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Organization, Regulations, and Courses 2021-22

ARTH 28.07 Art Writing and Writers on Art

This course will explore the various modes of writing on or about art and artists from the early modern to the modern period in Europe. Focusing primarily on writers and texts from France, Germany and Italy, we will consider the social and cultural roles of the artist and art works as they were formulated, investigated and reinterpreted throughout the 18th and 19th centuries. The classical revival and the beginnings of “modern” art history, the growth of the periodical press and the explosion of art (and literary) criticism, the growing public sphere for art, the biographical tendency in historical writing, and Romantic fantasies of the artist all worked to create a rich body of literary or quasi-literary writings on art and artists at this time.

 Many of the texts we will read were translated into other languages soon after their initial appearance, testifying to the international readership and scope of these writers and their works. The figure of the artist as developed in the 18th and 19th centuries only became more prominent in our cultural consciousness in the 20th century as Romanticism’s ideas of genius and the vanguard (often mad) artist and the separate sphere of the visual arts became entrenched in discourses of modernism. Exploring writings on art at this critical juncture in the beginnings of modernism can shed light on our continuing notions of what art is and has been, and on how art and artists have been described, understood, and fantasized about for centuries.



Cross Listed Courses

COLT 61.01

Distributive and/or World Culture

Dist:ART; WCult:W

The Timetable of Class Meetings contains the most up-to-date information about a course. It includes not only the meeting time and instructor, but also its official distributive and/or world culture designation. This information supersedes any information you may see elsewhere, to include what may appear in this ORC/Catalog or on a department/program website. Note that course attributes may change term to term therefore those in effect are those (only) during the term in which you enroll in the course.