The Barbarian Invasions A Genealogy of the History of Art

9780262043151

The Barbarian Invasions A Genealogy of the History of Art

  • ISBN 13:

    9780262043151

  • ISBN 10:

    0262043157

  • Format: Hardcover
  • Copyright: 12/03/2019
  • Publisher: The MIT Press
Sorry, this item is currently unavailable.

List Price $35.00 Save $1.22

New $33.78

Usually Ships in 3-5 Business Days

We Buy This Book Back We Buy This Book Back!

Included with your book

Free Shipping On Every Order Free Shipping On Every Order

Note: Supplemental materials are not guaranteed with Rental or Used book purchases.

Extend or Purchase Your Rental at Any Time

Need to keep your rental past your due date? At any time before your due date you can extend or purchase your rental through your account.

Summary

How the history of art begins with the myth of the barbarian invasion—the romantic fragmentation of classical eternity.

The history of art, argues Éric Michaud, begins with the romantic myth of the barbarian invasions. Viewed from the nineteenth century, the Germanic-led invasions of the Roman Empire in the fifth century became the gateway to modernity, seen not as a catastrophe but as a release from a period of stagnation, renewing Roman culture with fresh, northern blood—and with new art that was anti-Roman and anticlassical. Artifacts of art from then on would be considered as the natural product of “races” and “peoples” rather than the creation of individuals. The myth of the barbarian invasions achieved the fragmentation of classical eternity.

This narrative, Michaud explains, inseparable from the formation of nation states and the rise of nationalism in Europe, was based on the dual premise of the homogeneity and continuity of peoples. Local and historical particularities became weapons aimed at classicism's universalism. The history of art linked its objects with racial groups—denouncing or praising certain qualities as “Latin” or “Germanic.” Thus the predominance of linear elements was thought to betray a southern origin, and the “painterly” a Germanic or northern source. Even today, Michaud points out, it is said that art best embodies the genius of peoples. In the globalized contemporary art market, the ethnic provenance of works—categorized, for example, as “African American,” “Latino,” or “Native American”—creates added value. The market displays the same competition among “races” that was present at the foundation of art history as a discipline.

Author Biography

Read more