New book: Mariette and the Science of the Connoisseur in Eighteenth-Century Europe
Mariette and the Science of the Connoisseur in Eighteenth-Century Europe
Illustrations: Includes 20 colour and 40 b&w illustrations
Published: December 2014
Format: 234 x 156 mm
Extent: 342 pages
BL Reference: 709.2
LoC Control No:2014020368
Kristel Smentek, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, USA
Series : Studies in Art Historiography
Celebrated connoisseur, drawings collector, print dealer, book publisher and authority on the art of antiquity, Pierre-Jean Mariette (1694-1774) was a pivotal figure in the eighteenth-century European art world. Focusing on the trajectory of Mariette’s career, this book examines the material practices and social networks through which connoisseurs forged the idea of art as an object of empirical and historical analysis. Drawing on significant unpublished archival material as well as on histories of science, publishing, collecting and display, this book shows how Mariette and his colleagues’ practices of classification and interpretation of the graphic arts gave rise to new conceptions of artistic authorship and to a history of art that transcended the biographies of individual artists. To follow Mariette’s career through the eighteenth century is to see that art was consolidated as a specialized category of intellectual inquiry-and that style emerged as its structuring analytic device-in the overlapping spaces of the collector’s cabinet, the connoisseur’s portfolio and the dealer’s shop.
Contents: Introduction: Art history and the 18th-century connoisseur; Knowledge economies of the print trade; The making of a drawings connoisseur; The collector’s cut; Origins: of antiquarianism, aesthetics, and history; Conclusion: The Mariette sales; Select bibliography; Index.
About the Author: Kristel Smentek is Associate Professor of Art History, Department of Architecture, MIT, USA.
Reviews: ‘This historically grounded and conceptually nuanced account of Pierre-Jean Mariette’s career and activities gives us a much needed insight into the eighteenth-century practices of art dealership, connoisseurship and collecting, illuminating their key role in the formation of the modern notions of style, authorship, authenticity and the oeuvre. Smentek’s elegantly argued study will be important not only to the scholars and students of eighteenth-century art but also to those who are interested in the Enlightenment origins of art history as a discipline.’
Ewa Lajer-Burcharth, Harvard University, USA
‘This is a fascinating account of the early history of connoisseurship in France in which the role of the print collector, Pierre-Jean Mariette, and his drawings were without equal. Kristel Smentek’s wonderfully rich and detailed analysis brings Mariette’s professional and private activities of collecting to life by reconstructing the social networks of trade, erudition and politeness that determined and sustained them. Here, connoisseurship emerges not as a dry and arcane epistemological practice, but as a set of intellectual and physical performances by which works of art were attributed and authenticated and also displayed and enjoyed. Mariette and the Science of the Connoisseur in Eighteenth-Century Europe is an outstanding contribution to the field.’
Katie Scott, The Courtauld Institute of Art, UK
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