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The advantages and disadvantages of Art History to Life: Alois Riegl and historicism

Reynolds Cordileone, Diana (2010) The advantages and disadvantages of Art History to Life: Alois Riegl and historicism. Journal of Art Historiography (3). ISSN 2042-4752

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URL of Published Version: https://arthistoriography.wordpress.com/26-jun22/

Identification Number/DOI: 10.48352/uobxjah.00004240


Alois Riegl was one of the seminal art historians of the early twentieth century, but very little is known about his career as adjunct-curator of textiles at the Austrian Museum for Art and Industry. He worked at the Museum from 1884 and combined this position with University teaching until he left this post to become a full Professor of Art History at the University of Vienna in 1897. While interest in Riegl has shown no signs of abating in recent years, most scholars continue to debate Riegl’s theories and methods. The aim of this paper, however, is to demonstrate just how much of Riegl’s theorizing was brought into focus by practical issues at the Museum for Art and Industry. As recent studies have indicated, Riegl was much more than an ivory tower theoretician; his work reverberated with the type of cross-disciplinary cultural criticism we associate with the intellectual life of fin-de-siècle Vienna. Another goal of this paper is to contribute to our expanding understanding of Riegl in his social and institutional contexts. Finally, it traces ways in which Riegl used his early exposure to Nietzsche, particularly Nietzsche’s second Untimely Meditation (The advantages and disadvantages of History to life) to craft his responses to contemporary artistic and social crises in the final decade of the nineteenth century.

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:November 2010
Keywords:Alois Riegl, historicism, Austrian Museum for Art and Industry, Renaissance Debate, Friedrich Nietzsche, Kunstgewerbe, historismus
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:4240
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