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.
Recent and Upcoming Publications
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, 2020
Carlo Cesare Malvasia’s Felsina pittrice: Lives of the Bolognese Painters, Volume 9, Life of Guido Reni, 2 volumes
Edited by Elizabeth Cropper and Lorenzo Pericolo; Critical Edition, Translation, and Essay by Lorenzo Pericolo; Historical Notes by Lorenzo Pericolo, with Elizabeth Cropper, Stefan Albl, Mattia Biffis, and Elise Ferone; Corpus of Illustrations established by Lorenzo Pericolo, with Mattia Biffis and Elise Ferone
Celebrated by Malvasia as the creator and promoter of the new maniera moderna, Guido Reni (1575–1642) introduces the fourth age of painting: a period marked by an original and sometimes bold elaboration of the notion of artistic perfection developed by the Carracci and embodied more specifically by Ludovico’s "synthesis of styles." Art in Italy could have declined once again after the deaths of the Carracci, but thanks to Guido and Domenichino, Francesco Albani and Guercino, painting is restored to its full blossoming, and, as a result, the Carracci lesson spreads and triumphs throughout Italy.
In assessing Guido’s role in promoting this artistic vanguard, Malvasia finds himself in a theoretical impasse. On the one hand, he cannot resist his infatuation with Guido’s work. Endowed with spellbinding powers, Guido’s paintings constitute the greatest luxury of modernity insofar as they reflect an endless search for aesthetic refinement and transcendental beauty both in the representation of the human body and in the orchestration of light, color, and impasto. On the other hand, Malvasia balks at embracing Guido’s "last manner." In Malvasia’s eyes, Guido’s final production is both exceedingly sophisticated and tainted by its very sophistication: delicacy verges on feebleness, transcendence coalesces into purposeless abstraction, divine vision engenders incompleteness, and sprezzatura turns into apparent negligence. Furthermore, for Malvasia Guido is both a paragon of virtue and the self-indulgent victim of the gambling demon. With acuity, Malvasia praises Guido the money maker, the self-confident artist able to overhaul the mechanisms of the art market by exponentially increasing the value of painting. And yet, Malvasia cannot help but condemn Guido the money squanderer, the indebted painter who gambles away his reputation and jeopardizes the quality of his sublime output.
Illustrated with numerous color images, these two volumes provide a critical edition and annotated translation of Malvasia’s life of Guido. Based on a radical reassessment of the historical documentation and a profound investigation of Malvasia’s art criticism, these volumes offer the most thorough treatment to date of the artist’s work.
Learn more about the Malvasia Research Project.
This year the Center for Advanced Study in the Visual Arts welcomed fellows from China, Georgia, Italy, Nigeria, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States. The topics of their research ranged from forgery and counterforgery in early modern Chinese art to the fifteenth-century Veronese painter Pisanello, from representations of Napoleon Bonaparte in French visual culture to agency in nineteenth-century Dakhóta art, and from transformation of Iberian images of the Virgin in early colonial Lima to fabric architecture of the imperial court in the late Ottoman empire. Read more
The Center for Advanced Study in the Visual Arts presents the video series Reflections on the Collection: The Edmond J. Safra Visiting Professors at the National Gallery of Art. In this series, Edmond J. Safra Visiting Professors share their unique insights on works of art, selected by each professor, from the National Gallery of Art collection. The presentations that follow are a special opportunity to take a closer look at important works inside gallery spaces with these distinguished professors. Read more
Boundary Trouble: The Self-Taught Artist and American Avant-Gardes
Studies in the History of Art, 84
Edited by Lynne Cooke, forthcoming
The African American Art World in Twentieth-Century Washington, DC
Studies in the History of Art, 83
Edited by Jeffrey Stewart, forthcoming
Seminar Papers, Volume 4
Co-edited by Steven Nelson and Huey Gene Copeland II, forthcoming