By Elizabeth Mansfield
Paintings historical past and Its associations makes a speciality of the institutional discourses that formed and proceed to form the sphere from its origin within the 19th century. From museums and universities to legislation courts, hard work firms and images studios, participants learn more than a few associations, contemplating their impression on pursuits comparable to modernism, their position in conveying or denying legitimacy, and their effect of defining the parameters of the self-discipline.
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Additional info for Art History and Its Institutions: The Nineteenth Century
This was his translation of a phrase by the French poet Paul Valéry (“le temps est passé où le temps ne comptait pas”). Valéry was writing on the passing of patient, time-consuming handicrafts (miniatures, ivory carving, lacquering, etc). Benjamin understood that Valéry had exposed a deep paradox at the heart of the modern sense of time and history; it was in fact this paradox that had preoccupied Benjamin for much of his career. It is, in short, that a time when time itself didn’t seem to pass could itself pass – and that in its passing, not only would a particular time (an epoch) have passed, but time itself was at stake, passing away.
This fluid admixture of materialism and narrativity makes the Arcades Project an especially promising template for an institutionally focused history of art history. 19 The Arcades Project may also be taken as exemplary in its very form. 20 Alternately fleeting and sustained, focused and indirect, the present state of the Arcades Project reveals that sidelong scrutiny is often best for observing the flickering effects of ideology. Benjamin’s mode, therefore, as well as his method offer promising models for a study of art history as a discipline shaped by modernism and its institutions.
14 This comment reveals itself to be something of a red herring, however, as his concluding remarks point to a different purpose: It is possible, I think, by some such methods to circumvent our native prejudices and predilections and to acquire a more alert passivity in our attitude. And it is by cultivating such an attitude that we can best, I think, increase the delicacy and sensibility of our reception of the messages of the present artists. 15 Initially vowing allegiance to the discipline’s positive or “scientific” strain, Fry ultimately offers a passionate defense of art history’s association with aesthetic idealism.
Art History and Its Institutions: The Nineteenth Century by Elizabeth Mansfield