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080103 UE Styles, Modes and Stratagems. Principles of Art Theory, now (2021S)

Continuous assessment of course work

Registration/Deregistration

Note: The time of your registration within the registration period has no effect on the allocation of places (no first come, first served).

Details

max. 25 participants
Language: German

Lecturers

Classes (iCal) - next class is marked with N

You may choose one or several concepts you are struggling with or are interested in to introduce in the first (preparatory) session (you can potentially choose one that relates to a bachelor or master's thesis or other classes). The final choice of texts will be made based on the concepts. We want to focus on those that aim at universality, like the concepts developed by Wölfflin.

Saturday 20.03. 12:00 - 13:30 Seminarraum 2 d. Inst. f. Kunstgeschichte UniCampus Hof 9 3F-EG-20
Saturday 08.05. 11:00 - 17:00 Seminarraum 2 d. Inst. f. Kunstgeschichte UniCampus Hof 9 3F-EG-20
Saturday 15.05. 11:00 - 17:00 Seminarraum 2 d. Inst. f. Kunstgeschichte UniCampus Hof 9 3F-EG-20
Saturday 29.05. 11:00 - 17:00 Seminarraum 2 d. Inst. f. Kunstgeschichte UniCampus Hof 9 3F-EG-20
Saturday 05.06. 11:00 - 17:00 Seminarraum 2 d. Inst. f. Kunstgeschichte UniCampus Hof 9 3F-EG-20

Information

Aims, contents and method of the course

"Conceptual research in the science of art has not kept up with factual research. While art history has been reformed fundamentally in terms of its material basis by the work of the last generation, the concepts which are used to compute the historical knowledge, have hardly changed." (Heinrich Wölfflin, « Preface », Principles of Art Theory, 1915)

Wöfflin's affirmation is still relevant over 100 years after his text first appeared. Most art historians seem to consider the project of conceptual research, as laid out by Wölfflin in his Principles of Art Theory, as a very problematic undertaking. A distinction between systematic and historical research, as it is common in music studies, does not exist in relationship with the study of visual art. But even though many art historians are skeptical about abstract concepts, because they might make fine differences invisible, art history as a field of study would be unthinkable without some general principles and would dissolve into single case studies.
And important art historians have indeed made the attempt to develop universal concepts. This happened most successfully with styles like gothic, romanic or baroque and some trans-era classifications like "still life" , "allegory" or "history painting" have also held sway. However, a distinction like the one between "event picture" and "state picture", which is largely self-explanatory, is not in common use. The distinction between mode and style (following Poussin) by Jan Bialostocki or the difference between inner unity and outer unity introduced by Alois Riegl, to distinguish works which assign a place to the viewer in front of the image from others, are unknown to many art historians. Heinrich Wölfflin's fundamental concepts are not regularly taught any more. Could the reason be that such concepts are supposed to operate across different eras and cultures - which seems to rarely be the case with their more successful conceptual counterparts?
If Immanuel Kant is right and perception without concept is blind, many differences can only be seen clearly once there is a conceptual distinction. Without an acute sense for concepts, some art historical texts may of course be hard to understand, but the specificity of certain artworks may also not appear clearly. We thus want to focus on what "can be generalized beyond the single case" (Christian Janecke) and try to understand the potential and the limits of generalization in art history.
After some introductory reflections on the concept of concept from a philosophical and conceptual history perspective, we will analyze and discuss art-historical and image-theoretical texts, which aim at developing concepts. The students will learn, to read text for the concept, to reflect them critically and to develop them further. The readings will be completed with image analysis, where the distinctions will be tried.
The choice of concepts will be made in the preparatory session. The students will be able to submit concepts which they would like to work on (and are encouraged to do so in relation to their bachelor or master's thesis as well as other classes). They can also choose concepts among those suggested by the professor. The final choice of texts will be made based on the concepts. We want to focus on those that aim at universality, like the concepts developed by Wölfflin.
N.B. Cf. Texts for choice of possible concepts

Assessment and permitted materials

Active class participation, presentation of one or several concepts based on chosen texts, application of concepts to chosen artworks

Minimum requirements and assessment criteria

Regular participation, presentation and regularly writing analytical texts
Criteria: Precision of your analysis and arguments.

Examination topics

Reading list

N.B. The final choice follows the concepts chosen

Possible concepts (others based on the first session):

Style/Mode (Poussin, Bialostocki), natural sign/artificial sign (Plato, G. E. Lessing), spatial art/temporal art (G.E. Lessing), pregnant moment (Shaftesbury/Lessing/Gombrich), Description/narration (Svetlana Alpers, Georges Didi-Huberman, Jan Bialastocki), continuierend, distinguierend, completierend (Wickhoff/Weitzmann), Punctum/Studium (Roland Barthes), Index (C.S. Peirce, Rosalind Krauss), Inner Unity/Outer Unity ; Absorption/Teatricality (Alois Riegl, Michael Fried), Wimmelbildnerei (Christian Janecke)…

James A. Ackerman, « A Theory of Style », The Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism Vol. 20, No. 3 (Spring, 1962), S. 227-237
Jan Bialostocki, « Das Modusproblem in den bildenden Künsten: Zur Vorgeschichte und zum Nachleben des "Modusbriefes" von Nicolas Poussin », Zeitschrift für Kunstgeschichte, 24. Bd., H. 2 (1961), S. 128-141
Jan Białostocki, « Einfache Nachahmung der Natur oder symbolische Weltschau », Zeitschrift für Kunstgeschichte, 47. Bd., H. 4 (1984), S. 421-438
Margit Pernau: « Einführung: Neue Wege der Begriffsgeschichte », Geschichte und Gesellschaft, 44. Jahrg., H. 1, Neue Wege der Begriffsgeschichte (Januar - März 2018), S. 5-28
Christian Janecke: Maschen der Kunst, zu Klampen Verlag, 2011
Stefan Jordan/Jürgen Müller (Hg.): Grundbegriffe der Kunstwissenschaft, Reclam, 2018
George Kubler, The Shape of Time, Yale University Press, 1962
Meyer Schapiro, « Style », Anthropology Today, 1953, S. 287-311
Heinrich Wölfflin, Kunstgeschichtliche Grundbegriffe, F. Bruckmann A.-G., 1915

Association in the course directory

Last modified: Th 18.03.2021 21:48