2008年9月30日 星期二

Walt Disney films and their roots in European Fine Art

Arts on the Air | 01.10.2008 | 05:30

Walt Disney films and their roots in European Fine Art

An exhibition showing the links between Walt Disney's films and European Art has recently opened in Munich’s Hypo-Kunsthalle.

Many people still recall the fairytales of their childhood: Sleeping Beauty, Peter Pan, Robin Hood. Few will actually remember reading the book or even listening to those stories while sitting on their father‘s lap. It’s more likely they watched one of Disney’s world famous movies. There are many choices that have to be made before a movie tells its story in a certain way. And there are also various artistic influences and references that give the story depth.

Report: Dorothee Sillem

德国雕塑家Ulrich Rueckriem 花岗岩

文化社会 | 2008.09.29


石头里的隐士:这是人们对雕塑家乌尔利希.吕克里姆(Ulrich Rueckriem)艺术的描述。形式的节俭和对准确比重的感觉,使70年前,于1938年9月30日,出生在杜塞尔多夫的吕克里姆成了一名特殊的艺术家。德国之声记者报导如下。

他在40年里诞生的艺术作品也许跟理查德.塞拉斯(Richard Serras)冷漠的钢雕,也许跟极微主义者卡尔.安德雷斯(Carl Andres)光秃秃的作品有一比,但绝对独特的是,吕克里姆的石雕充满了旧时手工技巧的生气。

吕克里姆是石匠出生,后来到科隆大教堂参加修建工作。一开始他以60年代的精神试验录像和行为艺术,然后用铁和木头,直到1968年他发现了花岗岩 的功能。从那以来,他忠实于他无可混淆的形式语言:什么也不表现,什么也不表达。细心地选自芬兰、德国威斯特法伦地区和南非的石块被破开,贯穿钻线和凿 痕。以精确的尺寸和比例分开的石块,又被这位艺术家严丝合缝地拼凑在一起,先是用粗糙的,后来也用经过打磨抛光的表面。石头里深深的缝,那些横向或纵向的 疤痕,变成了一种建筑艺术般的图像,一种对凝视冥想的邀请。

他的作品“黑井”(原本无名)Bildunterschrift: Großansicht des Bildes mit der Bildunterschrift: 他的作品“黑井”(原本无名)

这 些石雕让人联想消亡了的文化的墓石,古老宗教神殿的大门,或者封闭室的几何设计门,然而吕克里姆拒绝这一切联想。他说:"我所做的只是最低限度的,只是简 单的。"他指出,这些作品的唯一内容就是制作过程本身。正是这个迫使观看者仔细去看,同时给他们带来不安,带来不稳定感。


吕克里姆从1972年来3次参加卡塞尔文献展,曾担任著名的汉堡、杜塞尔多夫和法兰克福艺术学院教授,但他的作品欠缺名字。许多雕塑上只记录了所用 石材的尺寸、重量和表面材料。这些东西听上去是实用性的,但同时也有诗意,就象这样艺术品本身一样:他长时间内喜爱的威斯特法伦石头写明是"安洛希特白云 岩",或者"波尔图板岩",或者"蓝色花岗岩"。

在阿姆斯特丹、慕尼黑或者柏林的重要展览使吕克里姆这些冷漠的石头出了名。最近一次是柏林国家老画廊展出的一个大型花岗岩构建。这位艺术家得到了如 阿尔诺德-博德奖、皮彭勃洛克奖和莱茵储蓄银行2001文化奖这些奖金丰厚的肯定。最近两个世纪来,这位艺术家也生活在、工作在爱尔兰的小村庄克罗内加 尔。




2008年9月29日 星期一

Life Learning With Whimsy, Please, We’re British

Life Learning With Whimsy, Please, We’re British

Steve Forrest/Insight-Visual for The New York Times

In London, through a glass brilliantly: The writer and faculty member Alain de Botton, right, seen through the School of Life’s storefront window, which features a photo of him, left.

Published: September 29, 2008

LONDON — The School of Life, which just opened here, is the sort of place that would welcome the news out of Bari, Italy, the other day. A certain Dr. Marina de Tommaso, leading a team of Italian colleagues, recently asked a dozen young men and women to choose 20 attractive pictures and 20 ugly ones from several hundred works of art. The volunteers stared at said images while being zapped with a laser beam that caused them mild pain.

The intensity of their suffering, it turned out, diminished while they gazed at a Leonardo or a Botticelli or at van Gogh’s “Starry Night.” It persisted before Picasso and Fernando Botero.

Beauty makes you feel better, Dr. de Tommaso concluded, notwithstanding that Edvard Munch’s “Scream” muddied the results: some volunteers found it beautiful, others not so much, proving the different scientific point that everyone’s an art critic.

Sophie Howarth is director of the School of Life. She likes to call this storefront school in Bloomsbury “an apothecary of the mind.” Adults enroll in courses on love, politics, family and play. They may take an instructional tour of the M1 motorway or spend an overnight snooping around Heathrow Airport (staying in a Japanese capsule hotel) with the best-selling author Alain de Botton as guide, lecturing about the art of travel.

There are also bibliotherapists on call, dispensing literary advice; consultants to recommend the most agreeable route for a nighttime walk through the London neighborhood of Brixton; and group meals to enhance conversational skills.

One recent afternoon a line formed on the sidewalk outside the school. Dozens of people were waiting for impromptu private therapy sessions, on a leopard-spotted chaise longue, with David Gale, an actor who described himself as a “nonpsychotherapist.” Strangers revealed their secrets to him anyway.

It may all sound like a big metaprank, but the school is perfectly sincere. The ambition is to offer a road map to a fuller life — secular and interior, not religious — toward which end a sense of humor helps. For reticent Britons, disinclined to emote in public, it’s a kind of lubricant.

Whimsy being in short supply these days, every little bit helps, especially here. The $200 million Damien Hirst auction at Sotheby’s in September, when the world financial markets imploded, summed up the local climate. London has become a greedy city.

The school, too, is looking to turn a profit. (Courses cost about $350 each.) But it’s the earnest brainchild of various London writers, artists and friends — Geoff Dyer, the writer, among them. Like Mr. de Botton, he belongs to the faculty, and is scheduled to deliver a lecture ( “sermon” in school speak) this fall on punctuality.

The other day, apropos of the Esalen Institute in California, and the Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics in Colorado, he said the School of Life, by contrast, existed “in a postideological vacuum, in the wake of the thing that Margaret Thatcher said didn’t exist: society.”

“It’s maybe part of the attempt to rebuild a notion of society,” Mr. Dyer continued.

Ms. Howarth, its 33-year-old director, frowned when a visitor wondered aloud if it were instead a kind of twee Learning Annex for those who wouldn’t be caught dead at the Learning Annex. McSweeney’s, the American literary enterprise with an educational component, was the comparison she preferred.

“The alchemy of learning involves making ideas theatrical,” she explained, before a large round table in the school’s basement classroom (“our Wonderworld,” Ms. Howarth called it). The walls were decorated with Lewis Carroll-like scenes by Charlotte Mann, an artist.

“Design is not a trivial part of the enjoyment of how you learn,” Ms. Howarth continued. “There’s a snootiness in the culture sphere around teaching ‘relevance.’ We have spent a lot of time talking to psychotherapists about the questions people really care about, so that we can provide a broader mental apparatus to decide when you wake up in the morning whether to park on the yellow line or to make up with your dad.”

Mr. de Botton sees such instruction as responding to a specifically English problem. On the one hand, he said, there is the exclusionary elitism of ancient higher education. On the other, for English people, “sitting down and talking with strangers about emotional things is taboo, and so we use wit at the school because wit is what the English use when they want to talk about something serious, like the soul.”

Along which lines the school occupies not a formal campus but a modest shop on busy Marchmont Street in Bloomsbury among neighborhood hairdressers, closet-size newsstands and cheap restaurants. The Pasha spa and clinic is nearby, as is a store called Gay’s the Word. The aforementioned chaise beckons from just inside the school’s front window, inviting passers-by to recline with a book purchased from the select few shelves that Ms. Howarth daily organizes by shifting categories. (The other morning the categories included “Things to Learn About Sex” and “For Those Who Worry About Death.”)

The design scheme involves tasteful variations of beige and taupe, along with a few artfully arranged birch trunks. With its bookshelves and a glass cabinet stocked with knickknacks, it looks much more like a curiosity shop than like a school.

Leaning on that old wonder-cabinet idea, the school sells $1.50 postcards of airplanes (an AvAtlantic Boeing 727 on the tarmac at Fort Lauderdale, dated 1992); $10 bottles of “I Love You” Marmite; and posters printed with aphorisms by, among others, Voltaire and Mae West. (“Between two evils, I always pick the one I never tried before.”) The frugal can take Tunnock’s Milk-Chocolate Coated Caramel bars, in shiny gold and red wrappers, free from a glass jar.

“The school is sort of pointless, like art, culture, sport and many of the other good things in life,” is how Mr. Dyer put it. “We English don’t have your excellent American assumption that the purpose of life is to be happy, that the waiters in restaurants should bring us exactly the food we want, promptly and gladly. We have a much more stoic or Soviet attitude. So the school is a way either of making us happier, i.e., more American, or helping us make an accommodation with the shortcoming of our lot.”

London already offers adult evening classes in women’s self-defense, Indian cooking and Hegel. They’re often a good excuse to unwind at the pub afterward. In a way, Mr. Dyer suggested, the school brings the pub’s charm into the classroom.

Charm, like taste, is a matter of opinion, of course. So far the charm of the school seems to be working. More than 1,000 Londoners turned up on opening day, Sept. 6. Spots in Mr. de Botton’s Heathrow holiday and a two-day jaunt to the Isle of Wight with the photographer Martin Parr quickly disappeared. For optimists, the coincidence of the school’s arrival with the banking collapse and Mr. Hirst’s auction hinted at a possible, if slight, turning point in the city’s ethos.

“At the School of Life, we’re not necessarily trying to take the pain out of life,” Ms. Howarth said — she now had that Bari study on beauty in mind, which she said she did welcome — “but rather to ensure that most of us have the resources to act wisely in the face of inevitable challenges and hurdles.”

“By the way,” she added, referring to the books for sale in the store, “we’ve just put up two new shelves.”

The latest category: “For Those Feeling the Credit Crunch.”

The School of Life is at 70 Marchmont Street, London WC1; for information, theschooloflife.com.

2008年9月18日 星期四




內藤湖南- 维基百科,自由的百科全书

內藤湖南(日語:ないとうこなん,1866年8月27日—1934年6月26日),日本歷史學家。 生於日本秋田縣鹿角郡毛馬內(現為鹿角市)。本名虎次郎,字炳卿,號湖南。 ..

隨 著大正時代(1912~1926)的到來,撰寫中國繪畫史的方法發生了明顯變化。學者們不僅開始放眼日本藝術收藏之外,而且試圖把中國繪畫史看作一個獨 立領域,而不僅僅是日本繪畫史的一個附庸。內藤湖南(1866-1934)的《中國繪畫史》代表了這一發展。這是他於20世紀20年代在京都帝國大學所做 的一系列講座。[10]在這些講座中,內藤避而不談舊的收藏,而熱衷於日漸名噪的“新舶載”,即在大正時代開始進入日本的一大批新的中國畫。與舊收藏不同 的是,這些作品大多出自經典大師之手,其中許多都是著名的文人畫家。

  內藤脫離了明治時代中國藝術的正軌,這在日本藝術史同人的眼裏也 許大逆不道,甚或是醜聞。今天,一些日本藝術史學家似乎仍然對他的方法感到不快。在對 內藤的《中國繪畫史》的一部近評中,古原宏伸寫道:“在高揚新舶載的宋元繪畫的努力中,內藤完全忽視了日本收藏。他描述的作品以前從未進入日本。最後,他 要修正傳統的努力造成了繪畫史的失衡。他絲毫不懂日本的收藏愛好。”[11]

  《中國繪畫史》不但把舊收藏排除在外,而且把被今天的鑒 賞家視作贗品的許多畫作包括進來。古原宏伸評論道:“在我們的時代,《中國繪畫史》幾乎失去了 全部意義。這位作者沒有回過頭來讀他的《中國繪畫史》。這本書並未給後代帶來與那位偉大學者的名聲相稱的學術成分。原因是,《中國繪畫史》中的畫作是‘魚 目混珠’,其中一半是贗品。儘管內藤是東洋史的著名學者,但可以說他在甄別贗品方面卻無能力。”[12] 古原宏伸並非是對內藤的選擇予以苛評的第一人。據內藤的一個傳記家青江舜二郎所言,其他批評家把他選擇的畫作比作包子和炒飯,是真正的鑒賞家難以下嚥的廉 價食品。[13]....."璞石閣:東洋、民族主義和大正民主:內藤湖南的《中國繪畫史》

  • 中國繪畫史

  • 【作 者】:(日)內藤湖南
  • 【叢編項】:日本中國學文萃
  • 【裝幀項】:平裝 大32開 / 218
  • 【出版項】:中華書局 / 2008-7-1

  • 【圖書簡介】
  • 【作者簡介】
       內藤湖南(1866—1934),本名虎次郎,號湖南。出生于日本秋田縣鹿角郡毛馬內叮的武士家庭。早年跟隨父親學習漢學。1885年畢業于秋田師范學 校,并在北秋田郡的小學擔任教師。1887年前往東京,之后長期活躍于報界,先后擔任過《明教新志》《三河新聞》《日本人》《大阪朝日新聞》等報刊雜志的 記者、編輯以及評論員。1907年受聘擔任京都帝國大學新開設的歷史專業講師,主講中國古代史和清朝史課程。1909年被破格提升為教授,曾以京都中國學 泰斗的美名飲譽日本學界。1926年退休后隱居京都,主要從事著述和演講。1934年病逝。其著作、講演錄、書信等匯輯成《內藤湖南全集》十四卷。
  • 【本書目錄】
    一 漢代以前的繪畫
    二 六朝時代的繪畫
    三 唐朝的繪畫(上)
    四 唐朝的繪畫(下)
    五 五代的繪畫
    六 北宋的畫家以及畫論
    七 南宋的繪畫以及畫論
    八 元代的繪畫
    九 明代的繪畫(初期)
  • 2008年9月12日 星期五

    Madonna with the Sweet Pea (On Art and Connoisseurship)

    Max J. Friedlander 藝術與鑑賞On Art and Connoisseurship 梁春生譯 台北:遠流 1989

    p.144和 p.205都有
    Cologne 的 the Madonna with the Sweet Pea

    還有找不到圖 不過資訊

    Madonna with the Sweet PeaBlossom (c. 1415-20; WRM io)

    Friedländer, Max J. (frēd'lĕndər) , 1867–1958, German art historian. Educated in Munich, he became director of the Kaiser Friedrich Museum in Berlin. He left Germany in 1933 and settled in Holland. A specialist in Netherlandish painting of the 15th and 16th cent., he is best known for his monumental work on that subject, Die Altniederländische Malerei (14 vol., 1924–37). Friedländer was also the author of On Art and Connoisseurship (1942), Landscape, Portrait, Still-Life: Their Origin and Development (tr. 1949), and From Van Eyck to Bruegel (tr. 1956).

    2008年9月6日 星期六

    水井 康雄

    水井 康雄(1925~2008 )MIZUI,Yasuo

    1925= 京都府に生まれる
    1944= 京都市立第一工業学校機械科を卒業
    1949= 神戸工業専門学校機械科を卒業
    1953= 東京芸術大学彫刻科を卒業、平櫛田中、菊池一雄に師事

    仏政府給費生としてパリに留学、パリ国立美術学校に学ぶ ~58年
    1954= 彫刻家A・フェノザの助手を務める ~58年
    1959= 第1回パリ青年ビエンナーレでA・シュス個人賞
    1960= セント・マルガレーテン彫刻シンポジウム(オーストリア)
    1961= キルヒハイム彫刻シンポジウム(独)

    1962= 第1回ベルリン彫刻シンポジウムでドイツ批評家賞 

    1963= 世界近代彫刻シンポジウム
    1964= 第7回高村光太郎賞

    1966= リズバキー彫刻シンポジウム(チェコスロバキア)
    1967= グルノーブル彫刻シンポジウム(仏)
    1968= バーモント州彫刻シンポジウム(米)

    1969= ドイツ美術アカデミー給費を得て西ベルリンで制作

    1970= パリ大学理工院(仏)に「ある発生」設置
    1971= メッツ大学文学部(仏)に「対話」設置
    1973= 山上の彫刻展(仏・アッシー高原)

    1975= 第13回アントワープ野外彫刻展

    1976= エコール・ポリテクニック(仏)に「知積」制作
    1977= ナンシー大学理学部に石彫庭園制作

    1978= 東リル新衛星都市計画(仏)に参加、泉水広場を制作
    1981= 第2回ヘンリー・ムア大賞展で優秀賞

    1983= 個展(カサハラ画廊他)
    1985= 仏政府より文化勲章(コマンドール級)を授与




     水井 康雄さん(みずい・やすお=彫刻家)が3日、膵臓(すいぞう)がんのためフランス・アプトの病院で死去、83歳。葬儀の日取りは未定。


    水井 康雄:「開空」(南正面玄関前・東)

    水井 康雄:「集宇」(南正面玄関前・西)

    2008年9月4日 星期四

    Artists Who Turn Information Into Beauty

    Arts & Life
    Who Turn Information Into Beauty

    Viz WhizHow artists are mining data sets to make you see the unseen.

    Click here for a slide show about art that uses information patterns as paint.Click here for a slide show about art that uses information patterns as paint.


    Display an unwieldy mass of data in clever visual form and you may gain über-insight into questions you hadn't yet put into words. That is the promise of information visualization, infoviz for short. The field has long helped scientists, engineers, and businesspeople see the unseen as it emerges from complex data: Users may spot promising molecules for pharmaceutical testing, for instance, or pinpoint glitches in a supply chain. As infoviz has matured, it has also caught fire as an art form, its center of gravity edging further from the pragmatic and closer to the expressive or the whimsically profound.

    Infoviz art may play with quirky accumulations like blog snippets of romantic breakups or online dating profiles (as in the piece at right). It often asks idiosyncratic questions: How does a chess program think? How popular is my name? And, in the tradition of some other contemporary art, it tends to treat ideas and information as a form of paint.

    This art form is making inroads at universities and on the Web, and it has gained currency in tech and design circles. It has inspired some press and a handful of shows, and has featured in minor ways in museum exhibitions, in particular the Museum of Modern Art's "Design and the Elastic Mind" show earlier this year. For the most part, though, infoviz is awaiting its public crowning as a coherent and vital art movement. Still, it's got a high wow factor—worth checking out.

    Jack Butler Yeats

    Irish Literature Companion: Jack Butler Yeats

    Yeats, Jack Butler (1871-1957), painter and author. Born in London, the youngest child of John Butler Yeats and brother of W. B. Yeats, he grew up mainly in Sligo, and attended art schools in London. He became a friend of J. M. Synge, with whom he shared walking tours in the west of Ireland, leading to a joint commission to produce a series of articles for the Manchester Guardian (1905), which furnished the illustrations later used for Synge's The Aran Islands (1907).

    He returned to live in Ireland in 1910, first at Greystones, Co. Wicklow, then in Dublin. Yeats began working consistently in oil from 1905. The mystical atmosphere of his later canvases reflects his conviction that there is a higher reality.

    Yeats wrote a number of plays. Harlequin Positions (1939), La La Noo (1942), and In Sand (1949) were produced at the Abbey's Peacock Theatre. Three further plays, Apparitions, The Old Sea Road, and Rattle, appeared in a single volume in 1933. In their indifference to normal dramatic convention, and the openings they create for metaphysical surmise, they anticipate the stagecraft of Samuel Beckett, a personal friend.

    Yeats also published a number of idiosyncratic works of pseudo-autobiography and fantastic narrative. Sligo (1930), Sailing, Sailing Swiftly (1933), The Charmed Life (1938), Ah, Well (1942), And To You Also (1944), and The Careless Flower (1947) display a liking for free association. In The Amaranthers (1936) James Gilfoyle, a Dubliner, makes a journey to a magical isle off the west of Ireland.

    2008年9月2日 星期二


    DATE 2008/08/19 印刷用網頁
      【日經BP社報導】 “iPhone的魅力從何而來?”筆者一直在思考這個問題。筆者自己購買了iPhone 3G,不知是什麼理由,筆者對其愛不釋手。

      日本手機確實也不錯。在功能方面,單波段電視、現金支付、相機等很多功能都優於iPhone。但在使用戶“想用”方面,卻遠不及iPhone。日本手 機不是“不行”,而是令人“遺憾”。總是讓人感覺缺點什麼。iPhone也有很多不行的地方,但卻幾乎沒有日本手機那種“遺憾的印象”。只要用過 iPhone的用戶,想必都會明白這種細微的差別。

      iPhone到底是什麼?為了尋找答案,筆者採訪了2008年6月從NTT DoCoMo引退的夏野剛。在長期統率DoCoMo i模式業務的夏野眼中,iPhone究竟是怎樣的產品,這的確是讓人感興趣之處。

      可以說是意外,或者在某種意義上來說又在情理之中,夏野對於iPhone的評價近乎完美。他表示:“與日本的最新手機相比,iPhone更接近未來手機的形態”。夏野已經親自購買並在使用iPhone 3G。

      夏野認為iPhone的魅力之源在於“領導者史提夫·傑伯斯的毫不動搖”。確實,大多數暢銷商品的背後都有著信念執著的強大領導者。正如久多 良木健之於新力電腦娛樂的家用遊戲機“PlayStation”、“PlayStation2”,岩田聰之於任天堂的“NDS”、“Wii”一樣,正因為 領導者擁有明確的目標,員工才能團結一致,為實現目標而努力。



      不過,隨著iPhone的問世,這一結構正在逐漸發生改變。對於傳統的日本手機,內容、終端、通信線路全部由移動系統業者向用戶提供。採用的 是以移動系統業者為中心的模式。反觀iPhone,關鍵的“應用軟體”則由蘋果公司一手提供。軟銀移動只不過是提供通信線路,代銷產品而已。iPhone 向日本展示了廠商主導手機業務並非不可實現。伴隨著iPhone的登場,“日本廠商造不出iPhone的理由”正在逐漸消失。

      筆者認為從日本企業的實力考慮,應該完全能夠開發出比iPhone更有魅力、更加好用的手機。今後,只是按照移動系統業者的希望迅速提供產品的“優等生廠商”估計會不斷遭到淘汰。希望能夠開闢商務模式的強大廠商也能在日本湧現。(記者:大森 敏行)


    the beauty of coal

    Arts on the Air | 03.09.2008 | 05:30

    Artists reveal the beauty of coal in Dortmund exhibition

    There isn’t really anything artistically appealing about coal. It’s black and dusty and comes from deep in the earth. But a group of artists are turning that idea on its head.

    Late last year, during the deep, cold winter, a group of artists travelled to the mining areas in three separate European countries. There they experienced mining – not just in the mines themselves, but in and around the communities the mining industry has spawned. From there the artists spent six months moulding their experiences into artwork; displaying their labours to the communities they visited.

    Report: Mark Mattox

    2008年9月1日 星期一

    Michael David Kighley Baxandall

    艺术史学家Michael Baxandall (1933–2008)去世


    独立报报道二十世纪下半时期最具影响力的艺术史学家之一Michael Baxandall近日去世。Baxandall曾在意大利的 Pavia大学和德国慕尼黑大学就读他的作品 The Limewood Sculptors of Renaissance Germany出版后引起很大反响此书曾获得艺术史 Mitchell他曾担任 Victoria Albert博物馆建筑和雕塑系的助理监护人, 在那里工作的四年里他一直致力于德国雕塑的研究首部作品 Giotto and the Orators出版后,Baxandall 获邀成为牛津大学的美术教授。1987他成为加州大学柏克莱分校艺术史的兼职教授

    Professor Michael Baxandall: Influential art historian with a rigorously cerebral approach to the study of painting and sculpture

    Tuesday, 19 August 2008

    Michael Baxandall was one of the greatest and most influential art historians of the second half of the 20th century

    Michael Baxandall was one of the greatest and most influential art historians of the second half of the 20th century

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    Michael Baxandall was one of the greatest and most influential art historians of the second half of the 20th century, responsible for the introduction of ideas about language and rhetoric into the study of works of art and a key figure in establishing art history as a subject with its own intellectual rigour.

    He was born in Cardiff in 1933 into an upper middle-class family with long connections to museums – his grandfather was Keeper of Scientific Instruments at the Science Museum and his father was Director of the Manchester City Art Galleries and the National Galleries of Scotland. He was educated at Manchester Grammar School and Downing College, Cambridge, where he read English and was much influenced by the works of William Empson and F.R. Leavis, by whom he was taught and who focused his interest on language.

    After graduating, he went to study in Italy at the University of Pavia and in Germany at the University of Munich. His book The Limewood Sculptors of Renaissance Germany, published to great acclaim in 1980, was said to have originated in his time as a lonely postgraduate student seeking consolation in the museums of mid-1950s Munich.

    On his return to London in 1958, Baxandall was offered a job by Gertrud Bing to work in the Photographic Collection of the Warburg Institute, and, the following year, he was awarded a Junior Research Fellowship at the institute, to study for a PhD on the notion of decorum and restraint in 15th-century Italy, under the supervision of Ernst Gombrich. The Warburg, where he met his wife, Kay, was to remain a spiritual and intellectual home, in spite of the fact that he could be occasionally sardonic about its characteristics and did not fit easily or comfortably into an intellectual school.

    In 1961, Baxandall was appointed Assistant Keeper in the Department of Architecture and Sculpture at the Victoria and Albert Museum, where he worked for four years on German sculpture under John Pope-Hennessy as Keeper and, more especially, Terence Hodgkinson, the Deputy Keeper. He was not a natural museum type, but later claimed to like the disciplines of museum life and, slightly idiosyncratically, listed "antiquary" as his profession in his passport.

    It was with relief that he was able to retreat to a university lectureship at the Warburg Institute in 1965, where he devoted himself to the research which was supposed to be for a doctorate, but was never submitted and which led to the publication of his first book, Giotto and the Orators, in the Oxford-Warburg series in 1971.

    It is hard now to reconstruct the impact which both Giotto and the Orators, a book about how humanists wrote about art, and the immediately subsequent Painting and Experience in Fifteenth-Century Italy (1972), had on the professional study of art history. Up until the early 1970s, most art history had been written from the viewpoint of connoisseurship and attribution, reconstructing the oeuvre of artists from surviving works of art.

    Baxandall's approach was rigorously cerebral, studying works of art from the surrounding mental universe, humanist culture in the case of Giotto and the Orators and vernacular culture in Painting and Experience. He was happy to study account books and mathematical manuals and, most of all, books of rhetoric as a way of understanding how artists such as Giotto and Piero della Francesca, as well as their public (the distinction is never clear) viewed their world. The practice of art was viewed as an activity of the intellect at least as much as of the eye.

    Following the publication of these two books, Baxandall was established as a major intellectual figure, invited to be Slade Professor of Fine Art in Oxford in 1974, where he lectured on German sculpture. But he resisted categorisation, did not particularly enjoy postgraduate teaching (although he was an inspirational figure to students), and could be wilfully obtuse in his attitude to methodology, as when he was invited by New Literary History to reflect on his approach to the writing of art history. Instead, as art history became increasingly recondite, Baxandall did not like to be associated with a movement towards over-conceptualisation and was an advocate of cool, intellectual rigour in opposition to the more self-consciously learned traditions of the Warburg.

    Baxandall's greatest book was The Limewood Sculptors of Renaissance Germany, which won the Mitchell Prize for art history and in which he subjects an unfamiliar field of study to deep, systematic analysis, attentive as always to the relationship between language and form. He was awarded a chair by London University in 1981 and was made a Fellow of the British Academy in 1982, but was increasingly lured away to the United States, where he was appointed A.D. White Professor-at-Large at Cornell University, was given a MacArthur Foundation award, and became a half-time Professor of the History of Art at the University of California, Berkeley in 1987. From this point onwards he led a hybrid life, partly in London, partly in California.

    In 1994, Baxandall wrote jointly with Svetlana Alpers Tiepolo and the Pictorial Intelligence and, the following year, under sole authorship, the book Shadows and the Enlightenment. Neither had quite the broad impact of his earlier work, although like all his work, they were the product of systematic and highly original thought.

    By now, he was suffering from Parkinson's disease, which clouded the later years of his life, although he bore it with characteristic fortitude and continued to write and publish to the end, including, in 2003, Words for Pictures. It was perhaps this illness, along with his reclusive temperament, that prevented him from receiving the full recognition beyond the scholarly community that the quality of his intellect and the originality of his writing deserved.

    Charles Saumarez Smith

    Michael David Kighley Baxandall, art historian: born Cardiff 18 August 1933; Junior Research Fellow, Warburg Institute, London University 1959-61, Lecturer in Renaissance Studies 1965-73, Reader in History of the Classical Tradition 1973-81, Professor of History of the Classical Tradition 1981-88; Assistant Keeper, Department of Architecture and Sculpture, Victoria and Albert Museum 1961-65; Slade Professor of Fine Art, Oxford University 1974-75; A.D. White Professor-at-Large, Cornell University 1982-88; FBA 1982; Professor of the History of Art, University of California, Berkeley 1987-96 (Emeritus); married 1963 Kay Simon (one son, one daughter); died London 12 August 2008.

    Michael Baxandall, 74, Influential Art Historian, Dies

    Kay Baxandall

    Michael Baxandall

    Published: August 30, 2008

    Michael Baxandall, whose analysis of the social forces shaping works of art and the way they were seen helped pave the way for the influential movement known as the new art history, died on Aug. 12 in London. He was 74.

    The cause was pneumonia associated with Parkinson’s disease, said his wife, Kathrin Baxandall.


    Mr. Baxandall’s second book, “Painting and Experience in 15th-Century Italy,” published in 1972, announced a program in its first sentence. “A 15th-century painting is the deposit of a social relationship,” he wrote.

    He proceeded to lay bare not only the patron-client transactions that influenced the making of an artwork, but also something he called “the period eye”: the act of perception determined by social circumstances. In a famous example, he showed how Italians knew how to appraise the volume of a barrel by sight, and how artists played to this carefully cultivated skill.

    This approach signaled an abrupt departure in art criticism comparable to the shift toward social history among British historians.

    “He provided the tools we needed to take works of art out of the frame and off the pedestal to see how they really worked,” said Thomas Crow, a professor of modern art history at the Institute of Fine Arts at New York University. “He made it possible to see, through the art, how societies organized themselves and, conversely, how individuals perceived their own experiences and inner lives.”

    Michael David Kighley Baxandall was born in Cardiff, where his father was a curator at the National Museum of Wales. He attended the Manchester Grammar School in England after his father became director of the Manchester City Galleries in 1945, a position that would lead to his appointment as the director of the National Gallery of Scotland in 1952.

    Michael Baxandall studied English under the literary critic F. R. Leavis at Downing College, Cambridge, but abandoned plans to teach English and headed for the Continent, where he spent a year at the University of Pavia in Italy. After teaching at a private school in St. Gallen, Switzerland, he went to Munich, where he attended lectures by the art historian Hans Sedlmayr and studied the art of the court of Urbino with Ludwig Heydenreich at the Institute for Art History.

    In 1958 he went to London and began a long association with the Warburg Institute, known for its broad approach to cultural history. Initially Mr. Baxandall worked on the institute’s photographic collection. Under Ernst Gombrich, he then began writing a doctoral dissertation, never completed, on an unusual topic: decorum and restraint in Renaissance behavior.

    In 1963 he married Kathrin Simon, known as Kay. In addition to his wife, his survivors include their children, Thomas, of Little Tew, England, and Lucy Baxandall of Oxford, England; and two grandchildren.

    In 1961 Mr. Baxandall was appointed assistant keeper in the department of architecture and sculpture at the Victoria and Albert Museum, where he worked for four years on German sculpture before returning as a lecturer to the Warburg Institute. There he wrote his first book, “Giotto and the Orators,” on the language that Renaissance humanists used to describe art.

    The book, followed a year later by “Painting and Experience in Renaissance Italy,” established him as one of the leading art historians of his generation, a reputation ratified by his next book, “The Limewood Sculptors of Renaissance Germany” (1980). In that work Mr. Baxandall subjected the internal properties of limewood to a detailed analysis that became a metaphor for the social, cultural and religious tensions of the period.

    Mr. Baxandall was appointed Slade professor of fine art at Oxford in 1974 and accepted a lectureship at the University of London in 1981. Beginning in the 1980s he taught mostly in the United States, first at Cornell University, where he was a professor at large, and later at the University of California, Berkeley, where he was a professor of art history until his retirement in 1996.

    Mr. Baxandall’s other books include “Patterns of Intention: On the Historical Explanation of Pictures” (1985), “Shadows and Enlightenment” (1995) and “Words for Pictures” (2003). With Svetlana Alpers, he also wrote “Tiepolo and the Pictorial Intelligence” (1994).