarného umění, z. s., Kostelec nad Černými lesy, 2017. Licensed under Creative Commons CC BY-NC-ND. ISBN 978-80-905744-7-2
Abstract: This book was published to coincide with an exhibition titled Vojtěch Birnbaum: The Principle of Art organised by the Archive of Fine Arts at the Centre for Contemporary Art DOX in Prague in 2017, commemorating the 140th anniversary of the birth of art historian Vojtěch Birnbaum (1877–1934), a pioneering figure in the scholarly study of art in the Czech lands. It explores Birnbaum’s concepts of a ‘principle’ and ‘pattern’ in art, which he developed and wrote about in the 1920s and 1930s. The book also traces the roots of Birnbaum’s theoretical work within the broader context of European art-historical and philosophical thinking and describes the impact his concept of ‘development’ in art had on the next generation of art historians, who became formative figures in the evolution of this field.
Key words: Vojtěch Birnbaum, Vienna School of art history, Czech art history
Christopher S. Wood (New York University), ‘Strzygowski and Riegl in America’ 17/CSW1. This is the English text that served as the basis for ‘Strzygowski und Riegl in den Vereinigten Staaten’, which appeared in Wiener Schule: Erinnerung und Perspektiven, ed. Michael Viktor Schwarz (= Wiener Jahrbuch für Kunstgeschichte 53, 2004), 217-34. See https://18798-presscdn-pagely.netdna-ssl.com/christopherwood/wp-content/uploads/sites/2785/2016/05/strzygowski-and-riegl.pdf
Abstract: This is the English text that served as the basis for ‘Strzygowski und Riegl in den Vereinigten Staaten’, which appeared in Wiener Schule: Erinnerung und Perspektiven, ed. Michael Viktor Schwarz (= Wiener Jahrbuch für Kunstgeschichte 53, 2004), 217-34. See https://18798-presscdn-pagely.netdna-ssl.com/christopherwood/wp-content/uploads/sites/2785/2016/05/strzygowski-and-riegl.pdf This essay tracks the reception, reputations, and conceptual accommodations of the Viennese art historians Josef Strzygowski and Alois Riegl in the United States. Riegl, who died in 1905, never visited the New World. His texts, untranslated into English until the mid-1980s, were long regarded as remote and unusable monuments. Strzygowski, by contrast, was lionized by American scholars in the 1920s. He made two trips to the United States, delivered lectures, and published books as well as articles in the Art Bulletin and other journals. Strzygowski had great expectations from American modernity, imagining that American scholars would follow him in his rejection of humanistic “superstition,” his abandonment of historical-philological method, and his disregard for traditional nationalist loyalties and for the institutions of Church and State. He felt sure that Americans would follow him in opening up the history of art to the entire globe. Strzygowski’s relentless sequence of publications had opened up a whole Near Eastern landscape of artistic activity completely unknown to, indeed never seen by, other European scholars, and challenging the idea of the integrity of Mediterranean classical culture.
American art historians, especially medievalists, responded with some enthusiasm. Allan Marquand named Riegl and Franz Wickhoff as representatives of the older, Rome-centered view that Strzygowski’s scholarship threatened. Today the embrace of the right-wing ideologue Strzygowski appears naïve. And in the long run Americans did not follow Strzygowski’s lead, partly because they sensed the dangerous irresponsibility of his thinking, partly because they were drawn in the end to the mainstream European tradition. The emigré scholars who arrived in the 1930s reinforced these judgments. The emigrés brought with them not only a skeptical and empirical method, but also a deep faith in the intrinsic superiority and exemplarity of European culture and the humanistic tradition.
Seen in this light, the later positive reception of Riegl within American art history takes on a new ambiguity. Should the embrace of Riegl since the 1980s be seen, as it usually is, as an aspect of a more general post-structuralist and anti-humanistic rejection of the emigré legacy? Or should it be seen as a sophisticated extension of the Hegelian critical and idealist tradition that in the end leaves the traditional conceptions of form and history in place—this is surely how Strzygowski would see it.
The function of Strzygowski finally is to force us into reconsidering the dynamic map of world art he sketched out—a crude diagram in his hands, but a tool perhaps retaining some force in the interminable campaign against the humanist superstition of Mediterranean classicism. For Strzygowski traced paths on the map that upset all the established narratives of European art history inherited from Vasari, Winckelmann, and nineteenth-century philhellenistic art history. The form-paths he found are in many cases the very paths that are still travelled by scholars today trying to complicate the nineteenth-century genealogies of ancient and medieval civilization. A hypothetical critique of traditional art history cannot come from Strzygowski’s quarter, for in the end Strzygowski had nothing to say of interest about art, representation, or visuality. Strzygowski was incapable of mounting a theoretical critique of Riegl, or for that matter a self-critique. And yet he stands as a reproof of the ultimate European vice, self-involvement.
Key words: Riegl, Strzygowski, Vienna School, formalism, global art history
Richard Woodfield (Birmingham), ‘Gombrich on Strzygowski’ 17/RW1
Abstract: This is a transcript of a brief conversation between the author and the late Sir Ernst Gombrich on the subject of Josef Strzygowski as a human being based on his experiences as a student in Vienna. It has been supplemented by two obituaries and a pdf of the publications of Strzygowski’s First Institute of Art History at the University of Vienna.
Key words: Josef Strzygowski, Nazism, anti-Semitism, global art history
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