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The Vienna School of Art History

Empire and the Politics of Scholarship, 1847–1918

By Matthew Rampley

Publication Year: 2013

Matthew Rampley’s The Vienna School of Art History is the first book in over seventy-five years to study in depth and in context the practices of art history from 1847, the year the first teaching position in the discipline was created, to 1918, the collapse of Austria-Hungary. It traces the emergence of art history as a discipline, the establishment of norms of scholarly enquiry, and the involvement of art historians in wider debates about the cultural and political identity of the monarchy. While Rampley also examines the formation of art history elsewhere in Austria-Hungary, the so-called Vienna School plays the central role in the study. Located in the Habsburg imperial capital, Vienna art historians frequently became entangled in debates that were of importance to art historians elsewhere in the Empire, and the book pays particular attention to these areas of overlapping interest. The Vienna School was well known for its methodological innovations and this book analyzes its contributions in this area. Rampley focuses most fully, however, on the larger political and ideological context of the practice of art history, in particular the way in which art historical debates served as proxies for wider arguments over the political, social, and cultural life of the Habsburg Empire.

Published by: Penn State University Press

Title Page, Copyright Page

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pp. i-iv

Table of Contents

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pp. v-vi

List of Illustrations

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pp. vii-viii


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pp. ix-x

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pp. 1-7

This book is a study of the practice of art history in Vienna and Austria- Hungary between 1847, when Rudolf von Eitelberger was appointed the first dozent (junior lecturer) in the subject, and 1918, the year the Habsburg Empire collapsed. It traces the emergence of art history, the establishment...

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Chapter 1: Founding a Discipline: Liberalism and the Idea of Scientific Method

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pp. 8-30

The establishment of the Vienna School of art history followed the confluence of a number of social, cultural, and political factors. The most important of these were the emergence of civil society in early nineteenth-century Vienna and the rise of liberalism as a political and social ideology. These were the necessary ...

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Chapter 2: Questions of Method: From Positivism to the History of Spirit

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pp. 31-51

In September 1873 the Museum for Art and Industry in Vienna hosted the first international congress of art history. Organized by Eitelberger, Lützow, and Thausing, it took place under the auspices of the Vienna World’s Fair, which lasted from...

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Chapter 3: Beyond Vienna: The Growth of Art History Across the Habsburg Monarchy

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pp. 52-73

The final quarter century of the nineteenth century witnessed a considerable diversification of art-historical practices and institutions in Austria- Hungary. The universities and museums of Vienna had been the intellectual center of the monarchy until the...

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Chapter 4: An Art History of Austria-Hungary? Patriotism and the Construction of National Historiography

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pp. 74-95

The Austrian authorities fostered the study of art history in Vienna in the mid–nineteenth century in the context of the wider educational reforms of the state. As with the Institute for Austrian Historical Research, it was hoped that this would ensure that the energies of the intelligentsia would be ...

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Chapter 5: Baroque Art and Architecture: A Contested Legacy

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pp. 96-115

In 1880 a short pamphlet was published in Vienna with the title Die Zukunft des Barockstiles (The future of the Baroque style). Its author, “Bernini the Younger,” sought to rehabilitate the Baroque from its detractors as well as from its recent imitators, who had introduced a debased neo-Baroque style in design...

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Chapter 6: Vernacular Cultures and National Identities: The Politics of Folk Art

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pp. 116-140

Falke’s comments, published in 1878, were an early contribution to what was one of the most important developments in the art world of late nineteenth-century Austria- Hungary: the rise of a critical interest in folk art. The discovery of folk art was, of course,...

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Chapter 7: Readings of Modern Art: Historicism, Impressionism, Expressionism

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pp. 141-165

The engagement of art historians in Austria- Hungary with folk art or Baroque art and architecture was a coded intervention into the cultural politics of the present. This common feature in art-historical writing of the period was in evidence elsewhere too....

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Chapter 8: Between East and West

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pp. 166-185

One of the key ways in which Austria- Hungary defined itself was in terms of its relation to the “East.” Since Edward Said’s analysis of orientalism in nineteenth- and early twentieth-century France and Britain, it has become a commonplace that the projected Oriental Other played a formative...

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Chapter 9: Saving the Past: Conservation and the Cult of Monuments

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pp. 186-211

In 1903 Alois Riegl published Der moderne Denkmalkultus: Sein Wesen, seine Entstehung (later translated as “The Modern Cult of Monuments: Its Essence and Its Origin”). Probably his best-known work on the subject, it was one of a series of texts...

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Epilogue: Continuity and Rupture After 1918

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pp. 212-216

In 1917 the eminent Italian art historian Adolfo Venturi contributed to a volume entitled Monumental Dalmatia.1 The book was a survey of the architectural remains from antiquity onward of the eastern Adriatic coastline, with contributions on the history,...


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pp. 217-242


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pp. 243-270


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pp. 271-281

Back Cover

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p. BC-BC

E-ISBN-13: 9780271062617
Print-ISBN-13: 9780271061580
Print-ISBN-10: 0271061588

Page Count: 336
Publication Year: 2013