Art History: Formation of the Academic Discipline in Europe, and Related Developments in Greece (18Th-19th C.)

By Malama, Annie | Journal of Art Historiography, December 2015 | Go to article overview

Art History: Formation of the Academic Discipline in Europe, and Related Developments in Greece (18Th-19th C.)


Malama, Annie, Journal of Art Historiography


Review of Academic Forum*

Art history: formation of the academic discipline in Europe, and related developments in Greece (18th-19th c.) Rethymnon (3-4 October, 2014)

Annie Malama

The Academic Forum with the title Art history: formation of the academic discipline in Europe and related developments in Greece (18th-19th centuries) was co-organised by the Association of Greek Art Historians and the Institute for Mediterranean Studies - FORTH and took place at the Institute's premises in Rethymnon, Crete on Friday, 3rd and Saturday, 4th October 2014. The central aim of the meeting, which actually functioned as a workshop charting the current status of art historiography research in Greece and the rest of Europe, was to explore the ways in which the academic and research fields of art history had been formed from the late 18th century and continued to develop up to the beginning of the 20th century. Shaped by its interactions with other disciplines, art history eventually created its own unique discursive field and distinct methodology.

In this direction, the Organising Committee [consisting of Panagiotis Ioannou (University of Crete - Institute for Mediterranean Studies - FORTH), Titina Kornezou (University of Crete), Annie Malama (National Gallery-Alexandros Soutzos Museum), Ergina Xydous (Mag., Universität Wien), Aris Sarafianos (University of Ioannina), Konstantinos Stefanis (PhD, The London Consortium), all members of the Association of Greek Art Historians Board of Directors] chose for inclusion in the meeting's proceedings 11 original papers, in Greek, from a wide range of approaches and perspectives in current art historical research by contributors at different stages in their career (PhD students, independent researchers, academics) and from various fields of related practice (curators, archivists, scholars and others) currently working either inside or outside Greece. Presentations were followed by a round table discussion where all the contributors participated (Moderator: Nikos Daskalothanassis, Professor of Art History, Athens School of Fine Arts). Suggested topics were about:

*Art history and related fields -ranging from general history and reference works (including encyclopaedias and dictionaries) to art history: Art history and cultural history, art criticism, art publications (treatises, correspondences, etc), translations, monographs, travel writings; art historians, scholars, critics and other writers on art.

*Art historians and methodological issues, art history and its methods.

*Art history and institutions; academies, exhibitions, museums, universities, collections and the Press.

* Art history, geography and periodization; North, South, East, West, national histories of art, world history of art. Periodization of art history (early, high, late, post-, pre-, or proto-). The emergence of distinct periods in art history (Middle Ages, Renaissance, Baroque etc).

*European art history in Greece.

As already mentioned above, the approaches followed and the perspectives adopted by the speakers in the context of current art historical research were various and so was the deepening of analysis. However, the way all the contributions interacted during the discussion sessions along with the similarities of the questions raised made obvious that art historians in Greece share for sure a common interest in art historiography as a special field of research.

Furthermore, the plenary session led to some conclusions. Given the obvious interest of every single contributor in art historical texts both from practical and theoretical aspect, it seems that the first priority, at least in Greece, should be to create a lineage of art history, a kind of genealogy, by forming a corpus of primary art historical texts in order to expand the references of discussion. In a collection of this kind one could find not only completely unknown texts brought to light just recently but also art historical texts that could use a fresh reading. …

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