History and Its Images: Art and the Interpretation of the Past

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Yale University Press, 1995 - 558 pages
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Over the last four centuries, historians have increasingly turned to images in their attempts to understand and visualize the past. In this wide-ranging and engrossing book, a distinguished art historian surveys the various ways that they have adopted for making use of this material, and he examines the specific objects that became available to them through excavation, the creation of private collections and public museums, easier means of travel, and the startling displacements brought about by vandalism and art exhibitions. Francis Haskell begins by discussing the antiquarians of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries who brought to light and interpreted as historical evidence coins, sculptures, paintings discovered in the catacombs beneath Rome and other relics surviving from earlier ages. He explains that, in the eighteenth century, historians gradually began to acknowledge the significance of such visual sources and to draw on them in order to validate and give colour to their narratives or to utilize them as foundation stones for a new branch of learning - the history of culture. Later writers followed the example of Michelet in making inferences from the visual arts to indicate the whole mentality of an age, while (more erratically) others saw in them the harbingers of political, religious or social upheavals. Haskell concludes by discussing those cultural historians of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, Burckhardt and Huizinga above all, who did not merely give the visual arts a prominent and necessary place in their interpretations of the past, but in some ways actually interpreted the past through the visual arts.
 

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Table des matières

THE DISCOVERY OF THE IMAGE
7
The Early Numismatists
13
Portraits from the Past
26
Historical Narrative and Reportage
81
The Issue of Quality
112
Problems of Interpretation
131
The Dialogue between Antiquarians and Historians
159
The Birth of Cultural History
201
The Musee des Monuments Franqais
236
Michelet
253
Museums Illustrations and the Search for Authenticity
279
The Historical Significance of Style
304
The Deceptive Evidence of Art
363
Art as Prophecy
389
Huizinga and theFlemish Renaissance 431
Droits d'auteur

The Arts as an Index of Society
217

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À propos de l'auteur (1995)

Haskell retired as professor of the history of art at Oxford University in 1995.

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