Art History: A Very Short Introduction
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This clear and concise new introduction examines all the major debates and issues in the field of art history, using a wide range of well-known examples. Dana Arnold also examines the many different ways of writing about art, and the changing boundaries of the subject of art history.
Other topics covered include the canon of art history, the role of the gallery, "blockbuster" exhibitions, the emergence of social histories of art (such as feminist art history or queer art history), and the impact of photography. The development of art history using artifacts such as the altarpiece, the portrait, or pornography to explore social and cultural issues such as consumption, taste, religion, and politics is discussed. And the book also explains how the traditional emphasis on periods and styles originated in western art production and can obscure other approaches.
artworks of antiquity was such that it was considered appropriate for Christian collections, including that owned by the Vatican, to contain images of pagan gods. The pose of Apollo, and indeed many other classical sculptures, has been copied and quoted by many artists, sculptors, painters, and engravers from subsequent generations, and this tells us how classical forms have been re-used and re-interpreted, or even rejected, at various times. The pose is an example of classical contrapposto,
published in 1550, was intended to be a celebration of the genius of Michelangelo Buonarroti – the temperamental sculptor and painter who had stunned early 16th-century Italy with his painted decoration of the Sistine Chapel ceiling (1508–12) and his giant marble sculpture of David (1501–4). Indeed, Michelangelo is the only living artist whose biography appears in the first edition of the Lives. Michelangelo died in 1564 and the second, much better known edition of the Lives appeared in 1568.
similar approach to Winckelmann in his two-volume The Civilisation of Renaissance Italy, which first appeared in German in 1860, but was quickly translated into English. Burckhardt placed the art of the Italian Renaissance firmly in its cultural context to explain its ‘civilizing’ and ‘civic’ qualities. The Civilisation of Renaissance Italy remains a standard work and did much to prompt a revival of interest in this period as well as endorsing the predominant position given to the survival of the
thematic exploration of a subject or as a chronological sequence?’ This also informs my consideration of how ‘blockbuster’ exhibitions have changed the direction of art history, for instance the Post-Impressionism exhibition of 1912 that gave that art movement its name. The relationship between art and thought can be a complex one, and in Chapter 4 I discuss the impact various philosophical schools and psychoanalytic theory have had on the way in which we think about art history and the role,
judgements about aesthetics, and described the way in which he perceived that these judgements underpinned the concept of ‘genius’. A judgement about the quality of an artwork would be made in terms of its beauty and purpose. Kant’s notion that there could be a range of aesthetic tastes, in contrast to Winckelmann’s hierarchical system, also encouraged the view that beautiful objects arouse our sensations in the same way as moral judgements do. In this way, aesthetics and ethics become