Anachronic Renaissance

Anachronic Renaissance

Alexander Nagel

Language: English

Pages: 456

ISBN: 193540802X

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


In this widely anticipated book, two leading contemporary art historians offer a subtle and profound reconsideration of the problem of time in the Renaissance. Alexander Nagel and Christopher Wood examine the meanings, uses, and effects of chronologies, models of temporality, and notions of originality and repetition in Renaissance images and artifacts. Anachronic Renaissance reveals a web of paths traveled by works and artists--a landscape obscured by art history's disciplinary compulsion to anchor its data securely in time. The buildings, paintings, drawings, prints, sculptures, and medals discussed were shaped by concerns about authenticity, about reference to prestigious origins and precedents, and about the implications of transposition from one medium to another. Byzantine icons taken to be Early Christian antiquities, the acheiropoieton (or "image made without hands"), the activities of spoliation and citation, differing approaches to art restoration, legends about movable buildings, and forgeries and pastiches: all of these emerge as basic conceptual structures of Renaissance art. Although a work of art does bear witness to the moment of its fabrication, Nagel and Wood argue that it is equally important to understand its temporal instability: how it points away from that moment, backward to a remote ancestral origin, to a prior artifact or image, even to an origin outside of time, in divinity. This book is not the story about the Renaissance, nor is it just a story. It imagines the infrastructure of many possible stories.

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for a woodcut portrait by Lucas Cranach the Younger dated 1553. The younger Cranach, titling his woodcut The Form if the Body if Our Lord jesus Christ, seems to have taken the half-century-old painting as reliable evidence for the appearance of Christ. Still, he supplemented the image with a descriptive text attributed to a certain Nicephorus, a preacher from Constantinople. 44 Painted reproductions of the medal portrait were especially rare, as if painters recognized that the translation of the

and Its Illustrations," polyrten oder geebnetten steynen, welcher Tempel of the Temple of Jerusalem before 1500," . resentat Ions journal if the Warburg and Courtauld Institutes 33 (197°), Art Bulletin 96 (1994), pp. 53-68. aLouis Grodecki (Paris: 9· John Wilkinson, jerusalem Pilgrims bifore the serre hoch und wyt ist, mit bly bedeckt. Darauffhaben die heiden eyn halben mon als ob er were eclipseret Crusades (Warminster, UK: Aris & Phillips, 2oo2), das ist verdunckelt." Bernhard von

Compostela, and dozens or even hundreds oflesser sites stretching from Walsingham to Czestochowa. Pilgrimage, we saw earlier, was a way of asserting the value of the true site and the authentic artifact, even as in practice one was always making do with surrogates and replicas. In the thirteenth century most of the major Roman icons were reconditioned or updated. But from this point on, with one exception, they were handled like relics: no overpaintings, no alterations. 6 The logic of

putative original altarpiece. The section of the inscription with the date bends around the corner of the throne's base, as if to figure the relationship, both continuous and discontinuous, between the authorial present and the institutional past. 8.2 An origin point of Renaissance painting. Guido da Siena, Maesta, tempera on panel, 283 x 194 em without gable (1270s). Siena, San Domenico. This massive panel, once the high altarpiece of the church of San Domenico, is one of the most ambitious

itself, spared, was englobed in a basilica designed by Vignola where it sits directly under the cupola. The model for the three-dimensional framing at Portiuncula was triggered a hypertrophy of explanation. Hoping to publicize a straightforward, authoritative account of the house's origins, Ricci found himself forced to describe, as if it were historical fact, an unbelievable supernatural event. He could have simply given the plausible explanation of a transport of relics that served since the

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