List of illustrations

  • Portrait of Johann Joachim Winckelmann
  • History of the Art of Antiquity: Antique engraved gem
  • History of the Art of Antiquity: Title-page
  • Hermes
  • Unpublished Antique Monuments: Roman relief with the portrait of Antinous in the Villa Albani
  • History of the Art of Antiquity: Archaic Greek coins
  • Tetradrachm from Syracuse with the head of Arethusa
  • Decadrachm from Syracuse with the head of Arethusa
  • Tetradrachm from Macedonia with the head of Zeus
  • Tetradrachm from Macedonia with the head of Hercules
  • Drachma from Syracuse with the head of Persephone
  • Apollo Sauroktonos
  • Unpublished Antique Monuments: The Apollo Sauroktonos in the Villa Borghese
  • Barberini Muse or Apollo Barberini
  • Niobe
  • Laocoön
  • Niobe, detail of head
  • Laocoön, detail of head and shoulders
  • Apollo Belvedere
  • Apollo Belvedere, detail of head and shoulders
  • Apollo Belvedere, detail of torso
  • Apollo Belvedere, detail of legs
  • Farnese Hercules
  • Ilissus, from the Parthenon
  • Venus de' Medici
  • Athena Farnese
  • Athena Farnese, detail of head
  • Laocoön, detail of head
  • Laocoön, detail of lower torso and legs
  • Laocoön, detail of flank
  • Hermes
  • Hermes, detail of head and shoulders
  • Hermes, detail of torso
  • Borghese Genius or Cupid
  • Monumenti Scelti Borghesiani: the Borghese Genius or Cupid
  • Belvedere Torso
  • Belvedere Torso
  • Belvedere Torso
  • Belvedere Torso
  • Unpublished Antique Monuments: A faun's head in the Villa Albani
  • The Intervention of the Sabine Women
  • The Death of Bara
  • Leonidas at the Pass of Thermopylae
  • Westmacott Athlete
  • Wounded Amazon
  • Wounded Amazon, detail of torso
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Description: Flesh and the Ideal: Winckelmann and the Origins of Art History
Contents
PublisherYale University Press
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Description: Flesh and the Ideal: Winckelmann and the Origins of Art History
I wish to acknowledge a number of people for the role they played, sometimes unwittingly, in the shaping of this book. The names that follow trace important encounters that helped me rethink and give substance to what I was doing—some shedding new light on problems over which I kept stumbling or offering me fresh perspectives when I seemed stuck in a blind alley, others prompting me to spell out my preoccupations and prevent these from becoming merely private obsessions. The stimulus often came …
PublisherYale University Press
Description: Flesh and the Ideal: Winckelmann and the Origins of Art History
Winckelmann’s writing particularly repays a close reading now because of his unusually eloquent account of the imaginative charge of the Greek ideal in art. In his impassioned attempt to reconstitute it, he invoked not just the utopian aspirations but also the darker anxieties that made it so compelling. He showed an unusually acute awareness of the psychic and ideological tensions inherent in its image of an impossibly whole and fully embodied human subjectivity. In other words, he took the …
PublisherYale University Press

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Description: Flesh and the Ideal: Winckelmann and the Origins of Art History
Winckelmann’s History of the Art of Antiquity soon acquired an international reputation after it was published in German in 1764. Initially it reached a non-German public by way of extracts and summaries in literary journals such as the Journal Encyclopédique and then by a succession of Italian and French translations, the first of which appeared in French in 1766. The book originated from and spoke eloquently to a cosmopolitan European community for which ancient Rome was a crucial point of …
PublisherYale University Press

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Description: Flesh and the Ideal: Winckelmann and the Origins of Art History
Under the grip of deconstructionist thought, we are perhaps inordinately aware of the gap separating the fictional coherence of master narratives and the disparate bits and pieces that make up the facts of history. On this basis, Winckelmann’s ambition to create a new systematic history of Greek art, encompassing its fragmentary remains in a single coherent narrative of rise and decline, might seem quite alien. He if anyone is the patriarch of modern art-historical story-telling. But this, as we …
PublisherYale University Press

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Description: Flesh and the Ideal: Winckelmann and the Origins of Art History
The novelty of Winckelmann’s history of ancient art did not just consist of his representing the entire history of the ancient Greek and Roman tradition in terms of a systematic pattern of rise and decline. He also gave this bare schema a more richly articulated, specifically visual character by tracing the evolution of ancient Greek art through an archaic, a high, a beautiful, and an imitative phase. The crucial distinction he introduced between the high and the beautiful, as two equally valid …
PublisherYale University Press

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Description: Flesh and the Ideal: Winckelmann and the Origins of Art History
This chapter takes as its point of departure a puzzle—the apparently paradoxical gendering that occurs when Winckelmann exemplifies the sublime style by a female figure, the Niobe (Plate 15), and the beautiful style by a male one, the Laocoon (Plate 16). At one level he appears to be reversing conventional sexual paradigms. In the aesthetics of the period the sublime, with its intimations of power, elevation, or austerity, was usually associated with the masculine, and the beautiful, with its …
PublisherYale University Press

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Description: Flesh and the Ideal: Winckelmann and the Origins of Art History
In theory, the Greek ideal should appear entirely whole and centred, its harmoniously poised body the very model of a similarly constituted ideal subjectivity. It still needed, however, to bear some trace of the deep-seated disturbances that motivated the fantasies of ideal oneness it embodied. It had to appear untouched by contradiction and difference even as its affective power drew upon anxieties associated with the ‘real’ divisions of the self, for only on condition that it did not entirely …
PublisherYale University Press

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Description: Flesh and the Ideal: Winckelmann and the Origins of Art History
The disjunctions that occur in the utopian projections of freedom and desire in Winckelmann’s account of ancient Greek art are of interest precisely because they have a larger logic that cannot be explained in terms of his own particular predicament. The logic is one inherent in the constitution of the Greek ideal in eighteenth-century culture, and also still echoed in conceptions of art current in our own day. Nevertheless, Winckelmann’s project, the recovery of an ideal art that would embody …
PublisherYale University Press

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Description: Flesh and the Ideal: Winckelmann and the Origins of Art History
Among many ways in which I might have defined the historical afterlife of Winckelmann’s work, I have deliberately singled out two very loaded engagements with his image of the Greek ideal, the first connected with the politics of the 1789 French Revolution and the second with late nineteenth-century aestheticism and definitions of homosexual identity. In each instance, a distinctive combination of historical circumstances made Winckelmann’s conception of Greek art particularly compelling as the …
PublisherYale University Press

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Description: Flesh and the Ideal: Winckelmann and the Origins of Art History
Frequently Cited Sources
PublisherYale University Press
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Description: Flesh and the Ideal: Winckelmann and the Origins of Art History
Photographic Credits
PublisherYale University Press
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Description: Flesh and the Ideal: Winckelmann and the Origins of Art History
Index
PublisherYale University Press
Flesh and the Ideal: Winckelmann and the Origins of Art History
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