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Convenient misunderstandings: Winckelmann’s History of Art and the reception of meteorocultural models in Britain

Sarafianos , Aris (2021) Convenient misunderstandings: Winckelmann’s History of Art and the reception of meteorocultural models in Britain. Journal of Art Historiography (25). ISSN 2042-4752

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URL of Published Version: https://arthistoriography.wordpress.com/25-dec21/

Identification Number/DOI: https://doi.org/10.48352/UOBXJAH.00003462


This essay deals with two much misunderstood aspects of Winckelmann’s work, his notion of the relations between art and climate and the fierce disputes his environmental model of culture engendered in Britain. Revisiting present-day suspicions towards Winckelmann’s climate language as a reductive and determinist ‘curiosity’, this essay aims to restore its historical significance as an interactive way of exploring the interconnectedness between the development of art and its changing material contexts, and to reveal its special place in the birth of art history as a discipline.

The study of the British reception of Winckelmann’s climate theory remains a rich resource in the critical understanding and historiographical evaluation of his contribution in art history. The controversies it generated produced a mixed and fragmented picture. This essay retrieves the many social, professional, and national interests embedded in these climate-related controversies in art and suggests that such competing motivations marked indelibly understandings of Winckelmann’s art historical model as well as his standing in Britain.

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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This article is archived in ePapers for preservation purposes

Date:December 2021
Keywords:ancient Greece, climate, context, cultural history, Hippocrates, James Barry, medicine, moral and physical causes, sensation, Winckelmann and reception
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:3462
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