The Art Bulletin

The Art Bulletin publishes scholarship in all aspects of art history as practiced in the academy, museums, and other institutions. The Art Bulletin publishes peer-reviewed scholarly articles and reviews in the area of art history.

Articles from Vol. 76, No. 3, September

An Intentional Error? Imperial Art and "Mis"-Interpretation under Andronikos I Komnenos
In 1183 Andronikos Komnenos became emperor of the Byzantine Empire by strangling his young predecessor, Alexios II. He had already ordered Alexios's mother, Maria of Antioch, to be murdered. Andronikos himself was to reign for only two years before being...
Art History Posthistoire
The dilemma between a metaphysics of art and a history of objects has been a continuing preoccupation of art history, a discipline that pretends to insert "the work of art" (a spatial object conceived, and often judged, ahistorically and aesthetically)...
Art, Value, and Market Practices in the Netherlands in the Seventeenth Century
Over the years, there has been a significant, if irregular, flow of studies attempting to situate Netherlands art within its socioeconomic frame.(1) Early efforts were of two sorts, both of which, however, tended to accentuate the view that art, whatever...
Book Reviews -- Compulsive Beauty by Hal Foster
HAL FOSTER, Compulsive Beauty. Cambridge: MIT Press, 1993. 334 pp.; many b/w ills. $30.00What does it mean when an historian looks for a strong explanation, for a ruling metaphor, for a theory powerful enough to pull together an entire movement? What...
Book Reviews -- History and Its Images: Art and the Interpretation of the Past by Francis Haskell
FRANCIS HASKELL, History and Its Images: Art and the Interpretation of the Past. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1993. 558 pp.; 20 color ills., 240 b/w. $50.00The use of history to the art historian is, I suppose, familiar enough to those who work...
Book Reviews -- Masking the Blow: The Scene of Representation in Late Prehistoric Egyptian Art by Whitney Davis
WHITNEY DAVIS, Masking the Blow: The Scene of Representation in Late Prehistoric Egyptian Art. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1992. 316 pp.; 53 b/w ills. $55.00There emerges--from a distant dig, on the market, in a museum basement, out of...
Book Reviews -- Paragons of Virtue: Women and Domesticity in Seventeenth-Century Dutch Art by Wayne E. Franits / Judith Leyster: A Dutch Master and Her World Edited by James A. Welu and Pieter Biesboer
WAYNE E. FRANITS, Paragons of Virtue: Women and Domesticity in Seventeenth-Century Dutch Art. New York: Cambridge University Press, 1993. 271 pp.; 172 b/w ills. $70.00JAMES A. WELU AND PIETER BIESBOER, EDS., Judith Leyster: A Dutch Master and Her World,...
Book Reviews -- Reframing Abstract Expressionism: Subjectivity and Painting in the 1940s by Michael Leja
MICHAEL LEJA, Reframing Abstract Expressionism: Subjectivity and Painting in the 1940s. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1993. 392 pp.; 92 b/w ills. $50.00Almost fifty years after Jackson Pollock first took up a stiffened brush and dented can of Duco...
Book Reviews -- Spiritual Spectacles: Vision and Image in Mid-Nineteenth-Century Shakerism by Sally M. Promey
SALLY M. PROMEY, Spiritual Spectacles: Vision and Image in Mid-Nineteenth-Century Shakerism. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1993. 317 pp.; 5 color ills., 30 b/w. $35.00Recently, a noted scholar, deeply embroiled in a complex argument concerning...
Book Reviews -- the Moment of Self-Portraiture in German Renaissance Art by Joseph Leo Koerner
JOSEPH LEO KOERNER, The Moment of Self-Portraiture in German Renaissance Art. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1993. 564 pp.; 1 color ill., 223 b/w. $60.00This challenging and consequential book explores the realization and reception of Albrecht...
Constable, Duranty, Mallarme, Impressionism, Plein Air, and Forgetting
One of the most revealing documents of nineteenth-century art has come down to us in the form of a photograph (Fig. 1). (Figure 1 omitted) In this photograph we see the sixty-seven-year-old painter Paul Cezanne working in the open air, a practice in...
Context, Visuality, and the Objects of Art History
These have been years in which art history has been struggling to redefine itself. Borrowing from a number of disciplines, it has not really succeeded in finding its own voice. The tensions and confusions have been clear. But in what does the particular...
Different but Compatible Ends
Two sets of impulses have led to what we call now, probably not very accurately, the history of art. One set is the universal human tendency to order and classify whatever is known. Within the immense mass of knowable materials some are artifacts made...
Mattia Preti's Frescoes for the City Gates of Naples
And standing between the dead and the living, he prayed for the people, and the plague ceased.--Numbers 16:48 (1)Then in the most unlucky year 1656, our poor city (fooled by its own confidence) was assassinated by a most fierce plague.... There was no...
Mirror, Death, and Rhetoric: Reading Later Han Chinese Bronze Artifacts
HISTORY AS MIRROR: TROPE AND ARTIFACTThe idea of the mirror was registered on oracle bones and bronzes in ancient China. The ideograph consists of a human figure bending over a container filled with water (Fig. 1). (Figure 1 omitted) Thus the word "mirror"...
Objects Are Nice, but
Objects are nice. I've always liked them, especially dolls. When I was a child I collected dolls, which I regarded as my own children. I treated them accordingly, tucking them in at night, combing their nylon hair with my own comb, dressing them in little...
On the Object
Objects constitute my field. I differentiate my work from the work of literary critics, historians, and philosophers (among others) by my attention to material objects. If devotion to objects has limited the scope and the importance of a field called...
Signifying Identity: Art and Race in Romare Bearden's Projections
In his 1958 essay on the jazz musician Charlie Christian, Ralph Ellison writes:Each true jazz moment...springs from a contest in which each artist challenges all the rest; each solo flight, or improvisation represents (like the successive canvases of...
The Elephant and the Law: The Medieval Jewish Minority Adapts a Christian Motif
(Figures 1-17 omitted)It was in these pages nearly half a century ago that there appeared a study by William S. Heckscher entitled "Bernini's Elephant and Obelisk." Heckscher's contextual reading of the eponymous monument, erected in 1667 on the Piazza...
The Impossible Object?
There is no (single, or upper case) "Object" of art history in any of the immediate senses of: (a) a given and undisputed disciplinary field; (b) a category of artifacts self-evidently constituting the material basis for such a field; or (c) a given...