Immagini e parole, a new Italian collection of essays by E.H. Gombrich, brings a significant contribution to a seventy-year long debate in Italy and abroad
Immagini e parole by Ernst H. Gombrich, edited by Lucio Biasiori, Roma: Carocci Editore, collana “Saggi”, 2019, 224 p., 73 b. & w. illus., 20.40 €, ISBN 9788843086115
Giuseppe Barbieri (Ca’ Foscari University of Venice) 21/GB1
Abstract: This Italian edition of a collection of essays (hitherto unpublished in Italian) by E.H. Gombrich allows us to rethink the connection between words and pictures from a sensibly different perspective from the discussions of the early 2000s. The focus is neither on the insurmountable conflict between the now prevailing visual code and the verbal one, nor on the pictorial and iconic turns: Gombrich invites us to re-examine this relationship starting from history and art history. In Italy, this perspective has remained marginal until the emergence of “micro-history” in art, accompanied by a series of exhibitions that focused no longer on the artist but rather on the context. A perspective that deserves to be rediscovered…
Key words: E.H. Gombrich, interdisciplinarity, focus on context, words and pictures, visual syntax
Emilie Oleron (Paris III/CNRS) : Transposing the Zeitgeist : Nikolaus Pevsner between Kunstgeschichte and Art History
Throughout his career, the German-born art historian Nikolaus Pevsner (1902-1983) attempted to elevate the history of art and the history of architecture to the status of academic disciplines in Britain, the country to which he emigrated in 1933. His theoretical approach, centred around the study of the links between artistic forms, national characters and the concept of Zeitgeist, informed the historical language that he gradually caused to spread in the United Kingdom. It is possible to regard Pevsner’s body of work as a continuation of reflections that started in Germany and to observe in it both specificities of aspects of the German-speaking history of art, isolated from their context of origin, and transformations of the vocabulary and the language of the discipline due to this change of place.
Richard Woodfield (Université de Birmingham) : Ernst Gombrich. A Viennese Art historian in London
Ernst Gombrich was, arguably, the most famous art historian of the twentieth-century. However, not only did he have no school his work had little or no impact on the daily practice of Anglophone art history, except to validate the intellectual respectability of the discipline within the British university community. Most significantly his key works were misunderstood or misrecognised. His employment at the Warburg Institute and the fame of his Story of Art created a situation where he could freely pursue problems he inherited from the Wiener Schule, Panofsky and Warburg. He was never, in the Kuhnian sense, a « normal » art historian. He was a « commentator » in the sense of the contributors to Kunstgeschichtliche Anzeigen and Kritische Berichte. In the Anglophone world he was one of its most distinguished outsiders.
Professor Woodfield’s presentation will be based on the following material: http://academia.edu/255819/Richard_Woodfield_Ernst_Gombrich_and_the_problem_of_being_a_Viennese_art_historian_in_London