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22: Jun20


‘Art for the Nation: John Ruskin, Art Education and Social Change’:  a series of articles arising from a conference held at the National Gallery, London, 20–21 September 2019

Guest edited by Susanna Avery-Quash (The National Gallery) Janet Barnes (Guild of St George) and Paul Tucker (University of Florence), ‘Introduction: Art for the Nation: John Ruskin, Art Education and Social Change’ 22/AQB

Abstract: The eminent Victorian writer and social reformer John Ruskin (1819–1900), whose bicentenary took place in 2019, was deeply concerned throughout his working life was the power of vision: the good that he believed could arise, both for individuals and society at large, from well-trained and properly-directed visual perception, from an ability to draw, and from the opportunity to enjoy and learn from beautiful, publicly-accessible and well-maintained works of art. It was these related topics that were addressed in ‘Art for the Nation: John Ruskin, Art Education and Social Change’, a two-day conference held at the National Gallery on 20–21 September 2019. Papers from that event have been reworked for publication here and a few newly-commissioned pieces have been added to fill certain gaps. This introduction explains how, taken together, these articles consider afresh Ruskin’s interactions with and influence on the collecting, display and cataloguing of art in public and private collections in Britain and abroad, as well as his ideas concerning art education and how best to teach drawing to children and adults in Victorian Britain, asking questions about the extent to which Ruskin was working alongside or outside the British art establishment, the contributions he made to the emerging discipline of art history, and what his ideas can teach future generations of museum goers, artists, curators and funding bodies. This introduction also situates the conference and the papers published here within a broader landscape of public exhibitions, displays, conferences and other activities which took place in the bicentennial year, aimed at drawing attention to Ruskin’s life, work and legacy.

Key words: John Ruskin, Bicentenary, Guild of St George, The Ruskin Foundation, Ruskin Land, Ruskin To-Day, art teaching, public galleries and museums

Dinah Birch (University of Liverpool), ‘Ruskin and his Victorian readers’ 22/DB1

Abstract: Modern Painters (1843-60) and The Stones of Venice (1851-3) made John Ruskin one of the most influential critics of the nineteenth century. But these magisterial works were followed by a series of very different books, as Ruskin published lectures and essays which addressed the most contentious political and social issues of his day.  He became a celebrated and sometimes vilified cultural figure, challenging contemporary values and assumptions. This article explores the shifting dynamics of Ruskin’s reputation, asking who read his work, and how he was understood, as he became an increasingly controversial figure in a period of turbulent change.

Keywords:  Ruskin, publishing practice, lectures, sermons, visual arts, letters

Susanna Avery-Quash (The National Gallery, London), ‘John Ruskin and the National Gallery: evolving ideas about curating the nation’s paintings during the second half of the nineteenth century’ 22/SAQ1

Abstract: Ruskin’s relationship with the National Gallery spanned almost half a century. This article will attempt to explain why he got involved with the institution at various points from the middle of the nineteenth century, what form his interventions took, and how such action fitted in with his evolving ideas about art galleries in general. The focus will be on Ruskin’s evolving thinking about what functions and what type of visitors a public art gallery should serve and what he regarded as best practice in relation to preserving great art and arranging, exhibiting and cataloguing it for public benefit. We will also consider, in passing, how his ideas about the National Gallery fitted within his later thinking in relation to other art institutions, including his own museum in Sheffield, and how his thinking related to a wider national discourse on the topic during the second half of the nineteenth century.

Key words: The National Gallery, London, John Ruskin, Charles Eastlake, visibility of paintings, safety of paintings, picture cleaning, environmental preventive conservation, picture hanging, acquisition policy, cataloguing, loans policy, public access, Ruskin’s proposed bequest to the National Gallery, 1862

Anthony Burton (Victoria and Albert Museum), ‘Ruskin and South Kensington: contrasting approaches to art education’ 22/AB1

Abstract: Alongside his hugely influential art criticism, and his own art practice, Ruskin made occasional interventions in the teaching of art.  This paper considers his contribution to art education in relation to that of ‘South Kensington’, the government-sponsored art education system.  It traces his early contacts with Henry Cole, head of the South Kensington system.  It then focuses on several lectures he gave at occasions sponsored by South Kensington, and tries to discern how he expressed his differences with the government’s approach.  It concludes that South Kensington had much greater practical effects (however open to criticism) than did Ruskin.

Key words:  art education, ornament, conventionalization, Henry Cole, South Kensington, J. A. Hammersley

John Holmes (Birmingham) and Paul Smith (Oxford), ‘Visions of nature: reviving Ruskin’s legacy at the Oxford University Museum’ 22/JH1

Abstract: Since 2016, the Oxford University Museum of Natural History has built on the legacy of its founders, including John Ruskin, by integrating the arts into its scientific programming. In this article, we revisit the lectures that Ruskin gave at the museum in the 1870s during his tenure as Slade Professor of Fine Art, tracing his arguments in favour of art as a complement to the science of natural history. In spite of Ruskin’s attacks on contemporary science in these lectures, his concern with human impact on the environment resonates deeply today. We show how the museum’s new practice corroborates his arguments by enabling it to communicate science to new audiences and to reflect on the implications of scientific discoveries. Finally, we argue that natural history museums have both the capacity and a responsibility to advance public action in response to the current environmental crisis, and that a transdisciplinary approach integrating art and science is the most effective way for them to do so.

Key words: John Ruskin, Oxford University Museum, natural history museums, art and science, extinction.

Lucy West (Leeds), ‘”She enclosed & decorated this hall on the advice of John Ruskin”: Pauline, Lady Trevelyan and the creation of Wallington Hall’s Central Hall’ 22/LW1

Abstract: This article examines John Ruskin’s role in the enclosure and decoration of the Central Hall at Wallington, Northumberland, a project set in motion from 1852 by Lady Pauline Jermyn Trevelyan, artist, intellect, and patron of the Pre-Raphaelite circle. It challenges the frequent limitation of Ruskin’s involvement, through examining the project’s wider context. Originally intended itself as a private museum, the Hall was developed during a rich period which witnessed the linked genesis of the Oxford Museum, along with the publication of some of Ruskin’s key works, read and reviewed by Lady Trevelyan. The three principles upon which Ruskin believed the Oxford Museum should be built, published in 1859, are employed as a lens through which to compare Lady Trevelyan’s Central Hall. Finally, the Wallington project is interrogated in relation to Ruskin’s views on art education, particularly considering the opportunities it provided for female practitioners.

Key words: Ruskin,Trevelyan,country house,interior,architecture ,Northumberland,wall painting

Paul Tucker (University of Florence), ‘A ‘new clue’: Ruskin’s Guide to the Principal Pictures in the Academy of Fine Arts at Venice (1877), the history of Venetian art and the idea of the museum’ 22/PT1

Abstract: This paper considers Ruskin’s Guide to the Principal Pictures in the Academy of Fine Arts at Venice (1877) in the light of his earlier thinking about the nature and purpose of museums and his concurrent creation of St George’s Museum at Walkley. Usually dismissed as betraying mental instability, a careful reading of the Guide and its intertexts, especially St Mark’s Rest, shows it textually to reorder the Academy’s collection in ways blurring the distinction between ‘national’ and ‘local’ museums for which Ruskin had argued in the 1850s and ideally to form part of the discourse explanatory of the ‘design’ of the Walkley museum.

Key words: John Ruskin, Accademia di belle arti, Venice, Guide to the Principal Pictures in the Academy of Fine Arts at Venice, St Mark’s Rest, Mornings in Florence, ‘The relation between Michael Angelo and Tintoret’, John Murray Handbooks, history of art, St George’s Museum, Walkley

Louise Pullen (Ruskin Collection, Museums Sheffield), ‘The joy of pretty things: a museum for Sheffield’s workers’ 22/LP1

Abstract: In 1875 John Ruskin opened a museum for the workers of Sheffield. Created under the auspices of his Guild of St George and populated with a collection amassed in accordance with his personal inclinations, this was not to be a place of entertainment but of inspiration and education. Under the guidance of Ruskin’s chosen curator, Henry Swan visitors were exposed to subjects ranging from ornithology to architecture and geology to painting. Through it Ruskin hoped that artisans would be tempted out of the smoky city and into the countryside, and look afresh at nature and beauty. The museum was born from Ruskin’s belief that workers deserved a better life; that they could flourish as happier people if they were given the means, encouragement and insight. His connection of nature and art with comfort and wellbeing is a theme that seems evermore vital in today’s fast-paced society.

Key words: Ruskin, Sheffield, guild, museum, museology, collection, artisan

Donata Levi (Udine) and Paul Tucker (University of Florence), ‘J after J. Ruskin’: line in the art teaching of John Ruskin and Ebenezer Cooke’ 22/LT1

Abstract: This article compares the place of line in the later art teaching of Ruskin with its role in the ‘South Kensington system’, the national art training scheme developed from the late 1830s under the auspices of the British Board of Trade. It focuses especially on Ruskin’s influence on Ebenezer Cooke, a pupil of his at the Working Men’s College in the 1850s and later, like Ruskin, a vigorous opponent of South Kensington. Starting from a heated public exchange of 1875 involving Ruskin, Cooke and an executant of the government system, William Bell Scott, the article examines Ruskin’s theoretical and practical revaluation of line between the publication of The Elements of Drawing (1857) and of his second drawing manual, The Laws of Fésole (1877–78). It then shows how Cooke combined Ruskin’s earlier analyses of curvature in nature and ornament and his growing sense of outline as a locus of interdisciplinary thought and moral expression with insights into ‘child nature’ gleaned from the pedagogy of Pestalozzi and Froebel and from contemporary British psychology, thus developing an original understanding of, and method of teaching, elementary drawing founded on the ovate ‘general forms’ which in Cooke’s view formed a link between nature and historically and developmentally ‘primitive’ design.

Key words: John Ruskin, Ebenezer Cooke, teaching of drawing, line, outline, curvature, children’s drawing, South Kensington system, free-arm drawing, The Elements of Drawing, The Laws of Fésole

Jenny Graham  (Plymouth), ‘ ‘An ass with precious things in his panniers’: John Ruskin’s reception of The Lives of the Most Excellent Painters, Sculptors and Architects by Giorgio Vasari’ 22/JC1

Abstract: This article examines John Ruskin’s response to Giorgio Vasari’s The Lives of the Most Excellent Painters, Sculptors and Architects, a text which had a mixed reception during the Victorian period in connection with the rise of new art-historical approaches to the Italian Renaissance.  Although Ruskin was aware of the unpicking of Vasari’s text by continental critics as advances in connoisseurship and archival research challenged Vasari’s authority and discredited his findings, Ruskin was a close reader of Vasari’s Lives.  The article examines references to Vasari during three epochs of Ruskin’s career in particular – his tour to Italy of 1845, Modern Painters II and III, and his Oxford lectures of the 1870s.

Key words: John Ruskin, Giorgio Vasari, Florence, Italy, Renaissance, art criticism, nineteenth century

Suzanne Fagence Cooper (Independent), ‘Stones and Lilies: Ruskin’s legacy since 1969’ 22/SFC1

Abstract: On a cold Spring morning in 1969, a small group of scholars gathered at Brantwood. They were commemorating Ruskin’s 150th birthday, and sharing their interests and knowledge. Taking this conference as its starting point, the study follows various threads of interest through the next fifty years, including the transformation of Bembridge, Sheffield and Lancaster as centres for Ruskin scholarship, as well as the continuing traditions of the productive landscape at Brantwood and Ruskin Land. It also considers some of the gaps we would now recognise in the line-up of 1969, especially the contested place of Ruskin in gender studies, and the role of women in developing Ruskin’s legacies. This paper will draw on new interviews with Ruskin specialists from many different disciplines carried out in anticipation of Ruskin’s 200th birthday.

Key words: John Ruskin, Brantwood, The Ruskin Lancaster, Guild of St George, Sheffield, productive, fruitful, relics, conservation, organic, garden, stone, exhibition, women & gender

Alistair Hudson (Whitworth Gallery), ‘Ruskin unleashed: towards a revised political economy of art or Joy for ever: How to use art to change the world (and its price beyond the market)22/AH1

Abstract: In 1857, during the run of the Art Treasures Exhibition in Manchester, John Ruskin delivered his two-part lecture on The Political Economy Art at the Manchester Athenaeum, now the Manchester Art Gallery. He berated the city’s industrialists and merchants for their laissez-faire capitalism and narrow, self-indulgent understanding of art. In this landmark lecture, Ruskin transformed himself very publicly from art critic to social critic, and yet his new economy retained art at its centre. His newly modelled eco-system was one in which nature and art played key roles rather than being a market driven system. In this article, 162 years after Ruskin delivered his lecture, Alistair Hudson revisits this watershed moment and berates the Consensus Art World for failing to take heed of Ruskin’s message and argues the case for the use, re-use and misuse of Ruskin’s work, as the most relevant voice in a time of political, economic, cultural and ecological turmoil.

Key words: John Ruskin, social criticism, political economy, capitalism, Manchester Art Treasures Exhibition 1857, Coniston Mechanics Institute, Grizedale Arts, Arte Util/‘The Useful Museum’, The Whitworth, Manchester Art Gallery

Jacqueline Yallop (Aberystwyth), ‘”And now, come with me”: a closer look at Ruskin’s writing’ 22/JY1

Abstract: With 39 volumes of collected works and several million words to choose from, tackling Ruskin’s prolific writing can be intimidating.  Faced with so much reading, it’s often tempting to focus on the nature of his argument and the passion of his polemic, rather than examining the detail of how his language conveys meaning, both intentional and instinctive. Exploring Ruskin’s work from the viewpoint of a practising novelist, this paper takes a personal look at elements of his writing style – and suggests why it might be important to pay attention to the way he expresses his ideas. Close reading of a passage from Stones of Venice considers how Ruskin constructs his prose, why his language is so powerful, and what can be revealed in a handful of words.

Key words: Ruskin’s language, gothic, narrative, river, dark, guide

Art history and its ‘well-(un)known’ masters: Guest edited by Julia Trinkert and Reinhard Köpf (Heinrich-Heine-Universität (HHU) in Düsseldorf),

‘To be [titled] or not to be [titled]? Art history and its ‘well-(un)known’ masters: introductory remarks’ 22/TK1

Abstract: It seems to be impossible to imagine an art history without names. In scientific practice the attribution to a “name” can significantly influence the perception and assessment of traditional works of art. Since the beginning of the 20th century art historians often used to handle art works – especially medieval objects – by their mostly unknown masters. Based on this art historical tradition to evoke speculative names this introduction (together with the following essays) aims on how art history has developed this method. Even if strong doubts have arisen within our discipline, recent exhibition projects, for example, show that this approach is still being used (like a “Künstlerkunstgeschichte”). From a North-Eastern European point of view, the participating authors suggest how this method could be made fruitful in the future (e. g. databases, digital mapping etc.), by concentrating on the gap between art works and archival records and medieval sculptures.

Key words: Masters, speculative names, art-historical method, exhibition, medieval sculptures

Marjan Debaene (museum M in Leuven), ‘The problem with Leuven sculpture around 1500: the creation of anonymous sculpture workshops’ 22/MD1

Abstract: In the late middle ages, the Brabantine city of Leuven was a regional production centre of sculpture that followed artistical trends being set in Brussels. The Leuven sculptors had a varied clientele and received commissions from far beyond the city walls. However, they were not organised in their own corporation and therefore did not apply a system of trademarks to allow quality control. The result was that in the archives many sculptors are known by name, but they can hardly ever be linked to a body of work. Conversely, many remaining sculptures cannot be attributed to a specific sculptor. This paper will discuss the case of two anonymous Leuven masters who were provisionally named in the 1970s and who have been assigned a body of works as their oeuvre: the Master of the Crucified Christ Figures and the Master of Christ on the Cold Stone. These notnames are filled with speculation, as the researchers that created these unknown masters made some methodological errors. Since the 1970s, research has barely progressed, and the notnames have often started to live a life of their own. This paper offers a different approach to analysing these sculptures and possibly re-grouping them, by showing that stylistic analysis and connoisseurship are only some of many tools and methodologies that can be used to research anonymous late gothic sculpture, such as technical research and cultural space contextualisation, the ultimate goal being to achieve a more nuanced and far richer image of the sculpture workshops active in Leuven around 1500, where the names or notnames of the sculptors are of lesser importance.

Key words: Brabant, Leuven, wooden sculpture, notname, workshop

Agnieszka Patała (University of Wrocław), ‘Masters without Names in Medieval Silesia: the Master of the Years 1486–1487, the Master of the Gießmannsdorf Polyptych and Wilhelm Kalteysen von Oche’ 22/AP1

Abstract: Due to archival research the names of more than 150 artists active in Silesia between 1340 and 1520 were established. Paradoxically however, until 2004, it had remained impossible to definitively link any preserved painted or sculpted artwork with any of these known artists’ names. This impasse was reflected in the catalogue of the exhibition of Silesian medieval art published in 1929. In order to handle and classify the presented objects its authors brought several anonymous masters into further focus by providing them names taken from the most significant artwork attributed to them. Their oeuvres were then expanded with additional stylistically related works, which established, in consequence, the model of classification of Silesian late Gothic art that remains in use today. This paper aims to present the effects of the long-term application and development of the model created in 1929. Another objective is to analyse of the consequences of the archival discovery that let the scholars identify the so-called Master of the St. Barbara Altarpiece with Wilhelm Kalteysen von Oche.

Key words: Late Gothic art, Silesia, Wrocław (Breslau), Erich Wiese, Strzegom (Striegau), Nysa (Neisse)

Elina Räsänen (Helsinki), ‘Interpreting an anomaly: the encounter of Olga Alice Nygren and Carl Axel Nordman with the crowned Saint Anne22/NR1

Abstract: The article concentrates on two Finnish medievalists, Carl Axel Nordman (1892–1972) and Olga Alice Nygren (1898–1981), and their interpretations of a late-medieval polychrome wood sculpture depicting the crowned Saint Anne with the Virgin and Child. The former was a distinguished scholar and State Antiquarian, whereas the latter was a relatively unnoticed art historian and remains so. Nordman’s interpretation relied on the role of the carver master, whereas that of Nygren was based on the cult of St Anne. In addition to drawing scholarly attention to one little-known, but iconographically interesting medieval sculpture, this article sheds light on the subtle mechanisms of exclusion and inclusion which underlie the construction of professional careers in the field of art history.

Key words: Saint Anne, polychrome wood sculptures, folklore, saints, Medieval art, Olga Alice Nygren, Carl Axel Nordman

Julia Trinkert (Heinrich-Heine-Universität (HHU) in Düsseldorf), ‘Art centres in the Lower Rhine and the Maasland revisited: research potential of a methodological reorientation of medieval art history’ 22/JT1

Abstract: The medieval wooden sculptures in the Lower Rhine and the Maasland region have been the focus of much art historical interest. Various inventory and exhibition projects in the twentieth century comprehensively recorded and arranged the numerous works available in the region and assigned them to different known or unknown artists or art landscape groups of works, according to the status of the respective research claim. The basis for a revision of the Lower Rhine and Maasland medieval wooden sculptures lies in the application of large-scale research efforts toward medieval wooden sculpture and panel painting in the Mecklenburg and Nordschleswig/Sønderjylland regions. The concept is to apply comprehensive digital mapping of wooden sculptures in the Lower Rhine region. This  could help to identify small, peripheral art centres and make the distribution channels of art transfer comprehensible.

Key words: medieval wooden sculpture, Mecklenburg, Lower Rhine, Maasland, Sønderjylland, master, notname

The influence of the Vienna School of Art History before and after 1918 – Part 2

Marta Filipová (Masaryk University, Brno), ‘The Czech Vienna school and the art of the “small people”’ 22/MF1

Abstract: The article focuses on the attitudes of the Vienna school followers to folk art and primarily examines the writing of the Czech art historians, Zdeněk Wirth and Antonín Matějček. Their attention to art created by ‘the small people’ of villages and the countryside had clear parallels in the theories of Alois Riegl. Both Czech art historians, however, developed Riegl’s views further. Aware of the impact of modernity and industrialisation on art production, they related folk art to a specific class and the social, economic and ethnic changes in the Czech lands in the first two decades of the twentieth century. The text therefore scrutinises their reasons for the continued concern with folk art in the light of the legacy of the Vienna school.

Key words: Vienna School, Historiography, Czechoslovakia, folk art, modernity, class

Greta Monica Miron (Babeș-Bolyai University, Cluj-Napoca), ‘Learned history- lived history: the national overtones of Coriolan Petranu’s art historical discourse’ 22/GMM1

Abstract: This paper examines the national underpinnings of Coriolan Petranu’s historiographical discourse (with reference to Romanian wood architecture), a discourse that was influenced both by European historiographical trends, including, above all, by the research of his professor, Josef Strzygowski, and by the domestic cultural and political context. It has attempted to show how, having assumed historical writing as his patriotic duty, Coriolan Petranu followed a line of research that had been launched in Romanian Transylvanian historiography after 1918. At the same time, he always looked to Central or Western Europe for comparisons, in an attempt to find similarities or influences; his conception about the wooden churches in Transylvania was circumscribed by a European and, simultaneously, by a national perspective.

Key words: Transylvania, art historiography, wooden churches, national discourse, autochtonism, originality

Rebeka Vidrih (Ljubljana), ‘The scope and ambition of Izidor Cankar’s “systematics of style”’ 22/RV1

Abstract: Izidor Cankar (1886–1958), student of Max Dvořák at Vienna and the key figure in founding in 1919–20 the discipline of art history at University of Ljubljana, Slovenia, set himself a great task: ‘to complete those researches [of Riegl, Wickhoff, and Wölfflin], to sum up the marks of style into a system regardless of the historical evolution, to create in nuce some sort of a grammar of art formation’. In his Introduction into Comprehending of the Visual Art. The Systematics of Style (1926) – which functions as the theoretical underpinning of even greater and unfortunately unfinished project of The History of Visual Art in Western Europe. The Evolution of Style (1927–51) – he thus offered three fundamental categories for close examination of works of art as ‘visual organisms’: the two extremes of the idealistic and naturalistic worldviews and the planar and painterly styles respectively, and their reconciliation, the intermediary position of realistic worldview and the plastic style. What exactly do these categories comprise, how are they to be used and what is the relation of this theoretical edifice to the art-historical work of the named Cankar’s predecessors, is the topic of the present contribution.

Keywords: Izidor Cankar, Franz Wickhoff, Alois Riegl, Max Dvořák, Heinrich Wölfflin, Vienna School of art history

Michael Young (University of Connecticut, Storrs), ‘Oskar Pollak reconsidered: a Bildungsroman in miniature of late Austrian culture and politics 22/MY1

Abstract: Oskar Pollak (1883-1915), remains a ghostly figure of the Vienna School, partly because of his early death, partly because a considerable portion of his unpublished work was cannibalized and used without attribution by colleagues who survived him. Under the influence and mentorship of Wilhelm Klein in Prague, Max Dvořák in Vienna and Ludwig von Pastor in Rome, he gradually abandoned his earlier German cultural chauvinism for a supranational cosmopolitanism strongly coloured by Austrian patriotism. His emphasis in his scholarship on documentary research and written sources positioned him in the anti-Strzygowski faction of Viennese art historians, and he vastly extended the positive re-valuation of Baroque art begun in the late nineteenth century (which paralleled Riegl’s and Wickhoff’s rehabilitation of Late Roman art). His scholarly affinities were rooted in his experiences and sympathies as an assimilated German-speaking Jew in Prague during the period of the fiercest conflicts between Czechs and Germans.

Keywords: Oskar Pollak, Hans Tietze, Ludwig von Pastor, Wilhelm Klein, Ludwig Pollak, Max Dvořák, Roman Baroque historiography

General articles

Charlotte Denoël (Bibliothèque nationale de France), ‘The beginnings of scholarship on early medieval book illumination (1700-1850): between classicism and ethnicity 22/CD1

Abstract: This essay addresses historiographical and methodological issues about the very beginnings of the scholarship on early medieval manuscript illumination during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. The enduring importance of Greek art and the development of national or ethnic approaches have profoundly shaped our appreciation and interpretation of early medieval illumination, and the latter is still relevant today. By putting into perspective the deep history of early medieval manuscript illumination studies, I seek to show how this area of research connects with other fields such as history or archaeology and why it occupied a long marginalized position within art historical scholarship.

Key words: early medieval illumination, classicism, ethnicity

Eleonora Gaudieri (Vienna), ‘Alois Riegl and his lecture notes. A reconsideration of his concept of “Baroque”’ 22/EG1

The present article aims to draw attention to a specific and hitherto unaddressed aspect of Alois Riegl’s work, namely a reconsideration of his idea of ‘Baroque’ in the light of his unpublished manuscripts. Selected parts of Riegl’s lecture notes, which he prepared for his teaching at the University of Vienna between 1894‒1902, were published by Arthur Burda and Max Dvořák in 1908, under the title Die Entstehung der Barockkunst in Rom. From an analysis of the manuscripts in its entirely emerges a more complex idea of ‘Baroque’ as a stylistic phenomenon, the range of which is not limited to its first development or its ‘origins’ (Entstehung in German) in Rome. Rather, this phenomenon extends also to its assimilation and reinterpretation from both the rest of Italy and European territories beyond the Alps, such as Austria, Germany and Bohemia, up until the rise of Neoclassicism.

Keywords: Riegl, Baroque, Rococo, lecture notes, Kunstwollen, Universalgeschichte, Weltanschauung

Alexander Kauffman (Philadelphia Museum of Art), ‘Manet, museum, modernism: Michel Foucault and modernist art history’ 22/AK1

Abstract: Michel Foucault’s legacy in shaping understanding of the museum and its ideological operations is well established in the field of museum studies. Tony Bennett’s adaptation of the ‘disciplinary complex’ in his ‘exhibitionary complex’ essay of 1988 marshalled Foucauldian theory into the field’s mainstream, and contributed to the subsequent methodological shift known as ‘the new museology’ or ‘critical museum studies.’ Less recognised are Foucault’s contributions to theorisations of the museum by modernist art history. Focusing on a passage from his essay ‘Fantasia of the Library’ and its reception by Douglas Crimp, Rosalind Krauss, and others, this article reflects on Foucault’s outsized impact on recent modernist art history. It concludes that Foucault’s commentary stimulated art history to engage with the museum, but at the same time, constrained the field’s conception of modernism’s geographies, protagonists, and institutional formations.

Keywords: Michel Foucault, Douglas Crimp, modernism, museum studies, institutional critique, global art history

Chari Larsson (Griffith University’s Queensland College of Art), ‘Didi-Huberman and art history’s amicable incursions’ 22/CL1

Abstract: This paper takes as its departure point French philosopher and art historian Georges Didi-Huberman’s recent text Aperçues (2018). Clearly forsaking art-historical conventions, Aperçues is composed completely of fragments. Dated, but not organised chronologically, Didi-Huberman is drawing on a long literary history of essayistic writing that reaches back to Michel de Montaigne. With this history of experimental forms of writing in mind, this essay will argue that Didi-Huberman’s decision to write in fragmentary form signals a broader shift in art-historical writing: the turn to the ‘I’, or loosely demarcated autobiographical practices. This is not, however, a simplistic or uncomplicated return to the humanist subject. Instead, drawing from Roland Barthes’ 1971 exhumation of the author in Sade, Fourier, Loyola, the author is amicable. This essay discusses the notion of the amical author as a possible trope for experimental art writing practices, where the subject returns, albeit in a fragmented and split condition.

Key words: Didi-Huberman, Walter Pater, Michael Ann Holly, T.J. Clark, Roland Barthes, art writing, autobiography

Milica Madanovic (University of Auckland) and Renata Jadresin Milic (Unitec Institute of Technology, Auckland), ‘Uncharted architectural theory of critical regionalism in the work of Aleksandar Deroko between the world wars’ 22/MRM1

Abstract: This paper explores critical regionalism in the work of the Yugoslav architect Aleksandar Deroko, examining an interwar alternative to the Modern Movement. It shows that a specific borderline cultural position of Yugoslavia, caught between the West and the East, influenced the shaping of Deroko’s unique architectural theory. Similarly to Lewis Mumford, whose architectural ideas gained international recognition, Deroko reacted to the stifling uniformity of Modernism. Deroko developed his regionalist design theory learning from the vernacular. According to him, vernacular architecture was a response to region-specific functional imperatives, shaped by distinct geographical features. Deroko maintained that these highly functional structures, devoid of excess architectural ornament, should serve as architectural textbooks, firmly objecting to the Modernist insensitivity to the local conditions. The paper argues that Deroko’s work can be considered as a part of a wider international network of critical approaches to Modernism.

Key words: Critical Regionalism, The Balkans (Between the East and the West), Interwar Period, Aleksandar Deroko (1894-1988), Lewis Mumford (1895-1990)

Marjorie Munsterberg (Independent), ‘Writing about the ymage in fifteenth-century England’ 22/MM1

Abstract: Beginning in the late 14th century and continuing through the 15th century, religious reform movements in England made the use of images a matter of fierce dispute. These arguments had taken place before in Church history, but they had been explained in Latin and as part of theological debates. The English reformers and those speaking in support of the Church, on the other hand, deliberately used the vernacular in an effort to reach ordinary people. Furthermore, they emphasized the practical implications of their ideas for worshipers. A variety of sources, including writings by two female mystics as well as transcripts from trials of heretics, treatises and sermons by church figures, poetry, and popular lyrics give evidence of how viewers responded to religious images during this period. I will analyse these texts as a brief episode in the history of writing about art in the west.

Key words: Ymage, iconoclasm, Lollard, Lydgate, Kempe, Julian of Norwich, Dives and Pauper

Katarzyna Murawska-Muthesius (Birkbeck College, University of London), ‘A Company of Artists Watching a Mountebank Show: studies in seventeenth-century caricature’ 22/KMM1

Abstract: A Company of Artists, a forgotten caricature of Annibale Carracci’s students and followers, represented as a crowd watching a street performance of mountebanks, is closely tied to different stages of the historiography of caricature. It follows the first accounts of its origins and strategies by the Seicento theorists, testifying to its centrality in the Carracci studio in Bologna. The drawing’s arrival in British collections coincided with the first Anglophone history of caricature, published by Charles Rogers in 1778, and, later, with the redefinition of caricature studies among the Warburg circle of scholars. This text is an inquiry into the subversive potential of caricature as a critical art form of early modernity. It argues that by adopting bodily deformation as its modus operandi, and by aligning artists with mountebanks, the drawing contributes to the reinvention of the codes of artists’ self-representation, renouncing the previous emphasis on their social status to privilege companionship and performativity.

Key words: caricature, performance, artists’ self-representation, mountebanks, Bologna, Annibale Carracci, the Carracci students and followers, Carlo Cesare Malvasia, Felsina Pittrice, Charles Rogers, A Collection of Prints in Imitation of Drawings, Paul Oppé, The Warburg Institute

César Saldaña Puerto (Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya), ‘Arnold Hauser, Walter Benjamin and the mythologization of history’ 22/CS1

Abstract: There are conspicuous parallelisms —and symmetries— between the scholarly fates of Walter Benjamin and Arnold Hauser. While the first failed to attain any sort of success during his lifetime, the latter’s instant widespread diffusion went hand in hand with an ambiguous academic reception. However, if Benjamin posthumously grew to become a major author, Hauser remained an outsider, whose figure has faded and re-emerged with dubious fortune. In spite of opposite lucks, both authors were marked by a strong anti-positivistic attitude which sought to establish a distinct methodology for the social sciences, striving to understand the present through art criticism. Departing from broad considerations of their philosophical backgrounds, this paper will further illustrate their similarities and differences by examining shared accusations that weight on them: their controversial forms of Marxism point to a conception of art criticism that handles historical narrative as myths, rendering their methods close to psychoanalytical dream interpretation.

Keywords: Arnold Hauser, Walter Benjamin, mediation, myth, Marxist art history, psychoanalysis, methodology


Claire Farago (University of Colorado Boulder), ‘The Truth in Painting’. Review of: Lexicographie artistique: forme, usages et enjeux dans l’Europe moderne, edited by Michèle-Caroline Heck with Marianne Freyssinet and Stéphanie Trouvé (Montepellier: Presses Universitaires de la Méditerranée, 2018). 22/CF1

Abstract: Reviews two important contributions to the study of Early Modern Northern European art theoretical literature, a dictionary of art terms and an edited volume of case studies on writings on art published between 1600 and 1750 in German, French, English, and Dutch. These two volumes are the first systematic comparison of artistic vocabulary in four languages as the terms appeared in a range of publications indebted to Italian sources. They study the literature from c. 1604, when Karel Van Mander’s Schilder-boek was first published, until c. 1750, when Alexander Baumgarten introduced the term “aesthetics” to establish the analytical philosophy of art. Broadening the study to several countries and languages shows both the fragmentation of a received discourse and the emergence of common elements in an evolving, dynamic conception of painting.

Key words: Art terms, art theory, dictionary of art, drawing manuals, treatise on painting, Joachim von Sandrart, Karel van Mander, Vienna School of Art History, Julius von Schlosser, Roger de Piles, Gerard da Lairesse, André Félibien, Charles-Alphonse DuFresnoy, Filippo Baldinucci, J. P. Bellori, Franciscus Junius, Leonardo da Vinci

Sylvester Okwunodu Ogbechie (University of California, Santa Barbara), ‘The pathfinder paradox: historicizing African art within global modernity’. Review of: Chika Okeke-Agulu, Postcolonial Modernism: Art and Decolonization in 20th Century Nigeria. Durham: Duke University Press, 2015. 22/SOO1

Abstract: The increasing global visibility of modern and contemporary African art makes it imperative to determine how art history frames the emergent subject/context. How do emergent theories and analyses of modern/contemporary African art position Africa within global debates about cultural production in general? How do scholars narrate a history of modern and contemporary art in Africa that unfolds from the viewpoint of the African subject / subjectivity rather than from the viewpoint of its negation by Western discourse? What approaches to historical data and interpretation are suitable for such analysis and what kind of art history does it produce? I use Chika Okeke-Agulu’s Postcolonial Modernism to evaluate these issues in relation to the politics of academic writing.

Keywords: Postcolonial Modernism, modern African art, colonialism, postcolonialism, Zaria Art Society, Uche Okeke, Ben Enwonwu, Ulli Beier, Negritude, Kenneth Murray, Aina Onabolu

Marie Tavinor (Royal Academy), ‘“You ought to write. You need to probe the heart of life”: art dealer and diarist René Gimpel and the interwar transatlantic art trade (1918-1939)’. Review of: The Journal of a Transatlantic Art Dealer. René Gimpel, 1918-1939, by Diana J. Kostyrko, London, Turnhout: Harvey Miller/ Brepols Publishers, 2017. 22/MT1

Abstract: A prominent art dealer operating between Paris and New York during the interwar years, René Gimpel (1881-1945) kept a diary which was first published in 1963 and then republished in an extended version in 2011. Using the diary as a tool, albeit acknowledging its sometimes problematic nature as literary object, Diana J. Kostyrko seeks to frame Gimpel’s life and business activity in a vast transdisciplinary account. This valuable book, the second in Harvey Miller’s series on Collectors and Dealers, fills some important historiographic gaps in the history of collecting, the history of the art market and more broadly sheds light on the rise of modernity.

Key words: René Gimpel, transatlantic art trade, collecting, journal, modernity, taste, art market, dealership


Julia Secklehner (Masaryk University, Brno), ‘Moving times, moving spaces’. Conference report on ‘Questions of Periodisation in the Art Historiographies of Central and Eastern Europe’, Bucharest. 22/JS1

Abstract: Organised within the ERC project Art Historiographies in Central and Eastern Europe. An Inquiry from the Perspective of Entangled Histories and hosted by New Europe College – Institute for Advanced Study in Bucharest, the conference ‘Questions of Periodisation in the Art Historiographies of Central and Eastern Europe’ took place in Bucharest from 30 November – 1 December 2019. It assessed the topic of periodisation in central European art historiography with particular reference to early scholars in the discipline and placed specific focus on the way in which art historians from the region mediated between ‘western’ models of periodisation and regional specificities. The keynote speakers were Matthew Rampley (Masaryk University, Brno), and Wojciech Bałus (Jagiellonian University, Krakow).

Key words: national heritage, regional interdependencies, beyond political borders, ‘belatedness’, central and eastern European art, ‘western’ art historiography

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