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Delineating the history of art literature by genre: Julius von Schlosser revisited

Rosenberg, Raphael (2021) Delineating the history of art literature by genre: Julius von Schlosser revisited. Journal of Art Historiography (24). ISSN 2042-4752

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URL of Published Version: https://arthistoriography.files.wordpress.com/2021/05/rosenberg.pdf

Identification Number/DOI: https://doi.org/10.48352/uobxjah.00003429


Julius von Schlosser’s Die Kunstliteratur (1924) is a monumental handbook that has been used by generations of art historians. The present paper provides the first systematic analysis of its genesis alongside Schlosser’s biography from 1891 on – his objectives, his path and his doubts. Schlosser redefined the study of written sources in art history by shifting the focus to literary texts. He distanced himself from the study of archival documents (which tended to serve the histories of individual artworks) and instead sought to gain broader knowledge of the ‘spirit’ of each epoch. Around 1922 he envisioned a more modern ‘theory and history of art historiography’, although nothing ever came of it. The second part of the paper shows that, even before 1924, there were attempts to write histories of art literature with sources organised by literary genres and not, as with Schlosser, according to epochs. It argues that the following categories had a major impact on the artistic discourse in early modern Europe: treatises on the arts, artist biographies, histories of artistic monuments, monographs on single artworks, poetry about artworks, topographical works, collection and exhibition catalogues, and art criticism.

Type of Work:Article
School/Faculty:Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Arts & Law
Department:Department of Art History, Curating and Visual Studies
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Date:June 2021
Keywords:Julius von Schlosser, Albert Dresdner, art literature, art discourse, art criticism, literary genres, treatises on the arts
Subjects:N Fine Arts > NX Arts in general
Copyright Status:Copyright for articles published in this journal is retained by the authors, with first publication rights granted to the journal. Authors may subsequently archive and publish the pdfs as produced by the journal. By virtue of their appearance in this open access journal, articles are free to use, with proper attribution, in educational and other non-commercial settings. Copyright restrictions apply to the use of any images contained within the articles. This work is licensed under a CC BY-NC 4.0 International License https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/
ID Code:3429
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