Tag art history

No Fixed Points

Nancy Reynolds and Malcolm McCormick— The twentieth century was an era of revolutionary changes occurring with explosive rapidity. In the political arena, we saw two world wars, “ten days that shook the world,” and the spread of democracy as monarchies fell; thanks to science we have nuclear energy and global

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Joanna Hiffernan and James Whistler: The Model and the Artist

Margaret F. MacDonald— In 1861 Whistler wrote to his closest friend, Henri Fantin-Latour, about his work on Wapping (pictured above), and described the model, Joanna Hiffernan: “a girl who is jolly difficult to paint! … I have painted her three times and I do not want to get tired … …  I

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Why Collecting is Viral

Natalya Semenova– Why do people even begin collecting? This has been bothering me for a long time. After all, I collect the stories of my protagonists in the same way they collected paintings and sculptures. Collecting is undoubtedly one of the most ancient viruses, even though collectors as we know

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Empire and the origins of the panorama

Tim Barringer– Jeff Wall’s photograph Restoration of 1993—a luminous transparency almost five meters wide—reveals the spectacular scale and complex mechanics of nineteenth-century panoramic paintings. The word “panorama” was coined in 1791 to describe circular painted canvases, some reaching 300 feet in length and 50 feet high. Installed in specially-constructed buildings,

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Reflections on Africans in Gothic Sculpture, part 3

Erasure, Submission, Apotheosis Jacqueline E. Jung — Though hardly numerous, images of African men – often dressed in military garb, and always acting on behalf of established institutional powers – played vital roles in the sculptural programs of French and German Gothic cathedrals. At Magdeburg, St. Maurice was a well-armed

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The Lost Last Supper

Cees Nooteboom— When you hear the word inquisition, you think of Spain, heretics in strange tall pointed hats, the stake, forced confessions, horrifying images that make the words Holy Inquisition a cruel oxymoron. It is less well known that there were also inquisitors in Venice who could make life rather

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A Personal Canon: Abigail McEwen on Five Influential Texts

Juan A. Martínez, Cuban Art and National Identity: The Vanguardia Painters, 1927-1950 (1994) In his classic account of Cuba’s historic vanguardia generation, Martínez developed a social history of modern Cuban art that remains a standard reference today. Published fifty years after the seminal exhibition, Modern Cuban Painters (Museum of Modern Art, 1944),

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Reflections on Africans in Gothic Sculpture, part 2

Images of Justice and Power Jacqueline E. Jung — In the choir of Magdeburg Cathedral, the black Saint Maurice, carved and painted around 1250, stands with his co-patron Catherine as complementary opposites; together they indicate the plenitude of this Christian ecclesia in both its Militant and Triumphant aspects. (Read more

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Reflections on Africans in Gothic Sculpture, part 1

Saint Maurice in Magdeburg  Jacqueline E. Jung — The stunning sandstone sculpture of Saint Maurice made for Magdeburg Cathedral around 1250 – representing the fabled fourth-century leader of the Roman army’s Theban Legion, who allowed himself and his men to be killed for their embrace of the new Christian faith

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A Personal Canon: Elise Archias on Five Influential Texts

The art history I write and teach is stuck in the mid-century modern period across much of the globe–roughly 1945-1970–because those years saw the end of a “modern” way of thinking and the start of a contemporary, or some would still say “postmodern,” outlook. I want to go back and

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