Author Archives: editorarthistoriography

About editorarthistoriography

Editor of the Journal of Art Historiography. Emeritus Professor and Honorary Senior Research Fellow in the Department of the History of Art, University of Birmingham.

Hans Christian Hönes, Review of Matthias Krüger, Léa Kuhn, Ulrich Pfisterer (Eds): Pro Domo. Kunstgeschichte in eigener Sache

Authority and Authenticity in Art Writing      

Hans Christian Hönes (Aberdeen) 29/HCH1

Review of:

Matthias Krüger, Léa Kuhn, Ulrich Pfisterer (Eds): Pro Domo. Kunstgeschichte in eigener Sache, Paderborn: Brill Fink 2021. ISBN: 978-3-8467-6506-7, 405 p., €73.83.

Abstract: The review discusses the edited volume Pro Domo. Kunstgeschichte in eigener Sache. The volume aims to analyse systematically an understudied sub-genre of art writing: texts that were written by confidantes of the artists, thus suggesting a specific authority and authenticity as they claim to have ‘in-house’ knowledge of the master’s mind. The review situates the volume’s concept and approach within recent discussions on subjectivity in art writing.

Keywords: artist biographies, fandom, canonicity, anecdotes, life writing





ToC Error of omission

Barbara Steindl (Kunsthistorisches Institut in Florenz, Max-Planck-Institut), ‘Cicognara’s views on fifteenth-century sculpture in light of his art library’ 27/BS1

Abstract: Leopoldo Cicognara’s (1767-1834) Storia della scultura (Venice, 1813-18; second edition, Prato, 1823-24) is a stylistic history of Italian sculpture from the 14th century to his own time, culminating with Antonio Canova. In writing and then revising his survey, Cicognara relied on the art literature that he collected in his own rich library, as well as on direct knowledge of the works – both essential elements for stylistic classification.

Cicognara divided his history into five epochs. This paper focuses on the second epoch (incremento/progresso), i.e., on sculpture of the 15th century, in order to demonstrate how Cicognara’s specific working method not only enabled him to correct incorrect dating but also to create the first consistent inventory of Italian sculpture. In the process, he established a canon of works which remains valid today. In the chapter on Venetian sculpture, moreover, it becomes clear how much his interest in art history was an expression of his civic, political and cultural commitment.

Keywords: Leopoldo Cicognara, Storia della scultura, art library, methodology, chronology, inventory, art conservation

Maartje Stols-Witlox, Review of Matthew Hayes, The Renaissance Restored. Paintings Conservation and the Birth of Modern Art History in nineteenth-century Europe

Changing images: reciprocity between nineteenth-century paintings conservation and art history

Maartje Stols-Witlox (University of Amsterdam) 27/MSW1

Review of:

Matthew Hayes, The Renaissance Restored. Paintings Conservation and the Birth of Modern Art History in nineteenth-century Europe, Los Angeles: Getty Conservation Institute, 2021, 208 pp., USD 65,00, ISBN 9781606066966 (paperback).

Abstract: Matthew Hayes’ volume examines the influence of nineteenth-century scholarship on the activities of contemporary paintings restorers, and, vice-versa, investigates how the visual effects of conservation treatments impacted contemporary scholarship. This reciprocal relationship is explored in four case studies, two situated in Italy (Giottesque frescoes and paintings by Titian), on in the United Kingdom (National Gallery London) and one in Germany (the Berlin museums). Hayes focuses on the treatment of paintings from the Renaissance, a period that knew strong interest from nineteenth-century scholars. He weaves together historical archival material (personal notes, correspondence, restoration records, historical photographs, etc.) and period texts (a.o. by Jacob Burckhardt, G.B. Cavalcaselle, Joseph Crowe), into a rich and accessible account, interspersed with examples of historical restoration treatments of well-known paintings and with restorer biographies. The resulting volume provides an entertaining and very accessible entry into the topic, whether the reader comes from (art) history or has a background in conservation.

Key words: conservation history, Italian Renaissance, art historiography, nineteenth century, Giotto, Titian, Charles Eastlake, Wilhelm Bode, Aloïs Hauser Jr., Jacob Burckhardt, G.B. Cavalcaselle, Joseph Crowe

Preview the book’s illustrations here.

Birgit Hopfener, Review of Eva Kernbauer’s Art, History, and Anachronic Interventions Since 1990

Art that explores history: Reconceptualizing contemporary art’s historicity in the global framework

Birgit Hopfener (Carleton University, Canada) 27/BH1

Review of:

Eva Kernbauer, Art, History, and Anachronic Interventions Since 1990, New York City: Routledge, 2022. 260 pp., 53 colour ills, ISBN 9780367763251, Open Access, hbk £120.00

Abstract: Eva Kernbauer’s book Art, History, and Anachronic Interventions Since 1990 argues that contemporary artistic historiographies can potentially help us to reconceptualize historiography and to rethink contemporary art’s historicity. Based on thorough analyses of historical and contemporary discourses of how art has been understood as contributing to historiography and philosophies of history, her analyses of artistic historiographies are not only about uncovering previously unknown histories and archives, but about theoretical reflections on history, history writing and time. This review summarizes Kernbauer’s key arguments, discusses her theoretical approach and the insights the book offers into (artistic) historiography and global art history methodology.

Keywords: artistic historiography, anachrony, anachronic, critique of historicism, global, hetero-temporal, historiography, historiographical turn, Time and temporality

Eva-Maria Troelenberg, Review of Dolezalek and Guidetti’s Rediscovering Objects from Islamic Lands in Enlightenment Europe

Rediscovering objects from Islamic Lands in Enlightenment Europe

Review of:

Rediscovering Objects from Islamic Lands in Enlightenment Europe, ed. by Isabelle Dolezalek and Mattia Guidetti, Studies in Art Historiography, New York and London: Routledge 2022, 188pp, 53 B/W Illustrations, £120, ISBN 9780367609474.

Eva-Maria Troelenberg (Heinrich-Heine-Universität Düsseldorf) 27/EMT1

Abstract: This article is a review of the volume Rediscovering Objects from Islamic Lands in Enlightenment Europe, edited by Isabelle Dolezalek and Mattia Guidetti. The volume claims to shed new light on an underestimated chapter in the historiography of the arts of Islam, particularly in their relation to Europe. The volume argues that advanced professionalization and scholarly network-building during the eighteenth century have led to important developments which were ground-breaking for the discipline of Islamic art history in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. The review follows the six object-led chapters of the book and concludes by placing its claim within a larger historiography of the arts of Islam.

Keywords: Islamic art, historiography, Enlightenment Europe, Orientalism, material culture

Karl Johns, Review of Julius von Schlosser (1866-1938)

Schlosser redivus

Review of:

Julius von Schlosser (1866-1938) Wiener Jahrbuch für Kunstgeschichte, vol, 66, 2021. 232 pp., 80 ills, Vienna: Böhlau Verlag, 70,00 €, ISBN: 978-3-205-21443-4

Karl Johns (Independent) 27/KJ1

Abstract: Julius von Schlosser (1866-1938), Commemorative volume of the Wiener Jahrbuch für Kunstgeschichte (vol. 60, 2021) including 13 lectures devoted to the work of Julius Schlosser. The subjects are treated concretely, without academic ‘discourse’, illustrating the generational span and antithesis of a relatively prolific career spent between the museum and university during a period important in defining the goals of the discipline.

Key words: The “Literature of Art” – Kunstliteratur, Medieval and Renaissance sculpture, museum administration, Neo-Idealism, formalism, Naturalism in art, artistic insularity, Aby Warburg, Alois Riegl, Ernst Gombrich, Otto Kurz, Benedetto Croce

Cover image © Böhlau

Rafael Cardoso, Review of Partha Mitter et al., 20th Century Indian Art: Modern, Post-Independence, Contemporary

Towards a truly global art history

Review of:

20th Century Indian Art: Modern, Post-Independence, Contemporary by Partha Mitter, Parul Dave Mukherji, Rakhee Balaram,London: Thames and Hudson 2022, 744 pp., heavily illustrated, £85.00, ISBN-10: ‎ 0500023328, ISBN-13: ‎ 978-0500023327

Rafael Cardoso (Universidade do Estado do Rio de Janeiro) 27/RC1

Abstract: The present review of 20th Century Indian Art focuses on the book’s contribution to debates around ‘global art history’ and ‘world art studies’. What methodological breakthroughs can be gained from the comparative study of regions outside Europe and the USA? Issues such as hybridity and syncretism, primitivism and folk art, nationalism and regional identities, authenticity and derivativeness, belatedness and modernization, are common to discussions of art history in various contexts traditionally regarded as peripheral or marginal. Inverting the vantage point of historical analysis, and examining them from the position of the formerly colonized, undermines established categories and generates novel insights. Such shifts in perspective tend to inflect differently, and may even alter radically, the understanding of terms like primitivism, Orientalism and even art and craft. The article underscores the importance of rethinking commonly held presumptions about dislocation, appropriation, precedence, deviation. Only when art historians can look at the discipline from a multiplicity of cultural and geographical perspectives will it be possible to establish a truly global art history.

Key words: Indian art, 20th-century art, global art history, world art studies, transculturation, decolonization

Jae Emerling, Review of Annamaria Ducci’s, Henri Focillon en son temps. La liberté des forms

Relays, signals, actuality:  a return to Focillon

Review of:

Annamaria Ducci, Henri Focillon en son temps. La liberté des forms, Strasbourg: Presses Universitaires de Strasbourg, 2021, 391 pp., 20 col. plates, 10 b. & w. illus, 26,00 €, ISBN 979-10-344-0079-9.

Jae Emerling (University of North Carolina, Charlotte) 27/JE1

Abstract:  A review-essay on Annamaria Ducci’s intellectual biography Henri Focillon en son temps. La liberté des forms (2021) that extends this work by presenting a call for a ‘return to Focillon’ within art historical thought that begins with his ability to refocus us on the artwork itself and its capabilities to magnetize content both within and without its historical milieu.  Focillon’s real interest in the concept of a milieu and in the artwork’s ability to escape this originary context instigates a rethinking of the ontology, historiography, and the temporality of art.  He challenges us to think and write through problematics, to experiment with both aesthetic agency and historical reception; to create new linkages between art and life, history and becoming, along the ἀκμή of the vie des formes—thus conceiving an artwork as a past-future event, as a ‘great ensemble’. Focillon posits that if the work of art is an event, then history is a modulated and controlled form of time as such, which itself is an actual-virtual movement or ‘becoming’.  Ontologically art ‘goes further than…illustrate history’, he argues, which is why art historians must learn to encounter ‘modalities of life’ in order to write about how it creates ‘worlds’.  Our ‘return to Focillon’ takes place within a threshold wherein the event of art is what matters most, that is, the capacities of a given formal property to harness and magnetize forces within and outside of itself in order to render humanist and post-humanist forces perceptible, sensible, and thinkable. 

Keywords: Henri Focillon, Walter Benjamin, Gilles Deleuze, historiography, aesthetics, formalism, art history, temporality, George Kubler, modernism, affect, agency

Shana Cooperstein, Review of Emmelyn Butterfield-Rosen’s Modern Art & the Remaking of Human Disposition

Historicizing pose: the body in the modern era

Review of:

Emmelyn Butterfield-Rosen, Modern Art & the Remaking of Human Disposition, Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2021, 352pp., $55.00 hdbk, ISBN: 9780226745046, $54.99 pdf & epub, ISBN: 9780226745183.

Shana Cooperstein (Anne Arundel Community College) 27/SC1

Abstract: By the end of the nineteenth century, artists across Europe revived archaic modes of posing the body. This review assesses recent scholarship by Emmelyn Butterfield-Rosen on the subject of posture and its relationship to psychology in European modernism.

Key words: European art, European modernism, history of evolutionary biology, history of psychology, pose, posture, disposition, Georges Seurat, Gustav Klimt, Vaslav Nijinsky