FAH102H1 Lecture Notes - Lecture 2: Giorgio Vasari, The Roots, Johann Joachim Winckelmann

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8 Jun 2016

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The Roots of the Discipline
Tuesday, January 19, 2016 6:14 PM – Daria Murphy
Art History is a pretty recent phenomenon, whereas art itself has been around for a very long time
Art History really began 200 years ago
ex: The Caves at Lascaux
There is a big temporal difference between the creation of the art and the study of it
3 things to attend to according to Panofsky:
1. Materialized form; that it has survived
2. Idea; subject matter (what is it about?)
3. Content; almost like context, what surrounds the object (Who paid for it? Who wanted
These three things define the history of art!
"History is necessary, not only to make life agreeable, but also to endow it with a moral significance." -
Marsillio Ficino
That there might be some sort of greater importance
Art History is a part of the making of art, art historians interpret the art. There is an interesting
dynamic between the thing and the making of the thing.
Giorgio Vasari (1511-1574)
An artist and also a historian
Wrote the book: "Lives of Most Excellent Painters, Sculptors, and Architects" (1550)
He was writing this book from the inside point of view since he was an artist himself
Goal: Elevate status of artist and make class distinction between the artist and the craftsmen
The artist did not just work with his hands, but instead had a sort of working method
Art change is cyclical
These cycles were moving to something
Classical art was one of the biggest high points
The ultimate high point of art to Vasari was Raphael and Michelangelo
He knew it changed but he didn’t explain how art became good and bad then good
Johann Joachim Winckelmann (1717-1768)
Wrote the book: "The History of Ancient Art" (1784)
He promoted an appreciation for classical art (Greek and Roman)
You could see in the depiction of gods that you could see higher morals and ideals
"This exquisite and noble form of a nature thus perfect is as if were, wrapped in
immortality, and the form is but a vessel to contain it; a loftier spirit seems to have taken the
place of the mortal parts, and to have expanded in their stead."
How can we have access to the higher ideals if we didn’t live in that time?
This might just be a fanciful recreation
How do we access things for a world that no longer exists?
"eine edle Einfalt und eine stille Grosse"
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