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Number 2 June 2010

Contents

Articles

Hans H. Aurenhammer, ‘Max Dvořák and the History of Medieval Art’ 2-HA/1

Thomas DaCosta Kaufmann, ‘American Voices. Remarks on the Earlier History of Art History in the United States and the Reception of Germanic Art Historians’ 2-TDK/1

Thomas DaCosta Kaufmann, ‘Periodization and its discontents’ 2-TDK/2

Neel Rekha, ‘From folk art to fine art: changing paradigms in the historiography of Maithil painting’ 2-NR/1

Ricardo De Mambro Santos, ‘Words of suspension. The definition of “Written Sources“ in Julius von Schlosser’s Kunstliteratur2-RdMS/1

Translation

Karl Johns, ‘Julius von Schlosser on Vasari: a translation from Die Kunstliteratur (1924)’ 2-KJ/1

Documents

Robert Bagley, Discussion of ‘Style’ from Max Loehr and the Study of Chinese Bronzes, Style and Classification in the History of Art, Ithaca, Cornell University Press: Cornell East Asia Series 2008 2-RB/1

Mary Beard, ‘Reflections on “Reflections on the Greek Revolution”’ (Archaeological Review from Cambridge 4:2 [1985]) 2-MB/1

Elisabeth Décultot, ‘Introduction. Le mythe winckelmannien’ and ‘Première partie. Le culte du livre’ from Johann Joachim Winckelmann: Enquête sur la genèse de l’histoire de l’art, Paris 2000 2-ED/1

A.A. Donohue, ‘Winckelmann’s History of Art and Polykleitos’ from Warren G. Moon (ed.), Polykleitos, the Doryphoros and Tradition, Madison, Wisconsin and London: The University of Wisconsin Press 1995 2-AAD/1

Pamela Jane Smith, ‘Professor Lord Colin Renfrew and the ‘New Archaeology’: Personal histories in archaeological theory and method’, 23rd October 2006 2-PJS/1

Books received

Debashish Banerji, The Alternate Nation of Abinandrath Tagore, London: Sage 2009; including introductory chapter 2-DB/1

Suzanne Marchand, German Orientalism in the Age of Empire: Religion, Race and Scholarship, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press 2009; including sample from introductory chapter 2-SM/1

Ellen Swift, Style and Function in Roman Decoration, Farnham: Ashgate 2009; including introductory chapter 2-ES/1

Publications of the Society of Art History in Finland: Towards a Science of Art History: J. J. Tikkanen and Art Historical Scholarship in Europe and The shaping of Art History in Finland, Helsinki 2007 2-SAHF/1

Johanna Vakkari, Focus on Form: J. J. Tikkanen, Giotto and Art Research in the 19th Century, Helsinki 2007; including chapter 2: ‘J. J. Tikkanen in the context of Giotto Studies’ 2-JV/1

Abstracts

Articles

Hans H. Aurenhammer, ‘Max Dvořák and the History of Medieval Art’ 2-HA/1

Abstract: The intellectual development of Max Dvořák (1874-1921), one of the protagonists of the ‘Vienna School of Art History’, was characterized by a constant process of methodological self-criticism. His changing views on Medieval Art are known above all by two texts: The Enigma of the Art of the Van Eyck Brothers (1904), strongly influenced by Wickhoff and Riegl and by an ‘impressionistic’ view of modernity, and Idealism and Naturalism in Gothic Sculpture and Painting (1918), an essay dating to Dvořák’s late, ‘expressionistic’, period. Knowing only these two texts, the decisive turn undertaken by Dvořák around 1920 could be interpreted as a sudden change of paradigm. As the paper wants to show, this view has to be revised after having read and analyzed Dvořák’s hitherto unpublished university lectures on Western European Art in the Middle Ages which were given four times from 1906 to 1918.

Thomas DaCosta Kaufmann, ‘American Voices. Remarks on the Earlier History of Art History in the United States and the Reception of Germanic Art Historians’ 2-TDK/1

Abstract: This essay presents a critique of recent historiographic considerations of German art historians in the United States. It traces this history back to Johann Valentin Haidt in the eighteenth century. Using Princeton as a point of reference, it traces the innovations in the history of the discipline in the United States that were developed largely independent of the impact of German émigrés, and then turns to consider the possible impact of German speakers. Finally it takes issue with the idea of German Jewish identity in art history.

Thomas DaCosta Kaufmann, ‘Periodization and its discontents’ 2-TDK/2

Abstract: This essay originated as an editorial for an issue of Perspective devoted to periodization. It traces the critique and dismantling of this conception in art history, and argues that even most recent literature suggests that the problematic of periodization has not been resolved, and will not easily be.

Neel Rekha, ‘From folk art to fine art: changing paradigms in the historiography of Maithil painting’ 2-NR/1

Abstract: The paper is a brief survey of the historiography of Maithil painting after independence. Tracing the roots of current perceptions of Maithil art to the 1949 article of W.G. Archer, the paper demonstrates how his interpretations were articulated by Maithil and non-Maithil scholars and promoters of Maithil art to project a regional, caste-based and national identity. It also looks at the ways in which Maithil art got misinterpreted with the arrival of western scholars in Mithila. The paper reviews the recent shifts in the historiography of Maithil painting by examining the emergence of Harijan Madhubani art. It examines how the legacy of colonial interpretations, romanticization of past history and debates on innovation and tradition, have changed the trajectories of the historiography of Maithil painting in the past few decades.

Ricardo De Mambro Santos, ‘Words of suspension. The definition of “Written Sources“ in Julius von Schlosser’s Kunstliteratur2-RdMS/1

Abstract: Generally considered as a monument of erudition and examined almost exclusively from a philological point of view, Julius von Schlosser’s “Kunstliteratur” (Vienna, 1924) is seldom analyzed, on the contrary, from a theoretical, conceptual or philosophical perspective. This paper provides a critical reading of Schlosser’s restrictive concept of “written sources” putting it in relation with a larger network of intellectual exchanges, in which Croce’s aesthetic premises and Vossler’s linguistic investigations play an important role in the process of epistemological distinction between “Kulturgeschichte” (History of Culture) and “Kunstgeschichte” (History of Art).

Translation

Karl Johns, ‘Julius von Schlosser on Vasari: a translation from Die Kunstliteratur (1924)’ 2-KJ/1

Abstract: Although Julius Schlosser is well known by name and as a source for bibliographical references, very few art historians are familiar with the substance of his forty year teaching career which inspired the likes of Kris, Kurz, Bodonyi, Gombrich and many others. Die Kunstliteratur of 1924 became his fifth and final such handbook, and was published with the intention to elucidate the pre-history of the history of art as an academic discipline. It is natural that Giorgio Vasari has a place at the core of such a story. However, Schlosser possessed an unrivalled knowledge of the relevant written and theoretical sources, and his unusually consistent approach found Lorenzo Ghiberti to be the actual founder of the subject and Winckelmann to have finally overcome the relatively pernicious influence of Vasari. This chapter from the centre of his book therefore still today remains the best critical account of Vasari’s writings from a broader point of view.

Documents

Robert Bagley, Discussion of ‘Style’ from Max Loehr and the Study of Chinese Bronzes, Style and Classification in the History of Art, Ithaca, Cornell University Press: Cornell East Asia Series 2008 2-RB/1

Abstract: This essay is the concluding chapter of a study of the work of Max Loehr (1903-1988), an art historian whose visual analysis of unprovenanced Chinese bronzes famously anticipated the discoveries of archaeologists. It argues that Loehr’s strictly pragmatic understanding of style is implicit in the daily practice of most art historians, but that most of our explicit uses of the word, including such everyday expressions as ‘Romanesque style’ and ‘style of Raphael’, presume the existence of a mysterious, indefinable entity that is both a property of the object and a disembodied agent evolving independently of artists and objects. Not surprisingly, no procedure for ascertaining the style of an object has ever been described. The failure to recognize that style is not a physical property but only a shorthand for talking about comparisons is responsible for many classic confusions in art history. Finding the causes of a style or explaining its evolution (‘the origin of the Gothic style’, ‘the evolution from Renaissance to Baroque’), relating styles to times or cultures or nations, relating them across media (‘Baroque painting’ and ‘Baroque music’)—these are fictitious problems, artefacts of a mistaken belief in a thing called ‘style’.

Mary Beard, ‘Reflections on “Reflections on the Greek Revolution”’ (Archaeological Review from Cambridge 4:2 [1985]) 2-MB/1

Abstract: This essay offers a critique of Ernst Gombrich’s account of the Greek Revolution. I hope to show, however, that three major pivots of his argument — the initiating rôle of the narrative, the continuing process of the refinement of “realism” and the breakdown of that process in the late Roman Empire cannot bear the weight assigned to them. On careful examination Gombrich’s delicately balanced argument, with its artful rhetoric, collapses.

Elisabeth Décultot, ‘Introduction. Le mythe winckelmannien’ and ‘Première partie. Le culte du livre’ from Johann Joachim Winckelmann: Enquête sur la genèse de l’histoire de l’art, Paris 2000 2-ED/1

Abstract: For his friends and for himself, Winckelmann likes to divide his life in two quite distinct periods: the German one at first, which unfolds in dark libraries, and then the Italian one, lived in the light of Rome’s art collections. In this construct, the Italian phase stands in contrast to the German one as sensible knowledge does to bookish learning. This dichotomy, which was stylized by Winckelmann himself, then picked up again by his biographers and interpreters, is doubly beneficial for him. It allows him first, in the order of autobiography, to set himself up as the hero of a dynamic tale marked by a strong existential split. In moving from Germany to Rome, Winckelmann could be seen to have lifted himself from the dead universe of books to the tangible reality of stone statues. But it allows him too to position himself as the founder of a new field of study: art history. With his Geschichte der Kunst des Altherthums (1764), written in Rome, the historical discourse about art, which — according to Winckelmann — up to then has rested on ancient texts, begins to rely on the sensible observation of works of art.
An attentive reader, however, shouldn’t be content with such a construct. The use of books plays a much more complex role in Winckelmann’s life than what the Roman Winckelmann cares to admit. What, then, is the role of reading in Winckelmann’s work? What is the role of the book in the German and Italian phase of its development? An unusually rich archival collection is available to answer these questions: his notebooks of excerpts. Starting in his student years, Winckelmann developed the habit of recording entire text passages he read and thus constituting a portable handwritten library, which never left him. The result of this meticulous compilation work appears on approximately 7500 pages covered with fine, narrow handwriting, mostly preserved at the manuscript department of the Bibliothèque Nationale de France, in Paris. This tremendous collection raises many questions, on which the present book focuses :
I. How did Winckelmann’s reading activity develop?
II. How does this reading activity fit within the wider context of the scholarly tradition?
III. What was its effect on the written composition of Winckelmann’s work, which is to say, its style, its structure and its theoretical content?

A.A. Donohue, ‘Winckelmann’s History of Art and Polykleitos’ from Warren G. Moon (ed.), Polykleitos, the Doryphoros and Tradition, Madison, Wisconsin and London: The University of Wisconsin Press 1995 2-AAD/1

Abstract: This essay is an expanded version of a paper delivered in 1989 at a colloquium organized around a replica of the Doryphorus acquired by the Minneapolis Institute of Arts. Winckelmann’s treatment of Polyclitus serves to introduce a wider consideration of the structure and method of his history of classical art. It is argued that, contrary to assertions that he developed his history on the basis of his empirical observation of works of classical art, Winckelmann instead adopted historiographic schemata derived directly and indirectly from ancient authors. The ancient texts themselves reflect not so much authentic information about the visual arts as formulations from a tradition of histories of the ‘technai’, the arts of civilization, that were often linked with political history. Pliny’s famous statement of the decline of art is re-interpreted in this light.

Pamela Jane Smith, ‘Professor Lord Colin Renfrew and the ‘New Archaeology’: Personal histories in archaeological theory and method’, 23rd October 2006 2-PJS/1

Acclaimed archaeologist, Colin Renfrew, remembers the exciting and momentous academic changes which dominated archaeology in Britain and the United States during the 1960s and 1970s. Describing his experiences as a student and young academic at the University of Cambridge, Renfrew argues that basic philosophical questions (What is the nature of explanation? What are we doing as archaeologists?) underlay the emergence of a ‘New Archaeology’ in the 1960s and that young ‘New Archaeologists’ successfully used scientific and computer research methods to answer innovative environmental and economic questions about prehistory. He feels that this new academic development went seriously wrong in the United States when archaeologists relied too heavily on Carl Hempel’s analysis of scientific explanation. Consequently, Renfrew suggests, the New Archaeology was already in decline by the early 1970s.

Books received

Debashish Banerji, The Alternate Nation of Abinandrath Tagore, London: Sage 2009; including introductory chapter 2-DB/1

Suzanne Marchand, German Orientalism in the Age of Empire: Religion, Race and Scholarship, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press 2009; including sample from introductory chapter 2-SM/1

Ellen Swift, Style and Function in Roman Decoration, Farnham: Ashgate 2009; including introductory chapter 2-ES/1

Publications of the Society of Art History in Finland: Towards a Science of Art History: J. J. Tikkanen and Art Historical Scholarship in Europe and The shaping of Art History in Finland, Helsinki 2007 2-SAHF/1

Johanna Vakkari, Focus on Form: J. J. Tikkanen, Giotto and Art Research in the 19th Century, Helsinki 2007; including chapter 2: ‘J. J. Tikkanen in the context of Giotto Studies’ 2-JV/1

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