The Vienna School of Art History: Empire and the Politics of Scholarship, 1847-1918 (Hardback)Matthew Rampley (author)
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Matthew Rampley's The Vienna School of Art History is the first book in over seventy-five years to study in depth and in context the practices of art history from 1847, the year the first teaching position in the discipline was created, to 1918, the collapse of Austria-Hungary. It traces the emergence of art history as a discipline, the establishment of norms of scholarly inquiry, and the involvement of art historians in wider debates about the cultural and political identity of the monarchy.
The so-called Vienna School plays the central role in the study, but Rampley also examines the formation of art history elsewhere in Austria-Hungary. Located in the Habsburg imperial capital, Vienna art historians frequently became entangled in debates that were of importance to art historians elsewhere in the Empire, and Rampley pays particular attention to these areas of overlapping interest. He also analyzes the methodological innovations for which the Vienna School was well known. Rampley focuses most fully, however, on the larger political and ideological context of the practice of art history-particularly the way in which art-historical debates served as proxies for wider arguments over the political, social, and cultural life of the Habsburg Empire.
Publisher: Pennsylvania State University Press
Number of pages: 296
Weight: 794 g
Dimensions: 254 x 178 x 27 mm
"This is the most commendable art-historical text to come my way in a long time, a major intellectual achievement on all fronts. Very much to his credit, Rampley writes in gracefully lucid language, something that cannot be said about many scholars attracted to this material."
-Michael Yonan, Austrian History Yearbook
"Matthew Rampley's recent study The Vienna School of Art History: Empire and the Politics of Scholarship, 1847-1918 presents an interesting corrective to simplistic definitions of 'German art history,' for it investigates the effects of a multilingual discipline upon institutional discourses. His arguments move the methodological problems analysed in Frank and Adler's collection right into the heart of European politics by offering a thorough and sustained interrogation not of the methods per se, but of the relationship between the idea of scientific method and liberalism."
-Francesco Ventrella, Art History
"The first quality one might expect in yet another book on [this] subject would be a fair and consistent referencing of . . . secondary literature. With The Vienna School of Art History: Empire and the Politics of Scholarship, 1847-1918, Matthew Rampley fulfills this expectation meticulously; indeed the latter quality pervades the work as a whole, deftly managing a large body of information and complex thought within what is not an overly long book."
-Stefan Muthesius, CAA.Reviews
"Matthew Rampley's status as one of the foremost scholars of the historiography of art is on full display in this meticulously researched and detailed account of the rise of the first Vienna School of art history. . . . Rampley's book is a necessary corrective and addition to the existing scholarship on the Vienna School."
-Max Koss, CritCom: A Forum for Research and Commentary on Europe
"Most art historians know a little about the Vienna School of art history, and many of them have read a couple of essays from that formative period, especially those by Riegl or Dvorak. Yet none, I wager, has ever attempted to envision an entire social and intellectual biography of this complicated and contradictory culture that spawned the serious beginnings of the history of art. A learned historiographer to the core, Matthew Rampley has accomplished just that feat. Packed with erudition (not to mention endnotes!), this hefty text (in more ways than one) serves to provide telling episodes from early German-speaking art history across the imperial Habsburg map."
-Michael Ann Holly, Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute
"Matthew Rampley's lucid book is the first truly synthetic study of the first Vienna School of art history, one that does a magnificent job of placing the school in the context of the cultural politics of the late Habsburg Empire. Drawing on a wealth of sources in many of the Empire's languages, Rampley shows how the school's most famous members-Alois Riegl, Max Dvorak, Josef Strzygowski-fit into a much richer and wider set of debates about modern art, monument conservation, the West's relationship to the Orient, the meaning of the Baroque, and the relationship between German-speaking Austria and 'the rest.' Especially original and important is Rampley's focus on art-historical controversies on the Empire's peripheries. This is a crucial book, not only for scholars interested in the historiography of art history, but also for specialists in Habsburg cultural history."
-Suzanne Marchand, Louisiana State University
"The Institute of Art History at the University of Vienna was, up until the dissolution of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, a state apparatus affiliated in purpose to the Institute of History and the Imperial Royal Central Commission for the Research and Preservation of Architectural Monuments. In this important study of the practices of the art historians from the dual monarchy's various regions, Matthew Rampley focuses on the ideological tensions generated by their work. Imperial demands for unity conflicted with nationalistic demands for independence. Furthermore, Vienna itself was the site of competing interests and demands epitomized in the existence of two art-historical institutes, led by Max Dvorak and Josef Strzygowski. Rampley's book is essential reading for the study of the politics of art-historical debate, displaying both its complexity and its internal contradictions. Its particular strength is its wide-ranging coverage of original source materials drawing attention to the work of hitherto marginalized art historians, both in Vienna and across the empire."
-Richard Woodfield, editor, Journal of Art Historiography
"The ideas and writings of the early members of the Vienna School laid the foundations for modern art history. Matthew Rampley's wide-ranging, comprehensive, incisive, and entirely lucid account of the origins and heyday of the great Viennese art historians is a breakthrough work and will doubtless become an invaluable resource."
-Christopher Long, University of Texas at Austin
"Mathew Rampley's book is essential reading for the study of the politics of art-historical debate, displaying both its complexity and its internal contradictions. Its particular strength is its wide-ranging coverage of original source materials, drawing attention to the work of hitherto marginalized art historians both in Vienna and across the empire."
-Richard Woodfield, editor of the Journal of Art Historiography
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