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19: Dec 18


General articles

Iñigo Basarrate (Independent), ‘The British discovery of Spanish Gothic architecture’ 19/IB1

Abstract: Current scholarship on the nineteenth-century British reception of Spain has identified the monumental heritage of Spain’s Islamic past (711-1492) as a key factor for attracting British artists and architects. There was, however, also a growing curiosity for Christian architecture built during the so-called Reconquista. This article will focus on the gradual discovery of Spanish Romanesque and Gothic architecture by British nineteenth-century architects and historians. It interrogates their attitudes towards Spanish Christian architecture, as expressed in various architectural publications of the time. This article will focus on the gradual discovery during the nineteenth-century by British architects and architectural historians of Spanish Romanesque and Gothic architecture and their attitude towards it, as expressed in the books on the topic that were published in Britain.

Key words: reception theory, Gothic Revival, British architecture, 19th century architecture, George Edmund Street, Spanish architecture

Robert Couzin (Independent), ‘Invented traditions: Latin terminology and the writing of art history’ 19/RC1

Abstract: The technical terminology of art history is replete with Latin expressions. They are used to identify concepts and theories or, most often, as names for types of images. While some are authentically ancient, many others were invented by modern scholars. These latter may be neutral and anodyne but often they promote an agenda or favour a particular interpretation. This article examines how such terms as domus ecclesiae, interpretatio christiana, Venus pudica and Traditio legis entered into the literature of antique and medieval art and architectural history and explores the potential impact of such Latin nomenclature on academic discourse.

Key words: terminology, nomenclature, Latin, interpretatio Christiana, neologisms, foreign language

Georgi R. Parpulov (Independent), ‘”De Rossi’s School” and Early Christian iconography, ca. 1852–1894’ 19/GRR1

Abstract: The article offers a critical discussion the iconographic method developed in the second half of the nineteenth century by the founders of Christian archaeology.

Key words: Giovanni Battista de Rossi, Joseph Wilpert, Early Christian iconography, fish

Ludwig Qvarnström (Lund University), ‘A history of dead ends: the historiography of early twentieth-century Swedish mural painting’ 19/LQ1

Abstract: Analysing the historiography of early to mid 20th century monumental painting in Sweden, the article argue that this historiography is characterised by a recurring interest of unactualised avant-garde proposals for public art (many of them preserved as sketches at Skissernas Museum – Museum of Artistic Process and Public Art in Lund). Sketches for these proposals are set forward as key monuments in the narrative, creating a paradoxical history of dead ends. This historiographic phenomenon is explained as the result of centre-periphery thinking with Modernism as interpretive matrix, and the article concludes with a plea for a more diversified historiography embracing the heterochrony of time.

Keywords: historiography, Public Art, monumental painting, Swedish art history, Skissernas Museum

G. D. Schott (National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery, Queen Square, London, and Institute of Neurology, UCL), ‘Gombrich and “Pictures that follow with their eyes”’ 19/GDS1

Abstract: The illusion that objects in a picture point towards the moving observer intrigued Ernst Gombrich for over 40 years.  The illusion is particularly striking when a portrait’s gaze is directed towards the observer.  Gombrich discussed the phenomenon and its historical origins in the first and subsequent editions of his Art and Illusion, but he also grappled with explaining the illusion in several other works.  His explanations variously included the role of the imagination and that experiencing the illusion is instinctive rather than learned; later he emphasised more the geometrical aspects, particularly depth and foreshortening in a picture.  Gombrich’s evolving views are outlined here, together with mention of some controversial issues, and the suggestion that gaze-following with its perceptual effects represents a special case of the illusion.  The discussion concludes with noting that the basis for the illusion not only continued to intrigue Gombrich but remains uncertain today.

Key words: Gombrich, gaze-following, illusion, geometry, perception

Ian Verstegen (University of Pennsylvania), ‘Otto Demus, Byzantine art and the spatial icon’ 19/IV1

Abstract: The Austrian art historian Otto Demus made an indelible impression on the field of Byzantine art. This article seeks to place him and his theoretical approach, particularly the notion of the “spatial icon” within a Vienna School context. Demus graduated from Stzrygowski’s institute at the University of Vienna, and was influenced in his ideas by both him and the tradition issuing from Riegl. The spatial icon was formulated with Rieglian and Sedlmayrian impulses related to the spatial situation of the work of art. Against this background it is possible to connect such ideas to larger issues related to western medieval mural painting. With Demus’ ideas of painted figures operating in real space and corrected for their spatial position it is possible to develop new insights into the Lower Church of San Francesco.

Key Words: Otto Demus, spatial icon, Byzantine art, site-specific

The canonisation of modernism. Exhibition strategies in the 20th and 21st century, guest edited by Gregor Langfeld and Tessel M. Bauduin

Gregor Langfeld Amsterdam) and Tessel M. Bauduin (Amsterdam), ‘Introduction’ 19/LB1

Abstract: This feature section explores the canonisation of modern art and, particularly, the decisive role exhibitions played in this process. Besides a general framing of art-historical concepts and approaches regarding the canon and canon formation, the contributions in this feature section explore the reception and canonisation of specific works of art, artists, artists’ groups and movements. Common concerns across these contributions are the interrelations between the aesthetic and the extra-aesthetic within canon formation and the function of ideology and politics (and depoliticisation) within this process. The case studies that are discussed range from the mural Swing Landscape (1938) by Stuart Davis, the Russian avant-garde artist Natalia Goncharova and surrealism to the Dutch Cobra group and post-war German art, up to the recent reception of Latin American and Eastern European art.

Key words: modernism, modern art, canon, canonisation, reception history, the modern art museum, history of collecting and exhibiting

Gregor Langfeld (University of Amsterdam), ‘The canon in art history: concepts and approaches’ 19/GL1

Abstract: Although the canon has recently been increasingly the focus of art-historical research, there does not seem to be clarity, much less agreement, on how such research should be conducted. Art historians have taken various positions on the subject. This article intends to explain the main positions that dominate literature on the canon and canon formation, the theoretical and methodological starting points that provide the framework for such research, as well as to propose that social art history offers a more comprehensive approach that might overcome the strict separation between these positions.

Key words: canon, canonisation, aesthetics, Immanuel Kant, formalism, feminism, sociology

Ilka Voermann (Schirn Kunsthalle, Frankfurt), ‘Harvard’s Busch-Reisinger Museum and the American reception of post-war German art in the 1940s and 1950s’ 19/IV1

Abstract: Beginning in the late 1940s, post-war German art was largely understood in relation to earlier traditions and thus typically juxtaposed with works of pre-war modernism. This method of contextualizing German art, in order to underline the continuity of the German artistic tradition, would become a common curatorial strategy in the United States, and it greatly influenced how Americans came to understand the art of this period. In promoting contemporary German art in a pre-war context, American and German art historians relied on the existing canon of pre-war modernism.

Key words: post-war, Germany, expressionism, Cold War, reception

Claartje Wesselink  (University of Amsterdam), ‘The memory of World War Two and the canonisation of the Cobra movement in the Netherlands’ 19/CW1

Abstract: Next to its inherent, aesthetic qualities, an artwork is a mediator of collective memory and identity. This perspective is leading in this article, which focuses on the influence of (the memory of) World War Two on the production and reception of Dutch visual art during the reconstruction period (1945-1960); especially the art of the progressive Cobra movement. This socio-political perspective on the artistic canon does not imply that the aesthetic aspect of the artwork plays a secondary role; however, in the article, attention will be paid to outer-aesthetic factors that likewise constitute the canon.

Key words: canonisation, art and memory, modern art, abstract art, expressionism

Jennifer McComas (Eskenazi Museum of Art, Indiana University), ‘Public art and the perils of canonization: the case of Swing Landscape by Stuart Davis’ 19/JMcM1

Abstract: The 1938 mural Swing Landscape by American artist Stuart Davis (1892-1964) is one of a group of murals that Davis and eleven other artists were commissioned to paint for a public housing project in New York City. Davis’s mural failed to conform to the aesthetic standard required by the project’s patrons and was rejected from the site. However, its independence from a fixed location ensured it broader visibility, and the very qualities that rendered it unacceptable as public art in the 1930s have proven critical to its canonization. Tracing Swing Landscape’s reception and exhibition history, I examine the processes by which a failed public commission became an icon of American modernist painting. However, I also argue that its canonization has resulted almost entirely from its aesthetic innovations. The marginalization of its social and political context has resulted in interpretive problems in the literature.

Key words: Stuart Davis, murals, Works Progress Administration, Federal Art Project, American art, abstraction, Williamsburg Housing Project

Elena Korowin (Albrecht-Ludwigs University, Freiburg), ‘Natalia Goncharova’s canonization in Europe after 1945 ‘19/EK1

Abstract : Natalia Sergeevna Goncharova (1881-1962) has been an influential figure in the beginnings of the Russian avant-garde. Together with her life and work partner Mikhail Larionov she developed a style called Rayonism and shaped with her stage designs the Ballets Russes. Today her works are among the most expensive by a female artist. But it has been a long way for Natalia Goncharova to become a part of the Western art historical canon. This paper traces how the artist was almost forgotten in post-war Europe and how a slow process of recognition started in the late 1950s. It shows who the main agents to promote Goncharova’s work were and how the art market played a significant role to bring Natalia Gonchrova a posthumous fame and long awaited monographic exhibitions.

Keywords: Russian avant-garde, female artist, twentieth century, canonization, modernism, abstraction

Sandra Zalman (University of Houston), ‘The canonisation of Surrealism in the United States’ 19/SZ1

Abstract: Using three major exhibitions of Surrealism in the USA as touch points, this article traces Surrealism’s relationship to the modern art canon over the course of fifty years. After Alfred Barr’s exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art in 1936, critics questioned Surrealism’s status as art particularly because the movement styled itself against form-oriented avant-garde practices and was absorbed into American mass culture. As Greenbergian formalism dominated aesthetic discourse in the 1950s, figurative Surrealism seemed irreconcilable with reigning theories of modern art. However, William Rubin’s exhibition of Surrealism at MoMA in 1968 definitively placed Surrealism within a modernist narrative while inadvertently demonstrating the need to re-assess traditional accounts of modern art. When Jane Livingston and Rosalind Krauss again re-framed Surrealism, now around its photography and theoretical ideas in 1985, the purpose was to disrupt the modernist canon definitively. Thus, while Surrealism is now a canonical modern art movement, it also acted as a successful challenge to that canon.

Keywords: Surrealism, Modern Art, MoMA, Alfred Barr, William Rubin, Rosalind Krauss, Clement Greenberg, Joan Miro

Miriam Oesterreich (Technische Universität, Darmstadt) and Kristian Handberg (Louisiana Museum of Modern Art and the University of Copenhagen), ‘Alter-canons and alter-gardes – formations and re-formations of art historical canons in contemporary exhibitions: the case of Latin American and Eastern European art’ 19/HO1

Abstract: The article discusses curatorial presentations as active agents in the formation and definition of current art historical canons. Drawing on case studies of Latin American and Eastern European art in recent large-scale exhibitions at European institutions, we examine how the relationship between the traditionally perceived centres and peripheries is configured, and how re-formations into ‘alter-canons’ are integrated into these processes. These exhibitions (Postwar: Art between the Pacific and the Atlantic, 1945-1965, Art in Europe 1945-1968, and The Other Trans-Atlantic: Kinetic and Op Art in Eastern Europe and Latin America, 1950s-1970s) indicate not only a general reassessment of canons but indeed a new canonization of specific genres and artists, of ‘alter-canons’ and ‘alter-gardes’. Seen in this light, it could prove fruitful to critically examine curating and collecting practices and explore to what extent the exhibition format performed a dual function as the nucleus of canonization processes while simultaneously criticizing canonization.

Key words: multiple modernisms, postwar art, canonization of art history, museology, Latin American art, Eastern European art

Art History and the Art of the Present: Interactions between artists and scholars, guest edited by Eleonora Vratskidou

Introduction: Eleonora Vratskidou (Technische Universität, Berlin), ‘A third art history? The role of artistic practice in the shaping of the discipline’ 19/EV1

Abstract: Serving as an introduction to the section, this essay reflects on the role of artistic practice in the shaping of art history as a discipline during the nineteenth century. Mapping an uncharted field of inquiry into what I call a third art history, I advance two main theses: firstly, that art historical knowledge does not solely come in the form of intellectual engagement, discourse and text, but activates embodied practices of iconic re-appropriation;  secondly, that art history produced in close connection to artistic practice and art training generated different objects of study and alternative ways of ordering the past than those prevailing at the university and the museum. Resisting the established frameworks of national schools and historical styles, scholarly discourses elaborated by and destined to art practitioners fostered transverse classifications capable to both arrest and provoke entanglements across temporal and cultural divides.

Key words: artistic practice, artistic training, art academies, Gottfried Semper, Bruno Meyer, Erwin Panofsky, Ernst Gombrich

Lena Bader (DFK, Paris), ‘Artists versus art historians? Conflicting interpretations in the Holbein controversy’ 19/LB1

Abstract: The so-called “Holbein dispute” is constitutive for the institutionalization of art history; it rightly holds a place among the canonical topics in the discipline’s historiography. As a dispute about images, involving images and for images, the conflict encourages historiographers to write the history of art history from a subject- and discipline-specific perspective: It is the interplay of image criticism and image creation, not their division, that brought about the establishment of art history as a humanistic discipline. The Holbein dispute evades a dichotomy of connoisseur discourse and artistic practice in that it was born of a form of connoisseurship that manifested first and foremost in practical experiences with images. Their interaction also explains why the Holbein dispute is not just a debate among connoisseurs about two works of art but a comprehensive image debate.

Keywords: connoisseurship, reproduction, image practice, Holbein

Yannis Hadjinicolaou (Warburg Haus, University of Hamburg), ‘”Die Neue Sachlichkeit Rembrandts”. Aby Warburg´s Claudius Civilis19/YH1

Abstract: Artistic practice in both theory and history of art history is often ignored as if only language played a role in the creation of theory, whereas the artwork supposedly concerned exclusively craftsmanship. Aby Warburg’s Claudius Civilis is an example that can help to overcome this idea. Warburg was fascinated by Rembrandt’s famous painting (1661/2) when he first saw a photograph in the book by John Kruse Die Farben Rembrandts; right afterwards, in 1926, he commissioned a copy to the painter Carl Schuberth in Stockholm. Both the reproduction in Kruse’s book and the manually painted copy had a direct impact on Warburg’s thinking. With no impasto, Schuberth’s copy of Civilis gave Warburg an explicit motivation for exploring what he termed as Rembrandt’s New Objecthood (Neue Sachlichkeit) in his talk Italienische Antike im Zeitalter Rembrandts in Hamburg (1926). Schuberth’s copy reveals the role of memory and history as well as the successive layers of meaning in each respective present of the past.

Key words: Warburg, Rembrandt, copy, reproduction, colour

Émilie Oléron Evans (Queen Mary College, University of London), ‘Art practice and art history in fin de siècle Alsace: the art journal Das Kunstgewerbe in Elsass-Lothringen19/EOE1

Abstract: The art journal Das Kunstgewerbe in Elsass-Lothringen (Strasbourg, 1900-1906) pursued a cultural and artistic agenda through a stream of contributions promoting the Jugendstil as the style for modernity, in line with the reforms to art education led by the Strasbourg School of Applied Arts. It also dealt with historical topics and even featured prominent scholars from the fields of art history and archaeology, creating a sense of continuity in the evolution of crafts in the Reichsland and beyond, which, in turn, informed contemporary artistic production. By echoing the re-evaluation of crafts in contemporary art historical scholarship, a mix of historical articles and opinion pieces on current practices contributed to the then visible shift in the standing of decorative arts: Kunstgewerbe offered a chance of self-affirmation for practitioners who could inscribe their own work within a genealogy of art history, thus converting their status from craftsman to artist.

Keywords: crafts, applied arts, Jugendstil, Germany, Strasbourg, Alsace, Kunstgewerbe

Spyros Petritakis (University of Crete, Greece), ‘Rudolf Steiner’s engagement with contemporary artists’ groups: art-theoretical discourse in the anthroposophical milieu in Germany in the early 20th century’ 19/SP1

Abstract: It is a topos that the manifold heterodox religious movements that have been spreading throughout Europe in the late 19th century paved the way for the abandonment of representational painting by virtue of providing a reconsideration of traditional thought systems as well as a reorientation of established values. The leading proponents of these subversive ideas often sought to direct and regulate artistic production through various ways. In this context, Rudolf Steiner’s dynamic interaction with young artists who came to attend his lectures offers an interesting paradigm that stands in sharp contrast to other practices followed by more traditional scholarly simulated lectures. After 1907, by weaving together esoteric Christianity with Goethe’s colour theory and projecting them into an art historical narrative, Steiner denounced the mainstream theosophical doctrine, spread by Annie Besant, and was ready to express contemporary preoccupations regarding the importance of colour in the reinvention of artistic practice. Both a transmitter of ideas and an eclectic recipient of contemporary artistic discourses, Steiner urged young artists to engage with specific art-theory discourses and interfered in the artistic production by commissioning art works or by providing instructions for them.

Key words: Rudolf Steiner, Nikolaos Gyzis, Goethe, Anthroposophy, colour theory, Wassily Kandinsky, Aenigma Group.

Pier Paolo Racioppi (IES Abroad Italy, Rome), ‘The men of letters and the teaching artists: Guattani, Minardi, and the discourse on art at the Accademia di San Luca in Rome in the nineteenth century’ 19/PPP1

Abstract: This article addresses the dispute that took place at the Accademia di San Luca in the nineteenth century between men of letters (the antiquarian Guattani and, later, the erudite Salvatore Betti) and artists (Gaspare Landi and Tommaso Minardi in particular) regarding the control over the discourse on art and the aesthetic principles themselves of the academy. Guattani, professor of history, mythology and costumes, as well as Secretary of the academy, sought to preserve tradition, according to paradigms rooted in the classics and in the grand history painting. Minardi, a professor of painting and art theory, succeeded in reshaping the cultural policies of the academy according to the aesthetic principles of Purism although without fully undermining the classicist foundations of the institution, strenuously defended by Salvatore Betti, who took over Guattani’s teaching after his death.

Key words: Accademia di San Luca, Giuseppe Antonio Guattani, Gaspare Landi, Tommaso Minardi, Purism, history painting

Robert Skwirblies (Technische Universität, Berlin),  ‘”The simplicity of old times” and a community of artists: the construction of history as an artis tic objective in Johann David Passavant’s early texts’ 19/RS1

Abstrac: Johann David Passavant’s early letters and studies exemplify the changing concept of art history around 1800. While he spent his early career as a merchant, he considered himself to be an artist by 1815 and was a member of the Nazarene circle in Rome from 1817–1824. Representing this anti-academic and self-confident community of artists that practiced and studied autonomously, he wrote ambitious plans to organize an art school at the Städel Institute in Frankfurt. His first book Ansichten über die bildenden Künste und Darstellung des Ganges derselben in Toscana transformed art history into an artists’ manifesto. In this manifesto, he treats art history as an active course that should be followed again. Passavant’s conception unified ideas taken from modern French master ateliers, from the patriotic German Lukasbrüder community of painters and from a third component that was new in this context: the political and social frame of a strong and independent community of citizens should help to evolve a prosperous workshop system of artists, leading to a new blossom of art’.

Key words: Nazarenes, anti-academism, autonomy of the artist, community, politics, romanticism


Karl Johns (Independent), ‘The long shadow of Emmy Wellesz with a translation of her “Buddhist Art in Bactria and Gandhāra”’ Originally published as ‘Buddhistische Kunst in Baktrien und Gandhāra’, Josef Strzygowski ed., Kunde, Wesen, Entwicklung: Eine Einführung: Beiträge zur vergleichenden Kunstforschung herausgegeben vom Kunsthistorischen Institut der Universität Wien (Lehrkanzel Strygowski), Heft 2, Vienna: Holzhausen, 1922, 137-151.] 19/KJ1

Abstract: Emmy Wellesz’s dissertation about the art of Bactria and Gandhāra is an example of the work inspired by Josef Strzygowski during his earlier teaching career. While the entire group of dissertations is often dismissed because of later nationalistic utterances from Strzygowski himself (seeming to contradict the universalism of his own teaching), figures such as Heinrich Glück, Fritz Novotny, Otto Demus or Fritz Grossmann should not be ignored in assessing the early development of academic art historical studies. Emmy Wellesz’s thesis about the origins of anthropomorphic Buddha images appeals directly to a subject dear to Strzygowski and is certainly not irrelevant to the history of art. Strzygowski’s global approach was met by an interest in Asian art that existed in Vienna at the time and expressed itself in the activities of Melanie Stiassny and others. While the universities and museums usually separated the subjects, there are reasons for including the wider view, and admirers of Alois Riegl will recall how that scholar records visiting the collections of Asian and Oceanic artefacts in the company of Austrian travelers who brought them to Vienna.

Key words: Buddhist art, Persian art, Indian art, Hellenistic influences, personifications of deities, Viennese art historians, Josef Strzygowski

Tomáš Murár (Czech Academy of Sciences, Prague), ‘Hans Sedlmayr’s art history’. Originally published as a review of Maria Männig, Hans Sedlmayrs Kunstgeschichte: Eine kritische Studie, Köln–Weimar–Wien, Böhlau Verlag 2017. 19/TM1

Abstract: The text deals with methodological aspects of the new research on Hans Sedlmayr’s art history, published in 2017 by Maria Männig. Hans Sedlmayr is one of the best known students of the so-called Vienna School of Art History, and in the same time one of the most controversial post-World War II art historians. The review looks into these aspects within Männig’s approach toward Sedlmayr’s art historical thinking.

Key words: Hans Sedlmayr, Maria Männig, Vienna School of Art History, methodology and historiography of modern art history


Susanna Avery-Quash (National Gallery, London),  ‘”I consider I am now to collect facts not form theories”: Mary Merrifield and empirical research into technical art history during the 1840s’: La Donna che amava i colori. Mary P. Merrifield: Lettere dall’Italia, 1845-1846, edited by Giovanni Mazzaferro, Milan: Officina Libraria, 2018. 19/SA-Q1

Abstract: The book review considers Giovanni Mazzaferro’s translation into Italian of a series of 39 letters by Mary Merrifield (1804-1889), a pioneering expert on historic painting techniques. The letters were written during a research trip to Northern Italy in 1845-6, paid for by the British government’s Fine Arts Commission, with the purpose of discovering and transcribing historical treatises, findings which led Merrifield to publish her still-authoritative Original Treatises on the Arts of Painting (1849). The review seeks to highlight in a variety of ways the importance of Merrifield and her contribution to the emerging field of empirical art history in Britain through the light shed by Mazzaferro on her research and its methodology, and on the contexts in both Italy and England in which she was working. It draws particular attention to her working relationship with Charles Eastlake, Secretary of the Fine Arts Commission, whose seminal Materials for a History of Oil Painting (1847) appeared two years before her own magnum opus, and explores their mutual interest in sharing newly-discovered documentary evidence about how paintings were made in the past, especially with English-speaking audiences

Key words: Mary Philadelphia Merrifield, Fine Arts Commission, Original Treatises on the Arts of Painting, fresco painting, historical treatises, empirical research, Charles Lock Eastlake

Catherine De Lorenzo (University of New South Wales, Sydney and Monash Art Design and Architecture, Melbourne), ‘Challenging the paradigm: rethinking Aboriginal art within Australia’s art history’: Susan Lowish, Rethinking Australia’s art history: The challenge of Aboriginal art, New York & Abingdon, Oxon: Routledge, 2018. 19/CDL1

Abstract: In Rethinking Australia’s art history: The challenge of Aboriginal art, Susan Lowish argues for a new approach to thinking about the discourse on Aboriginal art within Australian art history. Aboriginal art, whether encountered in exhibitions or books and other writings, has come to define much contemporary Australian art, and today Australian art history certainly reflects these trends. If art history is largely a Eurocentric discipline, it is worth asking what a revised disciplinary paradigm might be like when challenged by a wholly different ontology. In this timely book, Lowish does not so much look at Aboriginal art as the writings on it by white observers, administrators and scholars from 1788 to 1929. If much of this source material is demeaning and uniformed, the same cannot be said of Lowish’s analysis, which effectively provides a basis for further research into the period she defines, and beyond.

Key words: Australian art history, Aboriginal art, anthropology and art, evolutionism and art, Sir George Grey, Baldwin Spencer, exhibiting Aboriginal art

Andrew Graciano (School of Visual Art and Design, University of South Carolina), ‘The roles and influence of monographic exhibitions on art historical scholarship’: Maia Wellington Gahtan and Donatella Pegazzano, eds. Monographic Exhibitions and the History of Art.  Studies in Art Historiography, hbk: 368 pages , New York and London: Routledge, 2018. 19/AG1

Abstract: Maia Wellington Gahtan and Donatella Pegazzano’s edited collection, Monographic Exhibitions and the History of Art, is the fruit of a remarkable symposium hosted at the Istituto Lorenzo de’Medici in Florence in March/April 2016. The event brought together likeminded scholars of art history and museum studies from around the world to speak about, to discuss, and to reflect upon the impact of monographic exhibitions on the written trajectory of art historical scholarship, and vice versa. The volume’s essays consider monographic exhibitions that occurred from the late-eighteenth through twenty-first centuries, featuring artists ranging from the Renaissance to the contemporary periods. In this way, the book is of value and of interest to scholars specializing across these many centuries.

Keywords: art historiography, art historical scholarship, exhibitions, museums, monograph

Branko Mitrović (Norwegian University of Science and Technology), ‘Phenomenology, architecture and the writing of architectural history’: Alberto Pérez-Gómez, Timely Meditations, Selected Essays on Architecture, 2 vols, Montreal: Right Angle International, 2016, and Alberto Pérez-Gómez, Attunement, architectural meaning after the crisis of modern science, Cambridge, Mass.: The MIT Press, 2016. 19/BM1

Abstract: Alberto Pérez-Gómez’s books Attunement and Timely Meditations present a comprehensive summary of his version of the phenomenological perspective on architectural theory as well as his critique of the impact of the science- and rationality-based worldview on architecture. In this review I analyse the positions that he presents in these books.

Keywords: Alberto Pérez-Gómez, Christian Norberg-Schulz, phenomenology, architecture, architectural history, historiography

Nkiru Nzegwu (Binghamton University, New York), ‘”When the Paradigm Shifts, Africa Appears”: reconceptualizing Yoruba art in space and time’: Rowland Abiodun , Yoruba Art and Language: Seeking the African in African Art, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2014. 19/NN1

Abstract: Yoruba Art and Language: Seeking the African in African Art by Rowland Abiodun is an epistemological tour de force on art and aesthetics from within a Yoruba intellectual scheme. Marshaling the deliberative methodology of the Yoruba intellectual tradition, Abiodun takes us deep into the Yoruba intellectual arena where normative and meta-theoretical disputations on art, culture, and aesthetics habitually take place. In successfully wresting Yoruba art and aesthetics from the logic of the Western aesthetic system, Abiodun provides intelligibility to the Yoruba conception of art as oríkì. Owing to the theoretical density of his concepts and the complexity of his argument, this essay begins by examining the issue of the relevant language for generating meanings and comprehending African art; it highlights the conceptual scheme and orally-based historical tradition that constitute the relevant paradigm of knowledge for Yoruba art; it draws attention to the metaphysical traits of this paradigm; and lastly, it illuminates the underlying logic of the chapters presenting the Yoruba aesthetic universe.

Key words: aesthetics, art, visual oríkì, ẹwà, beauty, Ife-naturalism

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