PRINT September 1979


For D.N.

ART HISTORY BEGAN IN the same period to which we often trace the origins of modern art. When Johann Joachim Winckelmann’s History of Ancient Art appeared, in 1764, European art was undergoing Enlightenment transformation, changing from an art that flattered aristocracies whose Baroque glory had faded into Rococo delight, to an advanced middle-class art with intellectual concerns, a new art expressing itself by recourse to the timeless lucidity and moral perfection of revived classical forms. This was a great period for the critical mind, and a constructive one for the historical mind.

Scientific archaeology had begun to reveal essential dichotomies between Greek and Roman art, and this new knowledge had artistic as well as political consequences. Before, classical architecture and sculpture had seemed more or less a unity, and its splendor and authority had been readily borrowed by

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