This paper explores the similarities and differences between ancient and modern practices of art appreciation and art history writing in their institutional and cultural contexts. It traces how classical antique practices and concepts of art history and criticism were transformed from the Italian Renaissance to the 18th century. While the specific cultural meanings attributed to practices of art collecting and art criticism are significantly different, as are certain features of their institutional settings, nevertheless, these are simply variant specifications of parallel practices marked by a range of family resemblances. These render the ancient and modern practices mutually intelligible. Notwithstanding their distinctive cultural background, such apparently specifically modern and western concepts as "art" and "aesthetics" can be analytically defined in such a way as to be applicable to the expressive visual culture (in short, the "art") of other cultural traditions without serious danger of distorting their specific character.


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pp. 267-288
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
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