Material Inspirations: The Interests of the Art Object in the Nineteenth Century and After

Material Inspirations: The Interests of the Art Object in the Nineteenth Century and After

by Jonah Siegel

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This book is a study of the complex relationship between matter and idea that shaped the nineteenth-century culture of art, and that in turn determined the course of still-current accounts of art's nature and value. Fundamental questions about the effects of material conditions on the creation and reception of art arose as early as the nineteenth century, and put important pressures on later eras. The place of class distinctions in the making and reception of art, the relationship between copy and original, the effects of display on art appreciation, even the role of pleasure itself: this book treats these and related issues as productive conceptual challenges with an unresolved relationship to matter at their core.

Drawing on recent scholarship on the history of art and its institutions, Material Inspirations places cultural developments such as the emergence of new sites for exhibition and the astonishing proliferation of printed reproductions alongside a wide range of texts including novels, poems, travel guidebooks, compendia of antiquities, and especially the great line of critical writing that emerged in the period. The study vivifies a dynamic era, which is still too often seen as static and unchanging, by emphasizing the transformations taking place throughout the period in precisely those areas that have appeared to promise little more than repetition or continuity: collection, exhibition, and reproduction. The book culminates with the two great critics of the period, John Ruskin and Walter Pater, but it also includes close analysis of other prose writers, as well as poets and novelists ranging from William Blake to Robert Browning, George Eliot to Henry James. Significant developments addressed include the vogue for the representation of Old Masters in the first half of the century, ongoing innovations in the creation and diffusion of reproductions, and the emergence of the field of art history itself. At the heart of each of these the book identifies a material pressure shaping concepts, texts, and works of art.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780192599971
Publisher: OUP Oxford
Publication date: 10/14/2020
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 448
File size: 14 MB
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About the Author

Jonah Siegel, Jonah Siegel, Distinguished Professor, Department of English, Rutgers University

Jonah Siegel is Distinguished Professor of English and Co-Director of the British Studies Center at Rutgers University. He has been a Fellow at the National Humanities Center, and a Rome Prize Fellow at the American Academy in Rome, as well as a recipient of a Frederick Burkhardt Fellowship from the American Council of Learned Societies. Aside from numerous articles on literature and the fine arts, he is the author of two books, Desire & Excess: The Nineteenth-Century Culture of Art (2000; Rudikoff Prize winner, 2000), and Haunted Museum: Longing, Travel, and the Art-Romance Tradition (2005), and the editor of The Emergence of the Modern Museum: An Anthology of Nineteenth-Century Sources (2007).

Table of Contents

Preface: What Goes Without Saying
Introduction: Feeling for Things, or What Really Matters
1. Transfiguration
2. Desire and the Body of Inspiration
3. "Strange Aphrodite"
4. Matter, Form, and Abstraction in the Reception of Antiquities
5. The Experience of Form (Bewilderment at the Vatican in George Eliot and Vernon Lee)
6. Failure and Revision at the Vatican: Some Evidence from the Baedeker (an interchapter)
7. Ruin and Allegory in Benjamin
8. The Ruined Cathedral, Black Arts, and the Grave in Engraving: Ruskin and the Fatal Excess of Art
9. Pater at the Museum / Raphael's Fortune

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