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Umění (Art)
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2006
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tom 54
|
nr 3
218-228
EN
The theoretical and methodological tradition of Czech art history, which includes such personalities as Max Dvorák and Vojtech Birnbaum, was neglected under the communist regime and the situation has not improved since. The main features of the tradition were shaped by the influence of the philosopher Jan Patocka. Recently, Ladislav Kesner has entered the field, bringing a fresh, American-style approach, both in his radical rhetoric and in his main theme - the interaction between the cognitive neurosciences and art historical methods. His line of argumentation has resulted, indirectly, in the questioning of the scientific status of art history, in contrast with the natural sciences. When addressing this subject, the question of what the art historian is actually doing must be answered. This activity can be interpreted on four levels: 1. Sensual perception, primarily sight, informed by the results of neuro-cognitive research and, more importantly, by technological analyses of the material of artworks from earlier epochs. 2. Connoisseurship in a wider sense, creating a network of artworks on the basis of similarity attributable to certain periods, places and persons. This is the exclusive domain of art history, accessible only to those who have undergone initiation at university. It is, however, learned only by following a master, not in an abstract way, i.e. as a craft and not as an academic discipline. 3. Including the artwork in a system of social values, either of the present, or of a past society. In the latter case, art history joins the margins of history proper and has to conform to its 'craft' and method. 4. Writing a text, or, more specifically, preparing an exhibition - an activity which borders on actual artistic expressive forms (installation or performance). The theoretical or methodological approach can be regarded as a constructive matrix pervading all four levels. The core of the entire procedure (see above no. 2) is strikingly non-scientific, i.e. not subjected to independent experimental verification. This derives from the fact that the true object of art history is an individual artwork in its bodily presence and uniqueness. Since the time of the late 18th century founder of scientific art history, J. J. Wincklemann, the object of art history has been reduced to 'style'. The new concept of science, however, enables one to bypass the 'Galilean paradigm' and to admit a scientific object which is bodily unique. (An extensive part of the text is devoted to a brief survey of the developments in the concept of science, which took place during the second half of the 20th century when Czech - and neighboring - intellectual communities were forcibly cut off from the current trends by the repressive political regime.) In this framework, art history is freer and can remain critically open to inspiration from different intellectual currents while not submitting to them. This concerns not only the cognitive neurosciences, but also linguistic semiotics, memetics or the theory of chaos. Biology (eidetic theory, developments in Darwinism) constitutes another extremely intriguing field. The basis of the strong self-confidence of art history (as a wide-ranging project, including visual studies) may lie in the fact that its own proper topics - bodily uniqueness and personal experience - are among the key concepts of the early 21st century.
EN
This article describes the history of gardens, how garden history began and its development as a process interwoven with the emergence of the concept of garden art and the later evolution of the idea of the garden as a work of art. These phenomenons occurred in the 18th century. Discussions about, and controversy over, the new English landscape parks and the criticism of formal gardens led to creating a language to describe gardens and to the belief that designing them was an art. It was only in the 18th century that writers began to describe garden history in a systematic way, analyzing their artistic form and cultural context (C. C. L. Hirschfeld). The first large-scale history of gardens - which was illustrated and included gardens on all continents - was written by J. C. Loudon (1822). The next significant historiographical work was written by A. Mangin (1867). The last thirty years has been a very fruitful period in the development of garden history, adapting methods used by art historians. The latest research being conducted by historians and philosophers (J. D. Hunt) is striving to establish new grounds for interpreting gardens. The three central issues are: the garden in the sociocultural context, how it is perceived and fundamental questions about its intrinsic nature - what exactly is a garden as a work of art, as a cultural phenomenon, as a subject of literature, as an existential experience of the person who enters it?
EN
The article introduces the joint project of Latvian art history on the Internet. Its motivation is derived from the fact that no comprehensive and properly illustrated information on Latvian art is available on the Internet, although it is the most effective means of transmitting information. Also information in English on the subject is very incomplete and narrow in printed sources as well. The concept of art history in this project is based on the art-historical canon. 'Canon' should not be conceived only in the axiological sense as a selection and presentation of the highest artistic values but also as the display of artefacts typical of a particular period. The issue of exposition is also important - balancing the information intended for specialists and that which is aimed at a wider public, as well as combining the textual part with a visually attractive presentation of images.
EN
Adapted version of the text presented at the colloquium organised in Prague on 12 November 2019 by the Institute of Art History of the Czech Academy of Sciences (CAS) on the 85th anniversary of PhDr. Karel Chytil’s death. The text deals with the institutional and cultural political aspects of Chytil’s career as an art historian, museologist, and lecturer.
ARS
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2021
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tom 54
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nr 1
55 – 72
EN
Vojtech (Béla) Tilkovský, the art historian, art critic, radio editor and journalist, is not well known among art historians. His primary research focused on painter Dominik Skutezky (Skutecký), about whom he wrote his masters’ thesis and dissertation, and in 1954 his monograph. Tilkovský also sought out teaching positions. After several attempts at the Slovak School of Technology in 1955, he became a part-time lecturer of art history at his alma mater (Comenius University). His art research of the 19th century was interrupted several times, first by the Slovak State, the defence of his position within this state and subsequently by a change in the political situation in 1948. Although he could not publish continuously, his publishing activities in Slovakia, Czechia and Hungary are relatively abundant and essential for this period.
EN
In observing the 'triumphal return' of the academic school of painting, as reflected in a growing number of academic conferences devoted to individual representatives of the movement (including the British or British-based painters Frederick Leighton, Lawrence Alma Tademie and Albert Moore), publications, museum exhibitions, as well as rapid increases in the value of the pictures themselves, the author suggests a fashion for Classicism and the ideals associated with it is currently under way that may be compared to the fascination Western civilisation experienced during the second half of the 19th century. In the context of this revival, it is felt that a new approach to the work of the Polish academic painter Henryk H. Siemiradzki (1843-1902) is long overdue, beginning with the painting presented.The article includes a summary biography of the artist, from his childhood in Belgorod (Russia) and Kharkov in the Ukraine to his maturing as an artist in Rome, which became Siemiradzki's adopted home soon after his graduation at the Academy of Fine Arts in St. Petersburg. Although this artist was accorded international recognition during his lifetime, his remains having been transferred to a crypt dedicated to famous Polish public figures in Cracow, little more than a monograph from 1904 and a biography printed in 1986 have been published on Siemiradzki. The 100th anniversary of his death passed all but completely ignored in Poland and no exhibition devoted exclusively to the painter's works has ever been organised to date. The author contests that the canvas on permanent exhibition in Warsaw's National Museum has been falsely titled. Rather than depicting the actual moment when Paris judges the beauty of Venus (Aphrodite) over that of her contenders, Juno (Hera) and Minerva (Athena), it in fact portrays a scene which he defines as 'The Triumph of Venus following her choice as the most beautiful of goddesses'. Apart from the comparatively little research devoted to the artist, reference is also made to the significance attached to the judgment of Paris in European art in general, as well as Siemiradzki's work in particular, which, apart from the celebrated monumental composition for the curtain of the Lvov Opera House, included a design for the Slowacki Theatre in Cracow that drew on the same theme.
ARS
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2011
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tom 44
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nr 1
3-8
EN
The introduction presents basic facts about the work of Max Dvořák, one of the founding fathers of the 20th-century art history, whom the given issue of Ars is dedicated to. It also summarizes how the art historical community perceived ideas of this distinctive Central European scholar in course of the 20th century.
ARS
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2007
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tom 40
|
nr 2
145-156
EN
The paper is devoted to transformation of Riegl's, Dvorak's and Schlosser's heritage of methodology in the 1930s. At the same time the pupils of Vienna school of art history Hans Sedlmayr, K. M. Swoboda and Dagobert Frey declared a 'new tasks' of art historiography under an influence of new political situation near closed with the ideology of Nazis. They intentionally attempted to harmonize the diachronic approach to the history of art with the synchronic one, in identification of collective vehicle of evolution of art history and translated focus at systematic research into art historical constants such as geography, territory on one hand and ethnic, nationalism and race on the other hand. These pupils of Vienna school occupied the head posts in the most important universities in Vienna, Prague and Breslau. They believed that a 'new tasks'VIENNA SCHOOL, art history, IDEOLOGICAL IMPLICATIONS of art history were Riegl's and Dvorak's impersonalitionism harmonised with Schlosser's message of inductionism. Connection of metaphysical determinism of art history with ideology of the geographical and ethnic constants was sophisticated instrument of symbolical legitimization of an expansionist hegemonism. Each of them researched the problem of the relations between knowledge and power particularly. Three cases of Hans Sedlmayr, K. M. Swoboda and Dagobert Frey represented the different variants of the self-imposed ideological subservience of art history. They showed that theory and practice, words and deeds, knowledge and behaviour need not always be in harmony, not even in science. The article is concluded with a question to what measure present attempts to revive geography of art are free of all ideological implications.
EN
The work of artist Jazeps Grosvalds has been periodically interpreted throughout the 20th century in Latvian art criticism and art history. Evolution of conclusions about Grosvalds' work combined with texts dedicated to other themes allows to develop a very concentrated look at the way in which historiography of Latvian art developed. At the beginning of the century Grosvalds soon became known as an innovator in the context of the important polemic between Modernists and Traditionalists. After Grosvalds' premature death in 1920, his art began to be seen from a historical perspective. Initial interpretations contained more in the way of Modernist accents (Romans Suta, Olgerds Grosvalds, Edvards Virza), but as time went by, increasing emphasis was placed on the 'Latvianness' of Grosvalds' work, with observers (Janis Silins, Uga Skulme) seeking to link his art to ancient local traditions. In the 1930s Grosvalds was posited as the establisher of the 'national style' and the 'national epos' (Boris Vipper), fully in line with the official cultural policies of the day. During the first year of the Soviet occupation articles continued to appear on Grosvalds' anniversary - largely through inertia. During the first decade of the second Soviet occupation, Grosvalds' name all but disappeared from publications in Latvia, only to be brought back into consideration later. Grosvalds' work, however, continued to be interpreted in accordance with the Soviet era's insistence on dogma of sociologically motivated art history, though at the same time legitimizing the artist's undeniable significance by the broadened concept of Realism (Skaidrite Cielava). In Latvian literature that was published in the West, traditions that had been established during the inter-war period continued to be applied. A significant change in attitudes toward Grosvalds has appeared in the last decade, even though the scattered excursions into his art and his life can still be seen as analogies to the fragmentary nature of depoliticized and free art history of contemporary Latvia.
EN
Typology, as a universal method of interpretation, is not used in art history to the same degree as in some other branches of science (biology, archaeology, psychology, linguistics et al.). It is hard to imagine the theory of art history encompassing a kind of taxonomy - general principles of classification which could also include typology. Nevertheless, typological inferences and issues are widely used, albeit not always theoretically defined. Typology is unavoidable when it is necessary to classify archaeological material that could be interpreted as artefacts. It is used to investigate and describe groups of artworks or other objects relevant to art history. The concept of a theoretical model with fixed or substantial traits (attributes) seems the most appropriate in this case. Attributes are important only from the aspect of the aim of a particular work of research. This does not mean that typological models are arbitrary mental constructs or an ideal generalisation of metaphysics. On the contrary, 'types' should be tied to the concrete phenomena of research. World art history, as well as Latvian art history, is full of generalisations that could be regarded as the products of typological research. Their verbal exposition can be supplemented by graphic schemes (more common in texts on architecture). We can recollect the typology of classical orders that have been described and shown in drawings in countless reference books, the typology of the kuroi and korai statues in the Ancient Greece, or the medieval type of the 'beautiful Madonna' and many others. Two different examples from Latvian art history can also be mentioned: Paul Kampe's 'central type of church building in Vidzeme' and Tatjana Kacalova's examination of the types of compositional structure in the landscapes of Vilhelms Purvitis.
ARS
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2011
|
tom 44
|
nr 1
125-138
EN
Ernst Gombrich stated that reading Max Dvořák convinced him that the art of the past “offered an immediate and exciting access to the mind of bygone ages”. The paper documents his involvement with Dvořák from his school-leaving essay, through his experience at university, into his essays for Kritische Berichte and then into his later career at the Warburg Institute. It will argue that although Gombrich rapidly came to criticise the notion of “immediate” access, it nevertheless raised problems that stayed with him through his career and thus exercised a benign influence on his development.
ARS
|
2011
|
tom 44
|
nr 1
9-14
EN
The article examines the perception of the relationship between war and art in Max Dvořák’s work, exemplified on papers dedicated to works of art by Francisco de Goya (“Desastres de la guerra”) and Albrecht Dürer (“Apocalypse”). The influential Central European art historian thought that the war experience had no causal effect on the spiritual life, but may have, to some extent as a kind of catalyst, amplified the already existing collective spiritual development.
EN
The genre of monograph based on the paradigmatic link between the artist’s life and work, dating back to Giorgio Vasari’s ‘Lives of the Artists’, had already fossilised and experienced a decline in the 20th century. Nevertheless, the turn of the 21st century in Latvia marks a period of unprecedented flourishing of the genre which invited to examine also historical precedents over the 20th century. More thorough publications were only to emerge since the 1920s in Latvia. In 1925 the Independent Artists’ Association started to publish a series of monographs ‘Latvian Art’ (on Alfreds Plite-Pleita, Janis Rozentals, Rudolfs Perle); after a break, their initiative was taken up again in 1938 (on Jazeps Grosvalds, Karlis Miesnieks, Karlis Zale). A considerable shift emerges in the focusing largely on the stories of success - the fortunes of romantic victims of adverse conditions, society’s indifference or their own addictions are replaced with largely praising, optimistic narratives about the artists being rooted in their native land, overcoming numerous difficulties only to express the national spirit, more or less echoing the authoritarian mood of the 1930s. After the Soviet system was established, the first monographic publications appeared in the early 1950s. The most acceptable artists were the classics of the late 19th and early 20th century (Karlis Huns, Julijs Feders, Janis Rozentals) whose art was genetically linked to realist traditions and Russian art. In the following decades, more and more artists were included in ‘the progressive stream of Latvian art’ by detecting ‘humanity’ and a ‘realist approach’ in their heritage. From the 1970s some monographs stepped back from the double trap of belletrist and ideological superficiality towards the tradition of the catalogue raisonné. Fluctuations between individual aspirations and determined, collective worldviews and psychological priorities typify the artists’ monographs published in Latvia; a general democratisation and ‘collectivisation’ of the genre in the 20th century spearheaded popular editions with reduced scientific content that had two main tasks: firstly, the preservation of the most valuable in the national art heritage and secondly, picking out the ‘progressive’ elements from this heritage according to certain ideological requirements.
EN
This article is devoted to the original sources from which the Latvian art historian Kristaps Eliass (1886--1963) developed his theoretical principles. Eliass wrote biographical and theoretical articles, as well as books about Dutch and French art, and of particular importance to him were the writings of German authors Richard Muther and Julius Meier-Graefe, both of whom were prominent at that time. During the Soviet period, Kristaps Eliass was praised for his texts where he emphasized the influence of social conditions on arts, linking it directly to the progressive role of Karl Marx's conception. However, the work of Muther and Meier-Graefe is much closer to that of Eliass - they saw art history as a systematic and ordered interpretation of processes, criticizing the separation of art and life that was typical of capitalist societies. Kristaps Eliass also placed a high emphasis on the personality of each artist, thus reflecting the ideas of Romanticism, as well as the influential thinking of Arthur Schopenhauer. In his writing Eliass also drew upon the ideas of the historians and theoreticians Alois Riegl and Wilhelm Worringer, among others, about the regularities that are found in the evolution of the arts. He also took advantage of conclusions which the optician Hermann von Helmholtz developed about the impossibility of copying nature directly in a work of art. During the dogmatic period of Stalinism, Eliass' work fell out of favor and was criticized for emphasizing sociological conditions inadequately. Eliass always tried to maintain a certain balance between the importance of the spirit of the times or the class struggle on the one hand, and the value of forms created by a self-expressive artist on the other.
EN
Regardless of the co-existence and interchange of several methodological approaches during the 20th century (formalism, 'art history as a spiritual history', sociological method, iconology, psychological methods, the dominant orientation right up to the last third of it was towards art history as a self-sufficient discipline focused on the artwork. It was conceived as a quite autonomous entity, especially when explained as a result of purely formal creation, but also when its messages were interpreted as depending on the context of cultural history. During approximately the last three decades a different methodology and subsequent research subjects have emerged, shifting our attention to the context of an artwork: the conditions in which it had been created and consumed. In addition, the very subject of general art history has been rendered problematical; doubts have been applied the universal term of 'art' to both ancient artefacts and most recent developments. All this is reasonable and welcome as factors promoting development with the proviso that they avoid turning into self-sufficient, speculative thinking, into new dogmas that research results have to comply with. One has to admit that interpretative enthusiasm according to the 'New Art History' principles could also generate dubious conclusions on this or that issue. It could give rise to methodological excesses that, of course, are not uncommon in the history of art history. In this respect 'New Art History' is not completely new. With respect to choices of subject for art-historical research, it depends on the philosophical idea of what art and, subsequently, an artwork is. An artwork acquires sense within an 'ideological-methodological' model, and this sense is not only found but also constructed. And this could happen in a case where some of the elements of an artwork have been endowed with a different meaning (according to methodological dogma) but also conceived as 'meaningful' where none was intended or it is accidental, insignificant or a result of artistic failure. A seemingly exhaustive, unified and sometimes impressive interpretation is created, which may fit the author's ideological bias but is insufficient for the artwork as the given of art history.
EN
The terms 'emblem' and 'emblematics' are mentioned several times in Latvian art history literature. However, it cannot be said that they are in common usage and self-evident even in experts' circles because there still are no comprehensive texts describing emblematics as a subdivision of iconography. Art historians' interest in emblems has emerged quite recently in Latvia, gradually discovering more and more ways of their use and now would seem to be an appropriate moment for the first general conclusions. The aim of this article is to try to embrace the main directions of the use of emblems, to outline the course of their development and distribution among different social classes and to give an insight into the localisation process of the phenomenon by selecting the most important and remarkable examples. No specialised collections of emblems have been published by any of the Latvian publishing houses, only books with emblematic illustrations. Their number also is small in comparison with other, mostly European publishing centres. There was no active process of creating emblems in Latvia because two of the most important components were lacking - an independent institution of education or erudite group of interested people and a suitable publishing house. Nevertheless, the limited intellectual potential did not mean that Latvia was left untouched by the fashion for emblems. The protestant theologian and superintendent of the Duchy of Luneburg Johann Arndt's book 'Vier geistreiche Bucher vom wahren Christentum .. ', published in Riga in 1678-1679 and supplemented with copper engravings, as a particularly remarkable item in the provincial milieu. 50 years after the author's death, illustrations appeared in Riga that became a paradigm for frequent reproductions by German, Swiss and North American (Pennsylvania) publishers right up to 1930. The next stage in the development of emblems in Latvia is related to 18th century book printing and society - not only German but, important to note, also Latvian.
ARS
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2020
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tom 53
|
nr 2
99 - 111
EN
A number of authors have written about the history of the concept of style, one of the key formulating concepts of art history. Those deserving special mention here are Jan Białostocki (‘Styl’, in: BIAŁOSTOCKI, J.: Historia sztuki wśród nauk humanistycznych. Wrocław-Warszawa-Kraków-Gdańsk 1980, pp. 36-55), Willibald Sauerländer, (‘From Stilus to Style: Reflections on the Fate of a Notion’, in: Art History, 6, 1983, no. 3, pp. 253-270), Carlo Ginzburg, (‘Stil. Einschließung und Ausschließung’, in: GINZBURG, C.: Holzaugen. Über Nähe und Distanz. Berlin 1999, pp. 168-211), and Robert Suckale (‘Stilgeschichte’, in: Kunsthistorische Arbeitsblätter, 11, 2001, pp. 17-26). The present study is an attempt to map in greater detail the efforts of several generations of scholars to define style, starting with the ‘discovery’ of the history of style in the mid-eighteenth century and ending with the crisis that ensued after the end of the Second World War.
EN
This text is dedicated to Griselda Pollock who has created what is called 'feminist art history' almost since its very beginning and is nowadays regarded as one of its most influential representatives. Pollock perceives her activity mainly in political categories, treating analytical practices as an element of women's movement aiming at revolution in social reality (also the scope of knowledge). She regards art history as ideological practice and intervenes within its scope in order to debunk the myths accumulated in it. However, she remains to operate within the art history but to some extent against it, for example by differencing the canon (the title of one of her latest books) and differencing interpretations. The latest refers also to her practice as she often comes back to works she has already written on to read them again (sometimes against her earlier analysis). Although her language (and texts she turns to while developing her methodology) changes from one book to another, the search for what is feminine (in latest texts she uses the feminine) remains the main idea.
ARS
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2009
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tom 42
|
nr 1
109-114
EN
The article takes a closer look at the problematic relationship between Art History and connoisseurship - the latter in today's general opinion summarizing all negative and old-fashioned aspects of the discipline - in a broad historical overview (from G. Vasari to B. Berenson). The author concludes with defending a complete and organic Art History focused on the object, which allows to conjugate the different approaches (from connoisseurship to a social and economic History of Art or to a History of Taste) and to articulate constantly empirical and theoretical levels, determining the dynamics of research.
ARS
|
2012
|
tom 45
|
nr 1
56 – 66
EN
The paper examines the social and institutional dimensions of art history in post-communist Slovakia. Art history itself an often-presumed neutral autonomous science – though brutally contaminated ideologically in the previous regime – struggles today with several problems. Not only a lack of self-reflection on the discipline and its methods and a lack of critical dialogue with past practices, but a new socio-economic framework outline the set of questions that need to be asked. The fundamental question, which the author asks, is how the science entitled art historiography is constituted and how it distributes knowledge under new conditions through concrete institutions.
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