Renaissance Theory (The Art Seminar)
Renaissance Theory presents an animated conversation among art historians about the optimal ways of conceptualizing Renaissance art, and the links between Renaissance art and contemporary art and theory. This is the first discussion of its kind, involving not only questions within Renaissance scholarship, but issues of concern to art historians and critics in all fields. Organized as a virtual roundtable discussion, the contributors discuss rifts and disagreements about how to understand the Renaissance and debate the principal texts and authors of the last thirty years who have sought to reconceptualize the period. They then turn to the issue of the relation between modern art and the Renaissance: Why do modern art historians and critics so seldom refer to the Renaissance? Is the Renaissance our indispensable heritage, or are we cut off from it by the revolution of modernism?
The volume includes an introduction by Rebecca Zorach and two final, synoptic essays, as well as contributions from some of the most prominent thinkers on Renaissance art including Stephen Campbell, Michael Cole, Frederika Jakobs, Claire Farago, and Matt Kavaler.
On Modern Impatience” was 46 Renaissance Theory published, in an earlier version, as “On Modern Impatience,” Kritische Berichte 3 (1991), 19–34; Chapter 4, “Castagno, Dalí: Signs of Religion” was published, in an earlier version, as “A Hagiography of Bugs and Leaves: on the Dishonesty of Pictured Religion,” Journal of Information Ethics 2 no. 2 (1993), 53–70; Chapter 5, “Giotto, Balthus: The Impossibility of Narrative” was published, in an earlier version, as “On the Impossibility of Stories:
that time or do they instead disclose putative—or subsequently constructed—“truths”? The second query is posed in light of the ﬁrst. Does (or should) the history of Renaissance art accommodate systemic relationships beyond the canonical to include a broad range of aesthetic productions, including 95 96 Renaissance Theory those labeled “popular,” categorized as “low,” and not infrequently segregated from “art” by the rubric “visual imagery”? These questions are important ones given the
elsewhere. This odd pairing is perhaps best considered in terms of “presence.” Rethinking the Divide 107 Images “bearing presence,” according to Armstrong, fall into two basic but not exclusive groups. A “work-in-invocation” embodies “who-ness” or “what-ness.” Like an individual, the work has an identity. It is “who or what the work is said to be.”41 In the case of the Madonna dell’ Arco, the “who” is the Virgin Mary, or more accurately this speciﬁc Madonna as opposed, for example, to the
recognizes as language but cannot read—perhaps a bit like the Islamic inscriptions in certain mosques that are progressively stylized until they are no longer legible but continue to signify as a holy utterance.106 Throughout the vaulting at Krenstetten there is a perceptible progression from double ovals to double circles to the elimination of all doubleness and, ﬁnally, to opacity at the east end of the choir.107 In the case of Krenstetten, the geometric rib conﬁgurations might be perceived as
juxtaposition of modes occurred earlier. Benedikt Ried’s Italianate windows of 1493 decorate the exterior of the Vladislav Hall in the Castle of Prague, contemporary with the innovative Gothic vaulting inside. See Białostocki, The Art of the Renaissance in Eastern Europe (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1976), 15–16. Bucher, “Fifteenth-Century German Architecture”, 409–419; Paul Crossley, “The Return to the Forest: Natural Architecture and the German Past in the Age of Dürer”, in Künstlerischer