Francisco de Goya and the Art of Critique probes the relationship between the enormous, extraordinary, and sometimes baffling body of Goya’s work and the interconnected issues of modernity, Enlightenment, and critique. Taking exception to conventional views that rely mainly on Goya’s darkest images to establish his relevance for modernity, Cascardi argues that the entirety of Goya’s work is engaged in a thoroughgoing critique of the modern social and historical worlds, of which it nonetheless remains an integral part. The book reckons with the apparent gulf assumed to divide the Disasters of War and the so-called Black Paintings from Goya’s scenes of bourgeois life or from the well-mannered portraits of aristocrats, military men, and intellectuals. It shows how these apparent contradictions offer us a gateway into Goya’s critical practice vis-à-vis a European modernity typically associated with the Enlightenment values dominant in France, England, and Germany. In demonstrating Goya’s commitment to the project of critique, Cascardi provides an alternative to established readings of Goya’s work, which generally acknowledge the explicit social criticism evident in works such as the Caprichos but which have little to say about those works that do not openly take up social or political themes. In Francisco de Goya and the Art of Critique, Cascardi shows how Goya was consistently engaged in a critical response to—and not just a representation of—the many different factors that are often invoked to explain his work, including history, politics, popular culture, religion, and the history of art itself.
[from publisher’s site]
Anthony J. Cascardi is the Sidney and Margaret Ancker Distinguished Professor at the University of California, Berkeley. He is the author of numerous books, including The Consequences of Enlightenment; Cervantes, Literature, and the Discourse of Politics; The Subject of Modernity; and The Cambridge Introduction to Literature and Philosophy.
Francisco de Goya and the Art of Critique. Brooklyn: Zone Books, 2023.
by Associate Professor Aglaya Glebova for European Modern Art.
From Yale University Press:
“Through the lens of Aleksandr Rodchenko’s photography, a new and provocative understanding emerges of the troubled relationship between technology, modernism, and state power in Stalin’s Soviet Union
Tracing the shifting meanings of photography in the early Soviet Union, Aglaya K. Glebova reconsiders the relationship between art and politics during what is usually considered the end of the critical avant-garde. Aleksandr Rodchenko (1891–1956), a versatile Russian artist and one of Constructivism’s founders, embraced photography as a medium of revolutionary modernity. Yet his photographic work between the late 1920s and the end of the 1930s exhibits an expansive search for a different pictorial language.
In the context of the extreme transformations carried out under the first Five-Year Plans, Rodchenko’s photography questioned his own modernist commitments. At the heart of this book is Rodchenko’s infamous 1933 photo-essay on the White Sea–Baltic Canal, site of one of the first gulags. Glebova’s careful reading of Rodchenko’s photography reveals a surprisingly heterodox practice and brings to light experiments in adjacent media, including the collaborative design work he undertook with Varvara Stepanova, Rodchenko’s partner in art and life.”
This book addresses the unique and profound indeterminacy of “Creole,” a label applied to white, black, and mixed-race persons born in French colonies during the nineteenth century.
“Creole” implies that the geography of one’s birth determines identity in ways that supersede race, language, nation, and social status. Paradoxically, the very capaciousness of the term engendered a perpetual search for visual signs of racial difference as well as a pretense to blindness about the intermingling of races in Creole society. Darcy Grimaldo Grigsby reconstructs the search for visual signs of racial difference among people whose genealogies were often repressed. She explores French representations of Creole subjects and representations by Creole artists in France, the Caribbean, and the Americas. To do justice to the complexity of Creole identity, Grigsby interrogates the myriad ways in which people defined themselves in relation to others. With close attention to the differences between Afro-Creole and Euro-Creole cultures and persons, Grigsby examines figures such as Théodore Chassériau, Guillaume Guillon-Lethière, Alexandre Dumas père, Édouard Manet, Edgar Degas, the models Joseph and Laure, Josephine Bonaparte, Jeanne Duval, and Adah Isaacs Menken.
Based on extensive archival research, Creole is an original and important examination of colonial identity. This essential study will be welcomed by specialists in nineteenth-century art history, French cultural history, the history of race, and transatlantic history more generally.
[from publisher’s site]
Darcy Grimaldo Grigsby is Richard and Rhoda Goldman Distinguished Professor in the Arts and Humanities at the University of California, Berkeley. She is the author of Enduring Truths: Sojourner’s Shadows and Substance; Colossal: Engineering the Suez Canal, Statue of Liberty, Eiffel Tower, and Panama Canal; and Extremities: Painting Empire in Post-Revolutionary France.
Creole : Portraits of France’s Foreign Relations During the Long Nineteenth Century.
University Park, Pennsylvania: The Pennsylvania State University Press, 2022.
Widely acknowledged as a major turning point in the history of visual depictions of war, Francisco de Goya’s renowned print series The Disasters of War remains a touchstone for serious engagement with the violence of war and the questions raised by its artistic representation.
The Art of Witnessing: Francisco de Goya’s Disasters of War provides a new account of Goya’s print series by taking readers through the forty-seven prints he dedicated to the violence of war. Drawing on facets of Goya’s artistry rarely considered together before, the book challenges the notion that documentary realism and historical testimony were his primary aims. Michael Iarocci argues that while the depiction of war’s atrocities was central to Goya’s project, the lasting power of the print series stems from the artist’s complex moral and aesthetic meditations on the subject.
Making novel contributions to longstanding debates about historical memory, testimony, and the representation of violence, The Art of Witnessing tells a new story, print by print, to highlight the ways in which Goya’s masterpiece extends far beyond conventional understandings of visual testimony.
[from publisher’s site]
Michael Iarocci is professor of Modern Spanish Literature and Culture (18th-21st centuries) in the Department of Spanish & Portuguese and the Associate Dean of Arts and Humanities at UC Berkeley. He received his Ph.D. from the University of Pennsylvania. Comparative and Transatlantic Hispanic Studies. Literature and geopolitics. Aesthetics and ideology. Visual culture. His previous books include Enrique Gil y la genalogía de la lírica moderna (Juan de la Cuesta, 1999), and Properties of Modernity: Romantic Spain, Modern Europe and the Legacies of Empire (Vanderbilt University Press, 2006).
The Art of Witnessing: Francisco de Goya’s Disasters of War.
Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2023.
In this book, Henrike Lange takes the reader on a tour through one of the most beloved and celebrated monuments in the world – Giotto’s Arena Chapel. Paying close attention to previously overlooked details, Lange offers an entirely new reading of the stunning frescoes in their spatial configuration. The author also asks fundamental questions that define the chapel’s place in Western art history. Why did Giotto choose an ancient Roman architectural frame for his vision of Salvation? What is the role of painted reliefs in the representation of personal integrity, passion, and the human struggle between pride and humility familiar from Dante’s Divine Comedy? How can a new interpretation regarding the influence of ancient reliefs and architecture inform the famous “Assisi controversy” and cast new light on the debate around Giotto’s authorship of the Saint Francis cycle?
Illustrated with almost 200 color plates, including individual images of each scene in the narrative cycle, this volume invites scholars and students to rediscover a key monument of art and architecture history and to see it with fresh eyes.
“Henrike Lange’s book on Giotto’s Arena Chapel changes our view of this key work of painting in Italy around 1300.” – Ulrich Pfisterer, Director of the Zentralinstitut für Kunstgeschichte; LMU, Munich
“Dr. Lange’s discovery is so all-encompassing and so to the point… It is now possible to bridge the Anglo-Saxon and Italian views of Giotto where once they were thought to be irreconcilable: a great step forward for the field.” – Laurence B. Kanter, Chief Curator, Yale University Art Gallery
“Lange shows how the theme of triumph is at once central and inexhaustible in the Arena Chapel – its structure, imagery, physical presence, context. The book is itself a vivid triumphal procession of ways of seeing, scholarship, discovery, and critical thinking.” – Randolph Starn, UC Berkeley History
“Lange’s discovery is completely new and original: an entirely convincing case built on the foundations of history, literature, philosophy, political iconography, and theology.” – Andrew Stewart, UC Berkeley History of Art and Classics
“Lange has the rare ability to build bridges for the reader with her command of European languages that allow her to translate and integrate the vast libraries of research on Giotto written in different linguistic and scholarly traditions. The very elegance and clarity of her writing suggest that Lange’s will be a contribution of real significance and will have quite an impact on medieval and Renaissance studies.” – Giuseppe Mazzotta, Sterling Professor of Italian, Yale University
“At its heart Lange’s impressive book relays an intensely visual argument. It is a scholarly triumph in itself to explicate the intimate relation – architectural, political, theological – between the Arena Chapel and a famous Roman prototype, the Arch of Titus. All scholars and students of the period will need to engage this powerful historical proposition and its implications for Italian Trecento visual culture. But Lange also finds the full measure of Giotto’s triumph as a painter.” – Whitney Davis, UC Berkeley History of Art
[from publisher’s site]
Henrike Christiane Lange is Associate Professor in History of Art and Italian Studies at the University of California, Berkeley. Lange completed her Magister Artium at Universität Hamburg, Germany, before earning her PhD at Yale University. The present book is the culmination of two decades of research at sites, archives, and collections across Europe.
Giotto’s Arena Chapel and the Triumph of Humility.
Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2023.
Le Principe de plaisir: esthétique, savoirs et politique dans la Florence des Médicis (XVIe-XVIIe siècle) tells several stories in one. On the one hand, that of one of the most original and productive academies of the late Florentine Renaissance, the Accademia degli Alterati (1569-ca. 1625). On the other hand, that of a restricted social group, made up of a few dozen young Florentine patricians whom the Medicis did not regard favorably because their ancestors had fought to maintain the oligarchic Republic. These young nobles made their academy a place where they could spend their leisure time and share their pleasures—artistic and otherwise—but also a collective where they could work together on their integration into Medicean court society. Between 2008 and 2018, Blocker researched the social and political circumstances in which new conceptions and uses of the “arts” emerged in the academic culture of late Renaissance Florence, through an in-depth archival study of the Accademia degli Alterati.
Thirdly, this book tells the story of a body of documents, now dispersed, but which once formed the basis of all the activities of the “Altered.” These thousands of folios of documents, and very largely unexplored—contain academic speeches, letters, activity registers, dialogues, collectively corrected poems, etc. Their analysis makes it possible to follow the day-to-day activities of the Alterati for nearly six decades, and to examine, through the material form that their work took, how collective intellectual horizons emerged within them, over the course of their debates.
Through the constant intertwining of these three stories, this book finally tells a fourth: that of the actions, activities and discourses which, within the academy of the Alterati, participated in the constitution of the aesthetic in knowledge (and in know-how) of a new type. Through the case of the Alterati, this book thus raises the question of the formalization of the aesthetic knowledge and practices that are ours today—and that of the links between their emergence and the rise of modern political authoritarianism, within early modern European aristocracies.
[translated from publisher’s site]
Déborah Blocker is professor of French and affiliated faculty in Italian Studies at UC Berkeley. She specializes in the social and political history of literary practices in early modern France and Italy, with a particular interest in theater, learned societies (academies), the history of philology and the history of early modern aesthetics. Her research relies heavily on the history of the book, as well as on manuscript studies. Her earlier work Instituer un ‘art’: politiques du théâtre dans la France du premier XVIIe siècle (Paris, Champion, 2009) examined the social and political processes through which early modern French theater was instituted into an art (1630-1660). This project led her to develop a larger curiosity for the social and political constitution and circulation of discourses on poetry and the arts in early modern Europe (1500-1900).