Vienna School Reader by Christopher S. Wood
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Vienna School Reader
By Christopher S. Wood

Vienna School Reader

Politics and Art Historical Method in the 1930s

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Format: Paperback

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Vienna School Reader by Christopher S. Wood

Book Description

This book introduces to an English-language audience the writings of the so-called New Vienna School of art history. In the 1930s Hans Sedlmayr (1896-1984) and Otto Pacht (1902-1988) undertook an ambitious extension of the formalist art historical project of Alois Riegl (1858-1905). Sedlmayr and Pacht began with an aestheticist conception of the autonomy and irreducibility of the artistic process. At the same time they believed they could read entire cultures and worldviews in the work of art. The key to this contextualist alchemy was the concept of "structure," a kind of deep formal property that the work of art shared with the world. Sedlmayr and Pacht's project immediately caught the attention of thinkers like Walter Benjamin who were similarly impatient with traditional empiricist scholarship. But the new project had its dark side. Sedlmayr used art history as a vehicle for a sweeping critique of modernity that soon escalated into nationalist and outright fascist polemic, even while Pacht, a Jew, was forced into exile. Sedlmayr and the whole scholarly project of Strukturanalyse were sharply repudiated by Meyer Schapiro and later Ernst Gombrich. After an introductory essay, the book opens with two selections from Riegl. Following this are essays by Sedlmayr, Pacht, Guido Kaschnitz-Weinberg, and Fritz Novotny, all dating from the 1930s. The book closes with the divergent responses of Benjamin (1933) and Schapiro (1936). The difference of opinion between these two key voices raises again the question of the legitimacy and effectiveness of the method, and reveals the analogies between the New Vienna School project and the antiempiricist cultural histories of our own time. The book also contains an extensive bibliography.

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Book Details

ISBN: 9781890951153
ISBN-10: 1890951153
Format: Paperback
(229mm x 152mm x 38mm)
Pages: 488
Imprint: Zone Books
Publisher: Zone Books
Publish Date: 3-Oct-2003
Country of Publication: United States

Other Editions...


Books By Author Christopher S. Wood

Anachronic Renaissance by Christopher S. Wood Anachronic Renaissance, Hardback (May 2010)

A reconsideration of the problem of time in the Renaissance, examining the complex and layered temporalities of Renaissance images and artifacts.

Albrecht Altdorfer and the Origins of Landscape by Christopher S. Wood Albrecht Altdorfer and the Origins of Landscape, Paperback (March 1999)

The first independent or 'pure' landscapes in Western art were produced in southern Germany in the first decades of the sixteenth century. This book shows how Altdorfer prised landscape out of its subsidiary role as setting and background for narrative history painting and devotional works, and gave it an independent life of its own.

Perspective as Symbolic Form by Christopher S. Wood Perspective as Symbolic Form, Paperback (January 1997)

Erwin Panofsky's Perspective as Symbolic Form is one of the great works of modern intellectual history, the legendary text that has dominated all art historical and philosophical discussions on the topic of perspective in this century.

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Author Biography - Christopher S. Wood

Christopher S. Wood is Professor in the Department of History of Art, Yale University. He is the author of Albrecht Altdorfer and the Origins of Landscape, and the editor of The Vienna School Reader: Politics and Art Historical Method in the 1930s (Zone Books, 2000).

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