Skip to content

Ingrid Vermeulen on ‘Challenging the myth of Pierre-Jean Mariette (1694-1774)’: a review

27 February 2018

Challenging the myth of Pierre-Jean Mariette (1694-1774)

Valérie Kobi, Dans l’oeil du connaisseur. Pierre-Jean Mariette (1694-1774) et la construction des savoirs en histoire de l’art, Rennes: Presses Universitaires de Rennes 2017, 322 pp., Illustrations: Couleurs et N & B. 28,00 €. ISBN : 978-2-7535-5314-9

Ingrid Vermeulen (Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam) 18/IV1

Abstract: Kobi re-evaluates the role of Pierre-Jean Mariette (1694-1774) in eighteenth-century art history by focusing on his art publications rather than on the collections owned or compiled. She makes a valuable contribution to the knowledge about the social-cultural dimensions of his work – entailing the cult of the ‘honnete homme’ and the international scientific collaborations. About the scientific dimensions of his work she sheds light in particular on the process of knowledge creation from collection to several forms of publication, and on the ideologies that motivate scholarly production. Also several detailed case studies, such as those devoted to the carved gem of Michelangelo and the Bouchardon publications are valuable. Connoisseurship is hereby defined not only as the expression of refined artistic taste, but emphatically also as the instrument of scientific scrutiny. In this respect Kobi potentially contributes to the deconstruction of the myth of Mariette. Although this will not diminish the image of Mariette as a connoisseur, yet, it does change the understanding of his connoisseurship.

Key words: Mariette, connoisseurship, art historiography, social-cultural practice, scientific knowledge creation, myth

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: