Quotes About Art History

Quotes tagged as "art-history" (showing 1-30 of 48)
Terry Eagleton
“Because subjects like literature and art history have no obvious material pay-off, they tend to attract those who look askance at capitalist notions of utility. The idea of doing something purely for the delight of it has always rattled the grey-bearded guardians of the state. Sheer pointlessness has always been a deeply subversive affair.”
Terry Eagleton

Thomas Bernhard
“The art historians are the real wreckers of art, Reger said. The art historians twaddle so long about art until they have killed it with their twaddle. Art is killed by the twaddle of the art historians. My God, I often think, sitting here on the settee while the art historians are driving their helpless flocks past me, what a pity about all these people who have all art driven out of them, driven out of them for good, by these very art historians. The art historians’ trade is the vilest trade there is, and a twaddling art historian, but then there are only twaddling art historians, deserves to be chased out with a whip, chased out of the world of art, Reger said, all art historians deserve to be chased out of the world of art, because art historians are the real wreckers of art and we should not allow art to be wrecked by the art historians who are really art wreckers. Listening to an art historian we feel sick, he said, by listening to an art historian we see the art he is twaddling about being ruined, with the twaddle of the art historian art shrivels and is ruined. Thousands, indeed tens of thousands of art historians wreck art by their twaddle and ruin it, he said. The art historians are the real killers of art, if we listen to an art historian we participate in the wrecking of art, wherever an art historian appears art is wrecked, that is the truth.”
Thomas Bernhard, Old Masters: A Comedy

Wendy Beckett
“Eccentric and secret genius that he was, Bosch not only moved the heart, but scandalized it into full awareness. The sinister and monstrous things that he brought forth are the hidden creatures of our inward self-love: he externalizes the ugliness within, and so his misshapen demons have an effect beyond curiosity. We feel a hateful kinship with them. The Ship of Fools is not about other people. It is about us.”
Wendy Beckett, The Story of Painting

Elizabeth Kostova
“A shame that these images had become iconic, a tune we were all tired of humming.”
Elizabeth Kostova, The Swan Thieves

“‎"I was born in the US and l have lived in Mexico since 1946. I believe that all these states of being have influenced my work and made it what you see today. I am inspired by Black people and Mexican people, my two peoples. My art speaks for both my peoples" ~ Elizabeth Catlett”
Melanie Anne Herzog

“The artists of this nation - state are, taken as one historical subject, one of 'latecomers' to the smorgasbord of the artistic pantheon.Even if Sweden as a nation-state thus seems to have been excluded from the world art history its contemporary arts infrastructure presently makes the country a much more vital place of production.”
Charlotte Bydler

Camille Paglia
“The only road to freedom is self-education in art. Art is not a luxury for any advanced
civilization; it is a necessity, without which creative intelligence will wither and die. Even
in economically troubled times, support for the arts should be a national imperative.
Dance, for example, requires funding not only to secure safe, roomy rehearsal space but
to preserve the indispensible continuity of the teacher-student link. American culture has
become unbalanced by its obsession with the blood sport of politics, a voracious vortex
consuming everything in its path. History shows that, for both individuals and nations,
political power is transient. America's true legacy is its ideal of liberty, which has inspired
insurgencies around the world. Politicians and partisans of both the Right and the Left
must recognize that art too is a voice of liberty, requiring nurture without intrusion. Art
unites the spiritual and material realms. In an age of alluring, magical machines, the
society that forgets art risks losing its soul.”
Camille Paglia

“The notion of displacement destabilizes spatial hierarchies of senders and receivers, and turns the issue of historical causality into one or more negotiable genealogy and interpretative communities.”
Charlotte Bydler

“[...] a familiar art historical narrative [...] celebrates the triumph of the expressive individual over the collective, of innovation over tradition, and autonomy over interdependence. [...] In fact, a common trope within the modernist tradition of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries involved the attempt to reconstruct or recover the lost ideal of an art that is integrated with, rather than alienated from, the social. By and large, however, the dominant model of avant-garde art during the modern period assumes that shared or collective values and systems of meaning are necessarily repressive and incapable of generating new insight or grounding creative praxis.”
Grant H. Kester, The One and the Many: Contemporary Collaborative Art in a Global Context

“So what's the point of longing for a new, monumental category hidden somewhere in the non-Western discourse? On the contrary, shouldn't we emphasize that Western art historical thinking has not necessarily to be regarded as monumental? This would be a good condition for dialogue with scholars who are not (or do not want to be) affiliated with "our" tradition.”
Ralph Ubl

“The notions of hybridity, metissage, cosmopolitanism have been deployed and reworked in order to capture the polycentric and polysemic aspects of these new configurations.”
Okwui Enwezor

“One early terracotta statuette from Catal Huyuk in Anatolia depicts an enthroned female in the act of giving birth, supported by two cat-like animals that form her seat (Plate 1). This figure has been identified as a 'birth goddess' and it is this type of early image that has led a number of feminist scholars to posit a 'reign of the goddess' in ancient Near Eastern prehistory. Maria Gimbutas, for whom such images are proof of a perfect matriarchal society in 'Old Europe' , presents an ideal vision in which a socially egalitarian matriarchal culture was overthrown by a destructive patriarchy (Gimbutas 1991). Gerda Lerner has argued for a similar situation in the ancient Near East; however, she does not discuss nude figurines at any length (Lerner 1986a: 147). More recently, critiques of the matriarchal model of prehistory have pointed out the flaws in this methodology (e.g. Conkey and Tringham 1995; Meskell 1995; Goodison and Morris 1998). In all these critiques the identification of such figures as goddesses is rejected as a modern myth. There is no archaeological evidence that these ancient communities were in fact matriarchal, nor is there any evidence that female deities were worshipped exclusively. Male gods may have worshipped simultaneously with the 'mother goddesses' if such images are indeed representations of deities. Nor do such female figures glorify or show admiration for the female body; rather they essentialise it, reducing it to nothing more nor less than a reproductive vessel. The reduction of the head and the diminution of the extremities seem to stress the female form as potentially reproductive, but to what extent this condition was seen as sexual, erotic or matriarchal is unclear.
....Despite the correct rejection of the 'Mother Goddess' and utopian matriarchy myths by recent scholarship, we should not loose track of the overwhelming evidence that the image of female nudity was indeed one of power in ancient Mesopotamia. The goddess Ishtar/Inanna was but one of several goddesses whose erotic allure was represented as a powerful attribute in the literature of the ancient Near East. In contact to the naked male body which was the focus of a variety of meanings in the visual arts, female nudity was always associated with sexuality, and in particular with powerful sexual attraction, Akkadian *kuzbu*. This sexuality was not limited to Ishtar and her cult. As a literary topos, sensuousness is a defining quality for both mortal women and goddesses. In representational art, the nude woman is portrayed in a provocative pose, as the essence of the feminine. For femininity, sexual allure, *kuzbu*, the ideal of the feminine, was thus expressed as nudity in both visual and verbal imagery. While several iconographic types of unclothed females appear in Mesopotamian representations of the historical period - nursing mothers, women in acts of sexual intercourse, entertainers such as dancers and musicians, and isolated frontally represented nudes with or without other attributes - and while these nude female images may have different iconographic functions, the ideal of femininity and female sexuality portrayed in them is similar.

-Zainab Bahrani, Women of Babylon: Gender and Representation in Mesopotamia”
Zainab Bahrani

Anne Rice
“... from the classically executed lifelike bouquets, tempting you to reach for the petals that fell on a three-dimensional tablecloth, to a new and disturbing style in which the colors seemed to blaze with such intensity they destroyed the old lines, the old solidity, to make a vision like those states which I'm nearest my delirium and flowers grow before my eyes and crackle like the flames of lamps.”
Anne Rice, Interview with the Vampire

“It is a story of utopian dreams and belief in the future, but also one that involves a critique of modernity.”
Sverker Sörlin

“The homage paid to the fragment and the dismantling of the large narratives had had their spatial counterpart in the lack of integrated and conceptual vision of urban construction, and perhaps also of social construction.”
Sverker Sörlin

“The most frequently cited artists and curators travel extensively and there is a real difference in saying whether concepts and other contributions to the current contemporary arts agenda bear a recognizable cultural, or even national, identity.”
Charlotte Bydler

Erwin Panofsky
“But what is the use of the humanities as such? Admittedly they are not practical, and admittedly they concern themselves with the past. Why, it may be asked, should we engage in impractical investigations, and why should we be interested in the past?

The answer to the first question is: because we are interested in reality. Both the humanities and the natural sciences, as well as mathematics and philosophy, have the impractical outlook of what the ancients called vita contemplativa as opposed to vita activa. But is the contemplative life less real or, to be more precise, is its contribution to what we call reality less important, than that of the active life?

The man who takes a paper dollar in exchange for twenty-five apples commits an act of faith, and subjects himself to a theoretical doctrine, as did the mediaeval man who paid for indulgence. The man who is run over by an automobile is run over by mathematics, physics and chemistry. For he who leads the contemplative life cannot help influencing the active, just as he cannot prevent the active life from influencing his thought. Philosophical and psychological theories, historical doctrines and all sorts of speculations and discoveries, have changed, and keep changing, the lives of countless millions. Even he who merely transmits knowledge or learning participates, in his modest way, in the process of shaping reality - of which fact the enemies of humanism are perhaps more keenly aware than its friends. It is impossible to conceive of our world in terms of action alone. Only in God is there a "Coincidence of Act and Thought" as the scholastics put it. Our reality can only be understood as an interpenetration of these two.”
Erwin Panofsky, Meaning in the Visual Arts

George Pratt
“We lost Klimmt, Schiele and Moll”
George Pratt, Enemy Ace: War Idyll

“Art history is a global version of that old children's game Chinese whispers.”
Grayson Perry, Playing to the Gallery

“I have heard of you- a kind of revolutionary. Hard to be a revolutionary in the deadly museum business.”
Thomas Hoving, Making the Mummies Dance: Inside the Metropolitan Museum of Art

“The fact that Ishtar's sexual encounters usually mingle eroticism with violence was pointed out by Harris (1990: 264). However, it is not because Ishtar shatters the boundaries of her sex by proposing marriage (a masculine act) that Gilgamesh is frightened.
-Women of Babylon: Gender and representation in Mesopotamia”
Zainab Bahrani

Danika Stone
“There seemed to be as much written about the art, and what the dialogue meant, as the paintings themselves. Clement Greenburg had been the first of many. It drove her crazy, the convoluted doubletalk of artist and medium and historian. Though she loved the process of creation and the images themselves, she found it difficult to put her thoughts into words.”
Danika Stone, Intaglio: Dragons All The Way Down

John Shearman
“If we say that a person has style we may wish to imply that he is unnatural, affected, self-conscious or ostentatious. In the sixteenth century 'maniera' was generally a desirable attribute of a work of art, but this positive aspect was accompanied by the realization of the negative one that correspond to what we now call, derogatively, stylization.”
John Shearman, Mannerism

John Shearman
“The modern tendency towards increasing specialization in all branches of research and scholarship has discouraged comparative studies of the arts; and what we seldom do we generally distrust. But our distrust of analogies was not shared by the sixteenth century, which inherited from antiquity a habit of drawing parallels as a matter of course.”
John Shearman, Mannerism

“In my art history degree course, we did a module on palimpsests—medieval sheets of parchment so costly that, once the text was no longer needed, the sheets were simply scraped clean and reused, leaving the old writing faintly visible through the new. Later, Renaissance artists used the word pentimenti, repentances, to describe mistakes or alterations that were covered with new paint, only to be revealed years or even centuries later as the paint thinned with time, leaving both the original and the revision on view.

Sometimes I have a sense that this house—our relationship in it, with it, with each other—is like a palimpsest or pentimento, that however much we try to overpaint Emma Matthews, she keeps tiptoeing back: a faint image, an enigmatic smile, stealing its way into the corner of the frame.”
J.P. Delaney, The Girl Before

Siri Hustvedt
“I am fascinated that no one I have read seems to have noticed that the literature on Picasso continually turns grown-up women into girls.”
Siri Hustvedt, A Woman Looking at Men Looking at Women: Essays on Art, Sex, and the Mind

Siri Hustvedt
“The history of art is full of women lying around naked for erotic consumption by men.”
Siri Hustvedt, A Woman Looking at Men Looking at Women: Essays on Art, Sex, and the Mind

Arthur C. Danto
“I do not think it possible to convey the moral energy that went into this division between abstraction and realism, from both sides, in those years. It had an almost theological intensity, and in another stage of civilization there would certainly have been burnings at stake.”
Arthur C. Danto, After the End of Art: Contemporary Art and the Pale of History

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