The Global Reception of Heinrich Wölfflin's Principles of Art History
Studies in the History of Art, Volume 82
Edited by Evonne Levy and Tristan Weddigen, summer 2020
Can the reception of a single, widely disseminated book offer a historical road map for a global art history? This is the question posed by the editors of this volume of essays, which charts the enduring response to the Swiss art historian Heinrich Wölfflin’s Principles of Art History, first published in German in 1915. Translated into 22 languages and still in print in many of them, Wölfflin’s book inaugurated an art history based entirely on “forms of seeing” and employing a comparative method. Many of the translators and transmitters of the text are represented in essays on the book’s readership in Europe, North and South America, and South and East Asia. From its reception, positive and negative, the first genealogy of a global art history emerges.