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Winckelmann and the Invention of AntiquityHistory and Aesthetics in the Age of Altertumswissenschaft$
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Katherine Harloe

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780199695843

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2013

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199695843.001.0001

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Winckelmann’s Geschichte der Kunst des Alterthums and its earliest critical reception

Winckelmann’s Geschichte der Kunst des Alterthums and its earliest critical reception

Chapter:
(p.105) 4 Winckelmann’s Geschichte der Kunst des Alterthums and its earliest critical reception
Source:
Winckelmann and the Invention of Antiquity
Author(s):

Katherine Harloe

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199695843.003.0004

Chapter 4 develops an analysis of Winckelmann’s most famous work: the Geschichte der Kunst des Alterthums. The first two sections consider its sources and structure, seeking to account for its bipartite division and for Winckelmann’s claim to have provided a ‘system’ (Lehrgebäude). Intellectual antecedents (ancient sources, Vasari, Caylus, and Enlightenment philosophic historians such as Voltaire and Montesquieu) are discussed, and it is argued that the historical narrative of Greek art provided in Part 2 is intended to support the causal analysis of Part 1 by demonstrating its validity for a period from which relatively rich source material survives. The final section discusses selected responses to the Geschichte from the 1760s, in order to demonstrate that their reaction to the Geschichte was consistent with the connoisseurial expectations established by his earlier writings.

Keywords:   system, narrative, philosophic history, Caylus, Enlightenment, causal analysis, Winckelmann, Voltaire, Montesquieu, Vasari

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