'No other period so clearly contradicts the theory of Taine, according to which art is strictly determined by environment.' p.10
Unfortunately this em'No other period so clearly contradicts the theory of Taine, according to which art is strictly determined by environment.' p.10
Unfortunately this emphasis proves something of a thematic cul-de-sac. Comments immediately following this statement regarding the Counter-Reformation and the deliberations of the Council of Trent seem to deliberately undermine the argument that art is unique from its historical context. More perverse, considering this opening salvo, is that Bazin then proceeds to divide his study of the Baroque along geographical rather than stylistic lines. What results is entirely unsatisfactory; the book becomes little more than a well-illustrated timeline, the reader bombarded with lists of artists whilst their place in the Baroque canon is assumed to be, to all intents and purposes, self-evident. And whilst schools are established based on the influence of particular artists there is very little examination of the motives of these originals. So so-and-so visited Napoli and came under the influence of certain paintings by Caravaggio. Yet there is only cursory contextual discussion about why Caravaggio painted the way he did and why this might have seemed simultaneously so appealing and revolutionary to his peers (and which could have been achieved without overwhelming the book's commitment to providing a broad overview).
Having emerged from an extended tussle with Timothy Garton Ash I couldn't help but be reminded of the 'illusion of retrospective determinism' about which Ranke warned and Garton Ash repeatedly refers. ...more
Primarily a study of post-Renaissance architecture, Wolfflin's concentration on the 'painterly' provides wider insight into baroque style. OriginallyPrimarily a study of post-Renaissance architecture, Wolfflin's concentration on the 'painterly' provides wider insight into baroque style. Originally published toward the end of the nineteenth century, Wolfflin also fails to make the more modern distinction between the later Baroque and what we now define as the Mannerist style that directly preceded the High Renaissance. Often sweeping in its judgements, there is, nonetheless, something undoubtedly compelling about his writing in full flow. ...more
''The word 'Baroque', as I shall use it in this book, denotes, first of all, the predominant artistic trends of the period that is roughly comprehende''The word 'Baroque', as I shall use it in this book, denotes, first of all, the predominant artistic trends of the period that is roughly comprehended by the seventeenth century... The period offers, it is true, a spectacle of works of art of quite astonishing variety, and it may seem futile to maintain that these products of different countries, different economic and political institutions and different forms of religious belief can have anything in common beyond mere contemporaneousness. If unity is to be discovered within this diversity, it is evident that what we must look for is not any well-defined uniformity of style, but the embodiment of certain widely held ideas, attitudes and assumptions.'' p.12 ...more