From Professor Chris Wood: Interdisciplinary conference dedicated to Johann Joachim Winckelmann

1 Dec


The German Department, the Deutsches Haus NYU, and the Center for European and Mediterranean Studies invite you to an interdisciplinary conference dedicated to Johann Joachim Winckelmann, held at NYU on December 8 and 9, 2016, in advance of the 300th anniversary of the birth of this pioneering antiquarian and art historian in 2017. Winckelmann: The Transalpine Fantasy of Modern Paganism seeks to re-frame, reassess, and generally defamiliarize the antiquarian and historian who wrote the script of obsessive German philhellenism.

Winckelmann is a paradoxical figure. He held up classical Greek sculpture as the time-transcending paragon of artistic expression and yet has been credited with creating the template of modern art historical method, which supposedly explains every art form as a product of local circumstances. He met the exacting standards of the antiquarian scholarship of his day, compiling a descriptive catalogue of the engraved gems in a great private collection and, in his magnum opus the History of Ancient Art (1764), offering remarks on Greek costumes and footwear on the evidence of statuary. But the taste for fact did not interfere with his critical appreciations, even open expressions of erotic admiration, of the sculpted body.

Please join us and a dozen speakers as we reconsider this enigmatic pioneer and his legacy in scholarship and beyond.


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