Skip to content

Number 3 December 2010

Contents

Articles

Reinventing the Old Masters

Christina Ferando, ‘Maidservant as muse: The dramatic reinvention of Antonio Canova’ 3-CFe/1

Lindsey Schneider, ‘The Painter and the Scullery Boy: Pietro da Cortona in Nineteenth-Century Children’s Literature’ 3-LS/1

The Vienna School

Diana Reynolds Cordileone, ‘The advantages and disadvantages of Art History to Life: Alois Riegl and historicism’ 3-DRC/1

Adi Efal, ‘Reality as the cause of Art: Riegl and neo-kantian realism’ 3-AE/1

Veronika Kopecky, ‘Letters to and from Ernst Gombrich regarding Art and Illusion, including some comments on his notion of “schema and correction”’ 3-VK/1

Branko Mitrović, ‘A defence of light: Ernst Gombrich, the Innocent Eye and seeing in perspective’ 3-BM/2

Cindy Persinger, ‘Reconsidering Meyer Schapiro and the New Vienna School’ 3-CP/1

Kathryn Simpson, ‘Viennese art, ugliness, and the Vienna school of art history: the vicissitudes of theory and practice’ 3-KS/1

The geographies of art history

Heather Barker and Charles Green, ‘The Provincialism Problem: Terry Smith and Centre-Periphery Art History’ 3-BG/1

Krista Kodres, ‘Freedom from theory? An attempt to analyse Sten Karling’s views on (Estonian) art history’ 3-KK/1

Contemporary issues

Ya’ara Gil Glazer,‘A new kind of history? The challenges of contemporary histories of photography’ 3-YGG/1

Raymond Spiteri,‘A Farewell to modernism? Re-reading T.J. Clark’ 3-RS/1

Documents

Matthew Martin, ‘Relics of Another Age: Art History, the “Decorative Arts” and the Museum’, ABV49: The Annual Journal of the National Gallery of Victoria, 2010, 7-21 3-MM/1

Reviews

Elizabeth Edwards: Wendy A. Grossman, Man Ray, African Art and the Modernist Lens, Washington DC: International Arts and Artists, 2009 3-EE/1

James F. D. Frakes: Ellen Swift, Style and function in Roman decoration: Living with objects and interiors, Ashgate 2009 3-JDF/1

Eric Garberson: Gilbert Heß, Elena Agazzi, Elisabeth Décultot, Graecomania. Der europäische Philhellenismus. Klassizistisch-romantische Kunst(t)räume 1, Walter De Gruyter 2009 3-EG/1

Ricardo de Mambro Santos: Claire Farago (ed.), Re-Reading Leonardo. The Treatise on Painting across Europe, 1550-1900, Ashgate 2009 3-RdMS/2

Jeanne-Marie Musto: Towards a Science of Art History: J. J. Tikkanen and Art Historical Scholarship in Europe,The Acts of an International Conference, Helsinki, December 7-8 2007, Helsinki: Society of Art History, 2009 3-JMM/1

Responses

Claire Farago with further thoughts on the origins of the 1651 edition of Leonardo’s Trattato 3-CFa/1

Bibliographies

Johanna Vakkari, ‘J. J. Tikkanen’s Publications’ 3-JVa/1

Books received

Mark Bradley, Colour and Meaning in Ancient Rome, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2009. Hardcover: 282 pages; ISBN-10: 0521110424; ISBN-13: 978-0521110426. [Including contents, introduction and indices.] 3-MB/1

Carl F. Barnes Jnr., The Portfolio of Villard de Honnecourt: a new critical edition and color facsimile, Farnham: Ashgate, 2009. Hardcover: 424 pages; ISBN-10: 0754651029; ISBN-13: 978-0754651024. [Including contents, foreword and indices.] 3-CFB/1

Nasser Rabbat (ed.), The Courtyard House, Farnham: Ashgate 2010. Hard cover: 290 pages; ISBN-10: 075463843X; ISBN-13: 978-0754638438. [Including contents, chapter by Jateen Lad, 'A house divided: the harem courtyards of the Topkapi palace' and indices reprinted by permission of the publishers. Copyright © 2010 http://www.ashgate.com/isbn/9780754638438] 3-NR/1

Alois Riegl, The Origins of Baroque Art in Rome, edited and translated by Andrew Hopkins and Arnold Witte, with essays by Alina Payne, Arnold Witte, and Andrew Hopkins; Los Angeles: Getty Research Institute, 2010. Paperback, 292 pages, 47 b/w illustrations; ISBN 978-1-60606-041-4. [Including contents, acknowledgments and a note on the translation.] 3-AR/1

Paul van den Akker, Looking for Lines: Theories of the Essence of Art and the Problem of Mannerism, Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press, 2010. Paperback: 524 pages, 177 illustrations; ISBN 978 90 8964 178 6; e-ISBN 978 90 4851 144 0. [Including preface, contents and introduction.] 3-PvdA/1

Ingrid R. Vermeulen, Picturing Art History: The Rise of the Illustrated History of Art in the Eighteenth Century, Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press, 2010. Paperback: 352 pages, 139 illustrations; ISBN 978 90 8964 031 4; eISBN 978 90 4851 278 2. [Including contents and introduction.] 3-IRV/1

Notices

Musées de papier. L’Antiquité en livres, 1600-1800, Louvre du 25 septembre 2010 au 3 janvier 2011 3-L/1

Antiquity Rediscovered: Innovation and Resistance in the 18th Century, Louvre from December 2, 2010 to February 14, 2011; Napoleon Hall 3-L/2

The Geographies of Art History in the Baltic Region (selected conference proceedings) Tallinn, Estonia 2009 3-E/1

Abstracts

Articles

Reinventing the Old Masters

Christina Ferando, ‘Maidservant as muse: The dramatic reinvention of Antonio Canova’ 3-CFe/1

Abstract: In the mid-1870s, the playwright Lodovico Muratori (1834-1919) wrote a play based on the life of the sculptor, Antonio Canova, that focused on a fictional, unconsummated passion between Canova and his housekeeper, Luigia Giuli. This play, published by the Milanese editor Carlo Barbini concurrently with several plays about famous Italian artists, including Michelangelo, Raphael, and Tintoretto, emphasized Canova’s connection to these great masters, in particular his role as both artist and lover. By examining the way political and artistic values changed in Italy over the course of the century, this paper arges that Muratori’s insistent repetition of the trope of ‘Luigia as muse’ is an implicit critique of neoclassicism. Artistic inspiration is disengaged from imitation and the rote act of copying and located instead in the very personal and subjective emotions of the artist. By the late nineteenth century, in order to maintain the validity of an otherwise outmoded style, neoclassicism and its suffocating image of repetition were necessarily recast to fit the political, sociological and artistic developments of the time.
Key words: Canova, Antonio; Giuli, Luigia; Muratori, Lodovico; Imitation; Model; Muse; Neoclassicism; Artist Biography; Theatre; Artist’s studio

Lindsey Schneider, ‘The Painter and the Scullery Boy: Pietro da Cortona in Nineteenth-Century Children’s Literature’ 3-LS/1

Abstract: Although he was an international celebrity in his own lifetime, Pietro da Cortona’s reputation plummeted soon after his death, due in large part to changing standards of taste in the eighteenth century that were hostile to the extravagances of the Baroque style that he epitomized. By the nineteenth century it is difficult to find a positive evaluation of Cortona in any art-theoretical literature. Newly discovered material, however, reveals that a fable featuring the artist was widespread in children’s literature throughout the century, written by some of the leading historians and children’s authors in Europe and America. This article examines how elements of artistic biography were appropriated to serve a burgeoning genre of literature intended to shape children’s character and conduct, and explores what these stories can tell us about Cortona’s popular, as opposed to academic, reception in the centuries following his own.
Key words: Pietro da Cortona (1596-1669), Children’s Literature – 19th century, Artistic biography, Baroque Art – History and Criticism, Artists’ Reputations/History

The Vienna School

Diana Reynolds Cordileone, ‘The advantages and disadvantages of Art History to Life: Alois Riegl and historicism’ 3-DRC/1

Abstract: Alois Riegl was one of the seminal art historians of the early twentieth century, but very little is known about his career as adjunct-curator of textiles at the Austrian Museum for Art and Industry. He worked at the Museum from 1884 and combined this position with University teaching until he left this post to become a full Professor of Art History at the University of Vienna in 1897. While interest in Riegl has shown no signs of abating in recent years, most scholars continue to debate Riegl’s theories and methods. The aim of this paper, however, is to demonstrate just how much of Riegl’s theorizing was brought into focus by practical issues at the Museum for Art and Industry. As recent studies have indicated, Riegl was much more than an ivory tower theoretician; his work reverberated with the type of cross-disciplinary cultural criticism we associate with the intellectual life of fin-de-siècle Vienna. Another goal of this paper is to contribute to our expanding understanding of Riegl in his social and institutional contexts. Finally, it traces ways in which Riegl used his early exposure to Nietzsche, particularly Nietzsche’s second Untimely Meditation (The advantages and disadvantages of History to life) to craft his responses to contemporary artistic and social crises in the final decade of the nineteenth century.
Key words: Alois Riegl, historicism, Austrian Museum for Art and Industry, Renaissance Debate, Friedrich Nietzsche, Kunstgewerbe, historismus

Adi Efal, ‘Reality as the cause of Art: Riegl and neo-kantian realism’ 3-AE/1

Abstract: Alois Riegl’s art history has been the subject of numerous attempts to pinpoint its philosophical orientation. This article suggests a further approach: Austrian neo-kantian realism. The metaphysical premises of neo-kantian realism are insightful for an understanding of Riegl’s conception of the ´Kunstwollen´. This school insisted on the reality of human apprehension, encompassing both nature and mind, and conceived of this reality as consisting of the perpetually changing distance between subjects and things. Furthermore, in neo-kantian realism human apprehension constantly strives, as in Riegl’s art-history, to retain unity and cohesiveness, and is auto-regulative. In Riegl’s art-history, as well as in neo-kantian realism, distance is understood as the spatio-temporal duration (Dauer) of things-of-nature. Structures and forms of distancing, then, are the structures of reality itself.
Key words: Riegl, Riehl, realism, reality, neo-kantianism, Austrian philosophy, distance, space

Veronika Kopecky, ‘Letters to and from Ernst Gombrich regarding Art and Illusion, including some comments on his notion of “schema and correction”’ 3-VK/1

Abstract: Art and Illusion (1960) was Ernst Gombrich’s second important book after The Story of Art. This paper will first take a look at its genesis which can be shown to have started no later than 1947. The second part will discuss Gombrich’s hypothesis of ‘schema and correction’ and some of its predicaments. Gombrich found approval and criticism both before and after the book’s publication. How he responded to remarks and evaluations, and that he often felt to be misread and misunderstood, can be examined through this selection of correspondence.
Key words: E.H. Gombrich, Art and Illusion, schema and correction, psychology, perception, artistic language

Branko Mitrović, ‘A defence of light: Ernst Gombrich, the Innocent Eye and seeing in perspective’ 3-BM/2

Abstract: That ‘there is no innocent eye’ is one of the central propositions of Gombrich’s Art and Illusion and a mantra that has played an immense role in art-historical and aesthetic scholarship for the past fifty years. It is also commonly thought to stand in a difficult relationship with Gombrich’s rejection of the conventionalist understanding of human visuality. In this paper I examine this alleged contradiction in Gombrich’s theoretical framework and argue that Gombrich managed to develop a consistent position that combined the view that there is no innocent eye with a non-conventionalist understanding of perspective. Criticisms that were directed against Gombrich need to be understood in the context of the collectivist historiographical commitments of his critics, which Gombrich strongly opposed.
Key words: Ernst Gombrich, perspective, innocent eye, occlusion, Norman Bryson

Cindy Persinger, ‘Reconsidering Meyer Schapiro and the New Vienna School’ 3-CP/1

Abstract: In 1936, the American art historian Meyer Schapiro (1904-1996) published a review of Kunstwissenschaftliche Forschungen, the journal of the New Vienna School, a group that had formed around Viennese art historians Hans Sedlmayr and Otto Pächt in Vienna in the late 1920s and early 1930s. Scholars who have considered Schapiro’s review have focused primarily on Schapiro’s negative criticisms; in contrast, this article highlights the complexities of Schapiro’s relationship with New Vienna School members and their ideas. Though Schapiro was a vocal opponent of racial and national attributions of style and the reputation of the New Vienna School was tarnished by Hans Sedlmayr’s racist art history and his alignment with National Socialism, Schapiro still sought to apply their ideas in his own art history. In addition to the review, this article also explores how Schapiro introduced their ideas to an English-speaking audience in his ‘The Sculptures of Souillac’.
Key words: Meyer Schapiro, Otto Pächt, Hans Sedlmayr, Strukturanalyse, New Vienna School, Souillac

Kathryn Simpson, ‘Viennese art, ugliness, and the Vienna school of art history: the vicissitudes of theory and practice’ 3-KS/1

Abstract: Around 1900 in Vienna, the concept of ugliness developed a new significance in both the theories of the Vienna school of art history and in the artistic practices of figures like Gustav Klimt, Oskar Kokoschka, and Egon Schiele. Implicitly rejecting the classical and philosophical associations between beauty and truth, the Viennese avant-garde after Klimt seemed to instead connect truth with ugliness. Others, by contrast, identified ugliness as the symptom of modern cultural degeneration. This essay analyses specific links between the theories and practices of ugliness in the Vienna school and in contemporaneous Viennese art, and examines how the concept of ugliness also functioned discursively as a trope to represent modernity, Jewishness, truth, or sickness.
Key words: Ugliness; Viennese art; Vienna school of art history; Aesthetics; Egon Schiele; Oskar Kokoschka; Gustav Klimt

The geographies of art history

Heather Barker and Charles Green, ‘The Provincialism Problem: Terry Smith and Centre-Periphery Art History’ 3-BG/1

Abstract: This essay examines a key contribution to writing on contemporary art, Terry Smith’s 1974 Artforum article, ‘The Provincialism Problem’, in which he explored the nature of provincialism in its many forms. The essay shows that Smith write his essay from within his participation in Art & Language (New York), and that in fact it is part of a sequence of writings by Ian Burn, Terry Smith and others, in which the concepts of centre, periphery and hegemony were put to work to create a new understanding of the way in which the artistic canon is constructed. The precision and the care lavished on the article demonstrates that all involved from the Art & Language collective were aware of the platform the article represented and the historical position the article would then fill. It is clear that the article was an extension of Art & Language’s forensic thrust as well as its collectivist ethic, though the dominant author role was Smith’s. Terry Smith occupies an important position in an Australian evolution towards a genuine consciousness of provincialism. He had identified a way around subaltern status, even if Australian artists could tread that path only precariously and for a short time.
Key words: Art, Provincialism, Provincial, Australia, Art & Language, Artforum, Centre, Periphery, New York, Contemporary

Krista Kodres, ‘Freedom from theory? An attempt to analyse Sten Karling’s views on (Estonian) art history’ 3-KK/1

Abstract: This article focuses on a Swedish-born art historian Sten Ingvar Karling who was a professor in the Estonian national University of Tartu from 1933 to 1940. Karling published a great number of texts on local art history that were based on substantial archival inquiry, careful observation and stylistic systematisation of works of art. Karling’s discussions about the nature of art were brief and he hardly stressed the need for theoretical self-reflection. It is, however, obvious that his presentation and evaluation of artistic material was theory based. His ideas of art as an expression of ‘will of art’ and ‘spirit of the time’ and his views about change of styles mostly originated from the Vienna school of art history. At the same time he was a promoter of the concept of Baltic-Nordic artedominium, the construction that confronted the concept of German-dominated artistic past of the Baltic countries. Thus Karling’s logic of the ‘construction of (Estonian) heritage’ was coherent with the aim to strengthen one’s own national identity through a new positive art historical narrative that took place intensively in the whole of Europe over the 1920-1930s.
Key words: national art histories, art historical canon, construction of heritage, concept of Baltic-Nordic artedominium

Contemporary issues

Ya’ara Gil Glazer, ‘A new kind of history? The challenges of contemporary histories of photography’ 3-YGG/1

Abstract: Since the late 1970s there have been recurrent calls for a new history of photography. Geoffrey Batchen effectively summarized these calls, generally expressing a wish for separation from the historiographic model formulated by Beaumont Newhall in his classic The History of Photography from 1839 to the Present. Since the mid 1980s till today, a number of major history of photography textbooks that aimed to provide an alternative to Newhall’s have been published. These volumes fulfill, in different ways, the desire for a history that ‘breaks free from an evolutionary narrative,’ that ‘traces the journey of an image, as well as its origin’, or ‘sees beyond Europe and the United States’. But do these new books really represent a ‘new kind of history’?
Key words: photography, history, historiography, Newhall, pictorialism, documentary

Raymond Spiteri, ‘A Farewell to modernism? Re-reading T.J. Clark’ 3-RS/1

Abstract: Farewell to an Idea: Episodes from a History of Modernism offers an opportunity to consider T.J. Clark’s contribution to the discipline of art history. Farewell transforms the polemical tone of the social history of art into to an elegy for modernism’s unrealized promise. Yet an attentive reading of its argument discloses a far more subtle intervention within recent attempts to revise the history of modernism. This paper will consider these issues through a discussion of Farewell, focusing of the performative dimension of Clark’s argument, which renders on a rhetorical level the aesthetic strategies of the modernist avant-garde. Clark’s program for the social history of art may remain unfulfilled, yet it is exemplary in this failure.
Key words: T.J. Clark, Modernism, Avant-Garde, Art and Politics, Art and Society, Social History of Art

Documents

Matthew Martin, ‘Relics of Another Age: Art History, the “Decorative Arts” and the Museum’, ABV49: The Annual Journal of the National Gallery of Victoria, 2010, 7-21. 3-MM/1

Abstract: This paper traces an historiography of the problematic category ‘decorative arts’ and considers how the aesthetic hierarchies implicit in this term are given concrete expression in the display strategies of the art museum. The manner in which the art museum, as a framing device for material culture, might actively participate in the breaking down of these traditional hierarchies of Art History is considered. It is suggested that a juxtaposition of differing display strategies, bringing to the fore the art museum’s role in the imputation of contingent meanings to the artefacts it displays, may provide a way forward for encyclopaedic art museum collections.
Keywords: decorative arts, museum display, Alois Riegl, reliquary, Fred Wilson, National Gallery of Victoria

Reviews

Elizabeth Edwards: Wendy A. Grossman, Man Ray, African Art and the Modernist Lens, 2009 3-EE/1

James F. D. Frakes: Ellen Swift, Style and function in Roman decoration: Living with objects and interiors, 2009 3-JDF/1

Eric Garberson: Gilbert Heß, Elena Agazzi, Elisabeth Décultot, Graecomania. Der europäische Philhellenismus. Klassizistisch-romantische Kunst(t)räume 1, 2009 3-EG/1

Ricardo de Mambro Santos: Claire Farago (ed.), Re-Reading Leonardo. The Treatise on Painting across Europe, 1550-1900, 2009 3-RdMS/2

Jeanne-Marie Musto: Towards a Science of Art History: J. J. Tikkanen and Art Historical Scholarship in Europe, The Acts of an International Conference, Helsinki, December 7-8 2007, 2009 3-JMM/1

Responses

Claire Farago with further thoughts on the origins of the 1651 edition of Leonardo’s Trattato 3-CFa/1

Bibliography

Johanna Vakkari, ‘J. J. Tikkanen’s Publications’ 3-JVa/1

Books received

Mark Bradley, Colour and Meaning in Ancient Rome, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press 2009 including its introduction by Mark Bradley. 3-MB/1

Carl F. Barnes Jnr., The Portfolio of Villard de Honnecourt: a new critical edition and color facsimile, Farnham: Ashgate 2009 including contents, forword and indices. 3-CFB/1

Nasser Rabbat (ed.), The Courtyard House, Farnham: Ashgate 2010 including contents, a chapter by Jateen Lad, ‘A house divided: the harem courtyards of the Topkapi palace’ and indices reprinted by permission of the publishers. [Copyright © Ashgate 2010 http://www.ashgate.com/isbn/9780754638438] 3-NR/1

Alois Riegl, The Origins of Baroque Art in Rome, edited and translated by Andrew Hopkins and Arnold Witte, with essays by Alina Payne, Arnold Witte, and Andrew Hopkins; Los Angeles: Getty Research Institute including contents, acknowledgments and a note on the translation. 3-AR/1

Paul van den Akker, Looking for Lines: Theories of the Essence of Art and the Problem of Mannerism, Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press 2010 including preface, contents and introduction. 3-PvdA/1

Ingrid R. Vermeulen, Picturing Art History: The Rise of the Illustrated History of Art in the Eighteenth Century, Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press 2010 including contents and introduction. 3-IRV/1

Notices

Musées de papier. L’Antiquité en livres, 1600-1800, Louvre du 25 septembre 2010 au 3 janvier 2011 3-L/1

Antiquity Rediscovered: Innovation and Resistance in the 18th Century, Louvre From December 2, 2010 to February 14, 2011; Napoleon Hall 3-L/2

The Geographies of Art History in the Baltic Region (selected conference proceedings) Tallinn, Estonia 2009 3-E/1

%d bloggers like this: