FAH102H1 Lecture Notes - Lecture 4: Art History, Rokeby Venus, Erwin Panofsky

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8 Jun 2016

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Formalism & Symbol Systems
Tuesday, February 2, 2016 6:12 PM – Daria Murphy
Librarian: margaret.english@utoronto.ca
Heinrich Wölfflin (1864-1945)
Father of Art History
Swiss Art Historian, started his life by studying Philosophy
Thesis: Intro to the psychology of architecture, how buildings emotionally effect individuals
oTried to shape this historically
3 points of Wölfflin's view of art:
oHistory of Vision: Perhaps the way that people saw 400 years ago has changed from
oHistory of the way people saw over time
oMorphology of Forms: Organization of the development of forms over time
o"Art history without names": What is the effect of that art for the viewer (not so much
who created it)
"Prolegomena zu einer Osychologie Architektur" (1886)
o"Forms in architecture are without expression in themselves but that we read their
propoertions and relations according to our own physiological and psychological
constitution and endow them with our own body's posture and mood."
Empathy Theory (related to Wölfflin's thesis)
We understand an object through our own experience and body
"Asymmetry is often experienced as physical pain, as if a limb were missing or injured"
Rumohr: evidence of an artist's individuality that transcended itself and becomes universal
Wölfflin and Riegl: specific expressions of an age
oEx: gothic shoes and tracery in a gothic cloister are similar, but why?
oEx: 18th century French interior décor and intricate porcelain, why is there a similarity of
form here?
We can talk about here PERIOD STYLE, the relationship of one to another in that
era and style
"What determines the artist's creative attitude to form? It has been said to be the character of the age
he lives in: for the Gothic period for instance, feudalism, scholasticism, the life of the spirt. But we [art
historians] still have to find the path that leads from the cell of the scholastic philosopher to the mason's
Heinrich Wöfflin
oHe was interested of the psychology of it all, as in renaissance art was calm, and
baroque was agitated
Herman Grimm (1828-1901)
Slide Projectors
(We talked about him last lecture)
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