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24: Jun21


Doing connoisseurship. Guest edited by Joris Heyder

Joris Corin Heyder (Eberhard Karls University Tübingen), ‘Doing connoisseurship. Yesterday, today, tomorrow. Introductory remarks’ 24/JCH1


Abstract:  The introduction seeks to concretize and expand on crucial connoisseurial practices such as comparing or verbalising. Starting from the three domains of connoisseurship, namely the judgment of an artwork’s quality, the attribution to an artist, and the question whether the art work is an original or a copy, it becomes apparent that connoisseurial practices still play a remarkable role in art historical endeavors. This can be demonstrated with a look at the contributions, which are bringing together and reflecting both historical and current connoisseurial practices. 

Key words: Connoisseurship, practices, comparing, judging, practice theory, methodology 

Peter Bell (Friedrich Alexander Universität, Erlangen-Nürnberg) and Fabian Offert (University of California, Santa Barbara),  ‘Reflections on connoisseurship and computer vision’ 24/BO1


Abstract: In digital art history, with the help of machine learning, connoisseurship is modelled as learning from examples. We show how this approach can lead to successful operationalisations of connoisseurial concepts on the one hand, and how it raises significant phenomenological and epistemological questions on the other.

Key words:digital humanities, digital connoisseurship, machine learning

Elvira Bojilova (Villa I Tatti), ‘The “value of drawing” and the “method of vision”. How formalism and connoisseurship shaped the aesthetic of the sketch 24/EB1


Abstract: This essay explores how connoisseurship and formalism from the late nineteenth until the middle of the twentieth centuries contributed to the study of drawing that characterised and shaped sketches as a particular subgenre. By focusing on reoccurring and recontextualised expressions, phrases, and notions used by Heinrich Wölfflin, Bernard Berenson, Max Friedländer, and Bernhard Degenhart, I will argue how drawings were either used to describe painting as a stepping stone for an epochal style or as a quasi-semiotic and graphological approach toward the genre that, in turn, favoured a specific aesthetic ascribed to the artist’s assumed personality. Moreover, the two genres were tied to a set of vocabulary that highlighted both their individual function and aesthetic, yet unfolded a methodologically problematic narrative.

Keywords: history of drawing, Florentine drawings, Renaissance, Baroque, aesthetics, sketch, methodology, language of art history

Thomas Ketelsen (Klassik Stiftung, Weimar) in cooperation with Uwe Golle (Klassik Stiftung, Weimar) , ‘Digital images and art historical knowledge: Connoisseurship today between “top-down design” and “bottom-up’ capabilities”’ 24/KG1


Abstract: It is yet unknown if, in the foreseeable future, thanks to rapid increases in artificial intelligence capabilities, databases will take over standard tasks of art historians, such as the stylistic classification of drawings into centuries and schools and the attribution of works to specific artists. However, the digital availability of an almost unimaginably huge volume of pictorial material has already led to major changes in art historical work with Old Master drawings. In an initial step, this paper proposes using the terms ‘top-down design’ and ‘bottom-up processes’, borrowed from the book The Evolution of Minds by American philosopher Daniel C. Dennett, to describe the re-positioning of the concept of connoisseurship in light of the digitisation of nearly all collections of drawings in the world. A second step highlights the particular insights that a digital approach to the object can generate in terms of the materiality of the drawing, which will make it necessary to modify the traditional concept of connoisseurship and art historical expertise.

Keywords: attributions, digitisation, materiality, technical aids

Valérie Kobi (Universität Hamburg), ‘On spectacles and magnifying glasses: the connoisseur in action’ 24/KB1


Abstract: The development of optical devices in the course of the seventeenth century had a profound impact on the history of science, leading disciplines such as physics, astronomy, and biology to a major experimental and visual revolution. The introduction of such instruments in the field of connoisseurship has, strangely enough, attracted less scholarly attention. Yet, as Watteau’s famous Enseigne de Gersaint (1720) testifies, the practice of looking through a lens to scrutinise artworks was already well-established at the beginning of the eighteenth century and considered an important tool of expertise. The present article focuses on the beginning of this tradition, aiming to examine the changes it generated in the reception of artworks as well as to explore its repercussions on early modern art theory. In this context, the role played by vision aids in the art expert’s discourse will be a part

Keywords: optical devices, connoisseurship, vision aids, Jean-Antoine Watteau

Historic libraries and the historiography of art. Guest-edited by Jeanne-Marie Musto

Jeanne-Marie Musto (Independent), Introduction: ‘Historic libraries and the historiography of art’: articles arising from sessions held at the 107th College Art Association Annual Conference, New York, 13-16 February 2019, and the 108th College Art Association Annual Conference, Chicago, 12-15 February 2020  24/KM1


Abstract: How libraries have shaped the writing and reception of art history and criticism was explored in two sessions held at the College Art Association’s 2019 and 2020 annual conferences. The papers, revised and presented in the following pages, employ a range of methodologies to analyse key collections of books, prints and manuscripts. In so doing, their authors shed new light on the collections’ creation, organisation, and use. At the same time, the authors demonstrate that libraries constitute underutilized but vital resources for understanding the social, intellectual, and geo-political frameworks that have informed the development of art history as a discipline.

Key words: libraries, art historiography,  College Art Association, history of books, history of collections

Claire Dupin de Beyssat (INHA Paris), ‘Tracing the public of the first Parisian library for art and archaeology: on the readership at Doucet’s library (1910-1914)‘ 24/CDB1


Abstract: In 1909, the grand couturier Jacques Doucet opened a library dedicated to art history and archaeology. Soon this library, although the result of a private initiative, gained a reputation for scholarly depth and utility, reflected in its reader’s register. The nearly 1,500 individual registration cards that survive from its early years provide documentation of the public that patronized the first art history library in France. Geolocation of the individual readers provides information on their socio-cultural backgrounds, while network analysis reveals personal and institutional relationships between the library and other institutions such as museums, libraries and universities. A more precise focus on selected readers helps to establish a prosopography that establishes their proximity or heterogeneity. This paper aims to demonstrate the unique role of this institution in the scientific and institutional landscape, both national and international, at a time when art history was emerging as a scientific field.

Key words: art historiography, library history, Jacques Doucet, networks, readership, prosopography, Paris, social history, institutions

Katie Lissamore (National Gallery, London) and Jonathan Franklin (National Gallery, London), ‘Art history scholarship between the 1820s and 1870s: contextualising the Eastlake library at the National Gallery, London’ 24/KL1


Abstract: Sir Charles Lock Eastlake (1793-1865), the first Director of the National Gallery in London, was a figure of crucial significance in the shaping of art historical understanding in Britain between the 1820s and 1860s. His library, consisting of approximately 2,000 volumes, reflects his interests in the fields of attribution, provenance and the history of artistic techniques. This paper contextualises the Eastlake library by comparing its contents to the Catalogo ragionato dei libri d’arte e d’antichità posseduti dal conte Cicognara (1821), a watershed art bibliography. Eastlake’s library demonstrates his pragmatic and diligent approach to his work and echoes how Leopoldo Cicognara (1767-1834) constructed his collection.  The comparative approach sheds light on how these collections intersected on a scholarly level and underlines points of divergence as they developed according to their owner’s aims. It is also hoped that this comparative approach will be applied to other collections, as mentioned within the article.

Key Words: Eastlake, Cicognara, libraries, bibliography, catalogues, National Gallery

Susan M. Dixon (La Salle University, Philadelphia), ‘Rodolfo Lanciani’s revenge’ 24/SD1


Abstract: Among the Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana’s manuscripts are the notes that Rodolfo Lanciani (1845–1929) created while serving in the state archaeological service in Rome from 1871 to 1889. Given that during this time, many discoveries about ancient Roman monuments and topography were made and then destroyed, his on-site notes and sketches contain irreplaceable information. Because Lanciani felt his state employer had disrespected him, the archaeologist retained the notes in his personal possession for nearly all his life, refusing to cede them to the state archives. Instead, just before his death, he donated them to the Vatican library. This article explores the personal and historical circumstances that led Lanciani to this decision, one which has allowed scholars of ancient Rome’s built environment easy access to this invaluable material.

Keywords: Rodolfo Lanciani, 19th-century Italian archaeology, Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana (history), Accademia dei Lincei (history), Forma Urbis Romae

Silvia Massa (Kupferstichkabinett, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin), ‘“Il più bello gabinetto delle stampe che esiste”: a (failed) project for the Ortalli collection of prints at the Biblioteca Palatina in Parma’ 24/SM1


Abstract:After having been valued mainly as conveyors of visual information, prints in nineteenth-century western Europe came to be recognised as works of art. In some cases this led to a reconsideration of the location of print collections in public institutions, but moving them was not always easy. This article reconstructs Paul J. Kristeller’s (failed) project to hand over Ortalli albums of prints from the Biblioteca Palatina to the royal art museum in Parma (1893–1898) by tracing arguments used to support or oppose the relocation. By studying local events in the context of a national plan designed to reorganise print collections following foreign examples, the article shows the extent to which the status of prints and print collections grounded the Palatina director’s opposition to the project, and how this contributed to the preservation of the collection’s historical memory and the shaping of current frameworks of public print collections in Italy.

Keywords: print collections, print rooms, public libraries and museums, Paul J. Kristeller, Biblioteca Palatina, Parma

Jesse Feiman (Massachusetts Institute of Technology), ‘The natural history of art: Adam von Bartsch and the taxonomic classification of prints’ 24/JF1


Abstract: The taxonomic arrangement Adam von Bartsch (1757-1821) devised for the print cabinet at the Imperial Court Library in Vienna fostered the historical analysis of prints by compelling visitors to associate the location of each print impression with the circumstance of its creation. His organizational system facilitated research by placing prints in a rational order. Similar to Linnaean classification, the rigid structure of Bartsch’s system described the relationships between prints, specifically their attributions and their creators’ places in a national tradition. By engaging with Bartsch’s taxonomy, the scholars and collectors who visited the Imperial Library absorbed his ideas about authorship, historical development, and national identity.

Key Words:prints, history, library, classification, taxonomy, authorship, connoisseurship

General articles

Matthew Rampley (Institute of Art History of the Czech Academy of Sciences, Prague), ‘Agency, affect and intention in art history: some observations’ 24/MR1


Abstract: Recent years have seen a notable growth of interest in the operations of affect and agency in art. Works of art are said to have agency, primarily through their impact on the affectivity of the spectator. This turn is an inflection of a wider phenomenon in the humanities, motivated by interest in the theory of affect. Although it has only recently gained visibility, one can trace an art historical interest in affect back to Aby Warburg, whose work emphasised the non-rational, emotional engagement with works of art. This article explores some of the claims that have been made in relation to affect and agency in art, but it also subjects them to critical scrutiny. What does it mean to talk about art having agency? What is its purported significance for art historical inquiry? To what extent does affect theory provide a convincing theoretical basis for the idea of artistic agency? Indeed, what is understood by the idea of agency in such accounts? The article argues that while there are many attested historical cases in which works of art are said to act as if they were agents, these have to be understood in terms of culturally framed attributions of agency, rather than a general theory of affect, which may have a purely tangential significance for art historical analysis.

Key words: Aby Warburg, Alfred Gell, David Freedberg, Griselda Pollock, Horst Bredekamp, agency, affect, emotion, feelings, anthropology, pathos formula

Raphael Rosenberg (University of Vienna), ‘Delineating the history of art literature by genre:
Julius von Schlosser revisited24/RR1


Abstract: Julius von Schlosser’s Die Kunstliteratur (1924) is a monumental handbook that has been used by generations of art historians. The present paper provides the first systematic analysis of its genesis alongside Schlosser’s biography from 1891 on – his objectives, his path and his doubts. Schlosser redefined the study of written sources in art history by shifting the focus to literary texts. He distanced himself from the study of archival documents (which tended to serve the histories of individual artworks) and instead sought to gain broader knowledge of the ‘spirit’ of each epoch. Around 1922 he envisioned a more modern ‘theory and history of art historiography’, although nothing ever came of it. The second part of the paper shows that, even before 1924, there were attempts to write histories of art literature with sources organised by literary genres and not, as with Schlosser, according to epochs. It argues that the following categories had a major impact on the artistic discourse in early modern Europe: treatises on the arts, artist biographies, histories of artistic monuments, monographs on single artworks, poetry about artworks, topographical works, collection and exhibition catalogues, and art criticism.

Key words: Julius von Schlosser, Albert Dresdner, art literature, art discourse, art criticism, literary genres, treatises on the arts

G. D. Schott (National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery, London, and Institute of Neurology, UCL), ‘Four colours and the visual separation of adjacent areas: lessons from mapping and ancient paintings’ 24/GDS1


Abstract: That four colours were sufficient to differentiate adjacent countries on a map was a 19th century conjecture which has taken 150 years to prove mathematically.  In a different sphere, and two and a half millennia earlier in Ancient Greece, many painters including Apelles favoured the use of four colours.  A story recounted by Pliny in which three or four colours were used to differentiate thin lines, however, serves to link these seemingly disparate observations of the mathematical and the artistic.  Furthermore, the use of such few colours to achieve differentiation of adjacent areas can thus be seen to date back to classical times, if not beyond.  

Key words: four colours, visual separation, mapping, ancient paintings


Karl Johns (Independent), ‘Sidelight on an unwilling grey eminence – Schlosser as “Schlüsselfigur”’. A paper originally presented at the conference Viennese Art Historiography 1854-1938, University of Glasgow, 1-4 October 2009. 24/KJ2


Abstract: While Riegl, Dvořák, Sedlmayr and Pächt have each of them aroused widespread enthusiasm at one point or another, the same cannot be said of Julius Schlosser (1866-1938). To speak in general terms about his intellectual trajectory and its significance, one meets two questions, the first rather obvious, and the other quite opaque. Although he wrote and lectured in a style that was difficult, his arguments were consistent and perhaps predictable – a continuation of Wickhoff’s approach, and the principles upheld by the Institut für Geschichtsforschung, as well as something later called structure and system, which is most apparent today in his thoughts about what he called the language and grammar of art, but also in his study from 1889 of the original architectural layout of western European abbeys which is a very early example of a functional analysis. In the last decade or two of his life he seems by contrast to have made some generalizations apparently difficult to reconcile with his earlier devotion to the particularity of historical sources.

Key words: Julius von Schlosser, Institut für Geschichtsforschung, Vienna School of art historians, Franz Wickhoff, Kunstgeschichtliche Anzeigen, Kunsthistorisches Museum, Cimabue, Kunstsprache, the language of art, Anschluß

Stepan Vaneyan (Lomonosov Moscow State University), ‘”Wien oder Salzburg?”: late Sedlmayr as a symptom and cure’ 24/SV1


Abstract: The collapse of the Austro-Hungarian Empire in 1918 accelerated the ‘atomization’ of the Vienna School of Art History, which had started with the discussion ‘Orient oder Rom’. This process eventually resulted in the interdisciplinary of ‘The New Vienna School of Art History’, where Sedlmayr was one of the central figures. His scheme of four-level interpretation of works of art, in which the eschatological level is also considered, can be applied to his own work. This allows for the better understanding of both his method and the logic of his writings as whole entities.  Considering the importance of ‘ruins’ for Sedlmayr, the author pays special attention to his text on preservation of monuments, ‘Die demolierte Schönheit…’ (1965), created in Salzburg, a cultural-historical parallel to Vienna, where Sedlmayr spent the last twenty years of his life.

Key words: Sedlmayr’s last work, Dvořák, ‘The New Vienna School of Art History’, ruins, preservation of monuments


Ricardo De Mambro Santos (Willamette University (Salem, Oregon),‘Square plans for a circular journey: remarks on the “decolonial” critique of art history’. Review of: Carolin Overhoff Ferreira, Decolonial Introduction to the Theory, History and Criticism of the Arts,, 2019, ISBN 9780244195182 paperback, ISBN 9780244795177 e-book, 356 pages, 93 b/w ill. 24/RdMS


Abstract: The volume explores the Eurocentrism that has characterised practices and discourses related to Western art phenomena from the sixteenth to the twenty-first century, examining the critical, aesthetic and ideological implications of such a pervasively Eurocentric horizon of references. Through the adoption of alternative parameters of interpretation, like the concepts of ‘third space’ and ‘a-historicity’, the book aims to promote a ‘decolonial perspective’ in the study of art, reassessing well-consolidated narratives that reflect, first and foremost, a hegemonic cultural system directly derived from Europe-centered experiences both in the production as well as in the analysis of artworks.

Key words: decolonial critique, art criticism, deconstruction and art theory, historiography of art, Brazilian art and visual culture

Cathleen Hoeniger (Queens University, Canada), The art history and methodology of Millard Meiss and the question of his lukewarm reception in Italy’. Review of: Jennifer Cooke, Millard Meiss, American Art History, and Conservation: From Connoisseurship to Iconology and Kulturgeschichte, New York and London: Routledge, 2021, 219 pp., 11 b. & w. illus., ISBN 978-0-367-13834-9 24/CH1


Abstract: This book review focuses on Jennifer Cooke’s careful and incisive analysis of the different methodological approaches adopted by Millard Meiss in his art-historical writing. Her extensive research in Meiss’s personal letters allows for an intimate portrait of his scholarly interactions, including over thirty years of correspondence with Erwin Panofsky. The originality and importance of Cooke’s perspective on the reception of Meiss’s work in Italy is acknowledged, but it is also suggested that a fully balanced appraisal would have to include the profound influence Meiss had in North America.

Key Words: Millard Meiss, Erwin Panofsky, Bernard Berenson, Trecento, connoisseurship, iconography, technical art history, Leonetto Tintori, Roberto Longhi, Black Death, Francesco Traini, Giotto, Duccio, Hayden Maginnis, Jennifer Cooke

Karl Johns (Independent), ‘Julius Schlosser breaks yet another barrier’. Review of: Julius von Schlosser, Art and Curiosity Cabinets of the Late Renaissance: A Contribution to the History of Collecting, edited by Thomas DaCosta Kaufmann, translation by Jonathan Blower, Los Angeles: Getty Research Institute, 2021, 222 pp., 7 colour and 103 b/w illustrations, 1 line drawing, paperback US $65.00, UK £55.00, ISBN 978-1-60606-665-2.  24/KJ1


Abstract: This is the first book by Julius Schlosser to appear in English. Written in 1907, it offers an excellent translation of a text that is unusually difficult in many ways. It documents the history of collecting in the era before the first art museums, before the definitions of art we are familiar with, and is based on his work as curator of the Ambras collection then in Vienna and now largely reinstalled in the castle near Innsbruck. It gives insight into one aspect of Schlosser’s early work, but not yet into the better known methodological and theoretical issues that occupied him later.

Key words: museums history, museums bibliography, art collecting, Habsburg art collecting, KunstkammerKunstschrank, art and magic, amulet, art and superstition, early musical instruments

Matilde Mateo (Syracuse University), ‘A fresh look at Spain: urban views through foreign and domestic gazes (16th-19th centuries)’. Review of: Imago Urbis. Las ciudades españolas vistas por los viajeros (siglos XVI-XIX), Luis Sazatornil Ruiz and Vidal de la Madrid Álvarez (eds), Gijón (Asturias): Ediciones Trea and Museo de Bellas Artes de Asturias, 2019, 694pp., 412 col. Illus., €60.00 pbk ISBN 978-84-17987-45-9. 24/MM1


Abstract: This richly illustrated publication examines urban views of Spanish cities by Spanish and European travellers, from the 16th century to the 19th century. It was published in conjunction with an exhibition at the Museo de Bellas Artes de Asturias, Spain, in 2019 and consists of three introductory essays and a catalogue. The essays examine the specific problems of the illustrated book, a historical survey that provides an unifying narrative for the pieces in the catalogue, and a short history of urban views of Spanish cities in the early modern period. The catalogue entries are substantial, rigorous, updated and remarkably well illustrated. The ambitious time span, number of geographical areas covered, and variety of nationalities of the travellers, set Imago Urbis apart from previous studies, which are generally limited to a specific region, period, artist or nationality of the representations, thereby providing a unique, comprehensive, and cohesive study which is poised to become a fundamental source of information on the topic.

Key words: Image of Spain, travellers in Spain, urban views, illustrated books, Spanish cities

Robert Nelson (Yale), ‘Byzantium in Brno: joining an Eastern and Western Middle Ages’. Review of: Byzantium or democracy?  Kondakov’s legacy in emigration: the Institutum Kondakovianum and Andre Grabar, 1925-1952 by Ivan Foletti and Adrien Palladino, Rome: Viella, Brno: Masaryk University Press, 2020, 211pp, 381 b. & w. illus.  € 25.00 ISBN 9788833134963 24/RN1


Abstract: This book writes the history of a short-lived attempt to create in Prague a home for Byzantine art historians and historians exiled from Russia after the 1917 Revolution.   Named after the distinguished Russian art historian, N. P. Kondakov, the Institutum Kondakovianum had a research library, art collection, a journal, the Seminarium Kondakovianum for Russian, Byzantine, and Migration art, as well as a monograph series that published a book by André Grabar.  He was a student of Kondakov in Russia and the future professor at the Collège de France.  Byzantium or democracy examines the history of the institute from the 1920s until its demise in the early 1950s and juxtaposes to it Grabar’s career in France during the same period, both little studied.

Key words: N. P. Kondakov, Institutum Kondakovianum, Seminarium Kondakovianum, André Grabar, Byzantine art

Eva Pluhařová-Grigienė (Europa-Universität Flensburg, Germany), ‘Unearthing the legacies of art historiography during the Post-War decades’. Review of: A Socialist Realist History? Writing Art History in the Post-War Decades edited by Krista Kodres, Kristina Jõekalda, Michaela Marek, Wien, Köln, Weimar: Böhlau Verlag, 2019, 279 pp., 35 b/w illustrations, ISBN 978-3-412-51161-6 (=Robert Born, Michaela Marek, Ada Raev: Das östliche Europa: Kunst und Kulturgeschichte, vol. 9)  24/EPG1


Abstract: A Socialist Realist History? Writing Art History in the Post-War Decades, edited by Krista Kodres, Kristina Jõekalda, and the late Michaela Marek, is of definitive interest to art historians and scholars of intellectual history of Europe for giving insight into the diverse ways in which art and architectural historians  across socialist Central and Eastern Europe engaged with Marxism-Leninism. The wide-ranging contributions reveal that even during Stalinism the discourse on Socialist art history was never static. Slow to modernize during the ensuing Thaw, this discourse evolved in diverse ways within different academic environments. The book makes a highly valuable contribution to the study of art historiography in socialist Europe, deepening our understanding of the complexity and processuality of the discipline’s development, and underlining the need for further in-depth studies. Apart from its interest to art historians, the contributions clearly express the need for a thorough revision of how deeply contemporary art historical research has been shaped by the socialist legacy, particularly with regard to less obvious path dependencies such as methodological approaches.

Key words: Post-war, Thaw, Socialism, Marxism-Leninism, East Central Europe, Socialist-Realism

József Sisa (University of Pécs), ‘Ludwig Hevesi and art in fin-de-siècle Vienna’. Review of: Ilona Sármány-Parsons, Bécs művészeti élete Ferenc József korában, ahogy Hevesi Lajos látta [The artistic life in Vienna in Franz Joseph’s time, as seen by Lajos Hevesi]. Budapest: Balassi Kiadó, 2019, 472 pp, 336 col. and b. & w. illus., bibliography, index, HUF 6,900 hdbk, ISBN 978-963-456-057-9. 24/JS1


Abstract: Following a biographical outline of Ludwig Hevesi’s career, the volume chronicles the exhibition life of Vienna from the 1870s to 1910 with the help of Hevesi’s art criticism feuilletons examined in strict chronological order. His critiques are contextualized in contemporary art journalism, confronting his views with those of his colleagues (e.g. Albert Ilg, Franz Adalbert Seligmann, Hermann Bahr, Franz Servaes or occasionally Karl Kraus). Apart from the reconstruction of the permanently changing individual styles of the painters, new light is cast on the social network of the artistic sphere, sponsorship and the art market from the 1890s onwards. The decisive role of Hevesi in assisting the breakthrough of the Viennese Secession and in shaping the Austrian Canon in painting is demonstrated with an abundance of quotations from contemporary sources.

Key words: modern art, nineteenth century, art and society, art criticism, art exhibitions, art patronage in Vienna, Secession in Vienna, Ludwig Hevesi, art critic

Arnold Witte (University of Amsterdam), ‘The fringes in and of art historiography in post-1945 Europe’. Review of: Noemi de Haro García, Patricia Mayayo and Jesús Carrillo (eds.), Making Art History in Europe after 1945, New York/London: Routledge, 2020. ISBN 978-0-8153-9379-6. (Hardback) £ 120; ISBN 9781351187596 (eBook) £ 33.29  24/AW1


Abstract: The volume under review here investigates how politics in post-1945 Europe affected the academic, critical and political discourses on art. It focuses specifically (but not exclusively) on the fringes of the continent: the eastern and southern regions, thus highlighting the role played by the discipline of art history in former Communist countries and erstwhile military (fascist) regimes. The volume also sets out to expand upon the sources of art historiography by tying into the current strand of research on the exhibitionary complex, and by discussing cultural policies and art criticism. The result is an intellectual journey through time and geopolitical space, and across disciplines. Although the volume sets a new agenda in decentralising the approach of art historiography by shifting the focus from a regional to a geopolitical perspective, it has failed to convincingly fill this gap, largely because of the inclusion of criticism and cultural policy, inevitably leading to a fragmented and, at times, superficial view of how politics influences the discourse on the arts.

Key words: Cold war historiography, Eastern Europe, Southern Europe, communism, military regimes, geopolitics, cultural policy, art criticism

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