Historical Grammar of the Visual Arts

Aloïs Riegl is one of the greatest of all modern art historians. The most important member of the so-called “Vienna School,” Riegl developed a highly refined technique of visual or formal analysis, as opposed to the iconological method, with its emphasis on decoding motifs through recourse to texts. Riegl also pioneered understanding of the changing role of the viewer, the significance of non–high art objects or what would now be called visual or material culture, and theories of art and art history, including his much-debated neologism Kunstwollen (the will of art). At last, his Historical Grammar of the Visual Arts, which brings together the diverse threads of his thought, is available to an English-language audience, in a superlative translation by Jacqueline E. Jung. In one of the earliest and perhaps the most brilliant of all art historical “surveys,” Riegl addresses the different visual arts within a sweeping conception of the history of culture. His account derives from Hegelian models but decisively opens onto alternative pathways that continue to complicate attempts to reduce art merely to the artist’s intentions or its social and historical functions.

Text: Binstock Benjamin , Riegl Alois . cm 15,2×22,8; pp. 474 ; COL e 20 BW ills.; hardcover. Publisher: Zone Books, New York, 2004.

ISBN: 9781890951457 | 1890951455

ID: AM-8867

Product Description

Aloïs Riegl is one of the greatest of all modern art historians. The most important member of the so-called “Vienna School,” Riegl developed a highly refined technique of visual or formal analysis, as opposed to the iconological method, with its emphasis on decoding motifs through recourse to texts. Riegl also pioneered understanding of the changing role of the viewer, the significance of non–high art objects or what would now be called visual or material culture, and theories of art and art history, including his much-debated neologism Kunstwollen (the will of art). At last, his Historical Grammar of the Visual Arts, which brings together the diverse threads of his thought, is available to an English-language audience, in a superlative translation by Jacqueline E. Jung. In one of the earliest and perhaps the most brilliant of all art historical “surveys,” Riegl addresses the different visual arts within a sweeping conception of the history of culture. His account derives from Hegelian models but decisively opens onto alternative pathways that continue to complicate attempts to reduce art merely to the artist’s intentions or its social and historical functions.

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