A Handbook of Italian Renaissance Painting

A Handbook of Italian Renaissance Painting

A Handbook of Italian Renaissance Painting

A Handbook of Italian Renaissance Painting

Excerpt

This book is intended primarily for the intelligent student who is interested in the history of art as a humanistic science rather than in the elementary appreciation of style. It is an attempt to meet the limitations imposed on him in America by circumstance and academic tradition. For, while the importance of art and art history as a field of concentration has long been recognized as a cultural parallel to the study of literature and philosophy as well as political and social problems, its development has been hampered by lack of equipment and clarified purpose.

The old emphasis on connoisseurship is useful primarily to those who know and have continuous access to original works of art. Unfortunately that number is necessarily limited, since in spite of the magnificent private and public collections that have been gathered in America over a fairly recent period of years, the Italian pictures they contain belong to the periphery rather than the core of that artistic tradition. Even in Europe the centuries of raids by conqueror and collector have still left Italy in possession of the major part of its really great and historically significant works, particularly the frescos. Therefore the thorough and continuous acquaintance with them in their original settings, which is so essential to the genuine connoisseur, is restricted, and the understanding more often than not distorted.

The treatment of art history from the point of view of aesthetic principles has its chief value in the discipline of formal analysis. No one would deny the significance of Heinrich Woelfflin's early attempt to achieve a synthesis through that discipline in his famous Die Klassische Kunst (The Art of the Italian Renaissance. New York, 1st ed.1913). The later crystallization of these principles in the Kunstgeschichtliche Grundbegriffe (Principles of Art History. New York, 1932) has produced an isolation of concepts which, when applied to a given historical material, tend to become rules or instruments of aesthetic judgment whose validity is determined by their fitness to a philosophical system rather than historical truth.

In America conditions and aesthetic values are different from those which fostered the Grundbegriffe and related abstractions. This book seeks to present in as brief and concise a form as possible the . . .

Author Advanced search

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.