The History of Art History
The "image" became an object of rigorous academic study, historical and philosophical, only in the later nineteenth century, first in Germany and Austria. In the earlier 20th century some of the discipline's most sophisticated work was conducted, certain of the texts regularly referred to in our present. This is a seminar about classic problems and solutions, about standing critiques and counter-critiques. We will come to know the work of a number of key figures in the development of "looking" as an investigative act (Wölfflin, Goldschmidt) and devote time to considering the strategies developed by members of the first and second Vienna schools (Riegl to Pächt) and the Hamburg art history seminar (Warburg, Panofsky, Wind), and other significant thinkers. We will study networks of art historical exchange, the place of religious confession and gender, the role of institutions, and correlations between art history and artistic production, and also think about the application of "European" method to non-European art. Students, as they choose their research topics will be encouraged to focus on the work of a thinker or thinkers whose thought informs their own work. The seminar is open to students in any discipline who are incorporating a visual component into their study and would like to add depth to their analyses.