BAXANDALL PAINTING AND EXPERIENCE PDF

Tygodal Renaissance painting, for example, mirrors the experience of such activities as preaching, dancing, and gauging barrels. Read for class — ridiculously boring. Through these paintings we can glimpse, if not fully see, that past social texture. Baxandall also defines and illustrates sixteen concepts used by a contemporary critic of painting, thereby assembling the basic equipment needed to explore fifteenth-century art. This is honestly one of the best books I have read on the subject of Renaissance Art, and should be considered a primer experiencs anyone who is delving into the topic. Academic Skip to main content.

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Although relatively short it has subsequently been published in numerous languages, most recently Chinese, with a second edition published in It may have been published as a book with three chapters. In reality it is three books in one. Baxandall brings together many strands of previous art historical methodology and moves them forward in Painting and Experience. As the history of art was emerging discipline Art came to be seen as the embodiment of a distinctive expression of particular societies and civilisations.

Baxandall is certainly not the first to consider how an audience views a painting. He is not the first to discuss patronage either given Haskell published his Patrons and Painters in Further to this that the development of pictorial style is the result of a symbiotic relationship between artist and patron.

This is the unique element that Baxandall introduces to the examination of contracts between patron and painter and one that had not previously been explored. He supports this argument by referring to some contracts where the terms show how patrons demonstrated the eminent position of skill over materials.

Indeed to ensure his argument is placed in the domain of social and cultural history Baxandall refers to the role, availability and perception of gold in fifteenth-century Italy. How would the viewer of a painting recognise that skill had been purchased?

Baxandall asks this question himself and states that there would be no record of it within the contract. It was not the usual practice at that time for views on paintings to be recorded as they are today consequently there is little evidence of this.

Additionally, there is nothing in the contract that Baxandall presents us with that mentions the actual aesthetic of the painting; expressions of the characters; the iconography, proportions or colours to be used. We know this is not true. Baxandall makes no accommodation for the rising agency of the artist and the materials to which they have access as influences on style. Furthermore, Baxandall does not examine the training that artists received during fifteenth-century Italy to ascertain whether this could be an explanation of their style or how it developed.

All of the painters Baxandall refers to were part of workshops and were trained by a master. As such there would be a style that would emanate from these workshops.

Furthermore, these experiences are both shaped by and representative of that culture. As a consequence of this patrons created a brief for painters that embodied these culturally significant representations. It moves away from the cause and effect ideas that were taking hold of art historical enquiry in the early s. But how was it constructed? Baxandall believes that the ability to do such things as gauge volumes at a glance enabled the mercantile classes to perceive geometric shapes in paintings and understand their size and proportion within the painting relative to the other objects contained within it.

Baxandall also refers to dance and gesture as further examples from the social practices of the day that enabled viewers of paintings to understand what was happening within them.

Baxandall asserts that the widespread engagement in the Bassa Danza enabled the courtly and mercantile classes to see and understand, movement within paintings. The evidence that Baxandall relies on to demonstrate that the pictorial style of fifteenth-century Italian painting developed seems extremely tenuous.

Goldman, in his review of Painting and Experience, challenges Baxandall on this by saying that there is no evidence that modern-day building contractors and carpenters are especially skilled at identifying the compositional elements they see in a Mondrian. Likewise, the argument put forward by Goldman can be extrapolated into the other examples that Baxandall uses such as dance being reflective of movement in paintings.

The reason for doing so is that Baxandall claims this is the method through which the twenty-first-century viewer can interpret documents about paintings that were written during the fifteenth-century by those not skilled in describing paintings. With this tool, it is then possible to gain a clearer understanding of what was meant by terms such as aria and dolce.

Baxandall uses this approach to interpret the meaning to the adjectives contained within the letter to the Duke of Milan from his agent within chapter one of Painting and Experience. As it is always difficult for words to capture what a painting is conveying this chapter, although worthy, does not provide sufficient information that is of value to a contemporary viewer in entering the mindset of the fifteenth-century viewer. It is unlikely a patron used such language when commissioning paintings.

It is also questionable whether this was the type of language that was used amongst artists themselves to discuss their styles and approaches.

One of the main reasons was the belief that Baxandall was bringing back the Zeitgeist. This leads us to other problems identified in response to the question of what kind of Renaissance does Painting and Experience give us. It gives us a Renaissance that centres on Italy in the fifteenth century, on the elite within society as a group and men only.

It is a group of people that represents a fraction of society. They do commission most of the paintings hung in public, but they are not the only viewers of it. The full congregation at Church would view these paintings, and they came from all walks of life. For this reason, Marxist social historians, such as T.

Baxandall also rejects the idea that the individual influences pictorial style given each experience the world in a different way.

He acknowledges that this is true but that the differences are insignificant. Four years before the second edition of Painting and Experience Stephen Greenblatt published Renaissance Self-fashioning, a book devoted to the methods through which individuals created their public personas in the Renaissance.

The evidence that Baxandall relies on to support his theses is literary. For example, the Scythians of Central Asia, where scholars admit there is a lot that will not be understood of this ancient people because they had no written language. Perhaps the most glaring omission in Painting and Experience is any reference to the role that the revival of classical art played in the creation of Renaissance paintings and their style.

The Renaissance was the rebirth of antiquity. Burkhardt writes a chapter on the revival of antiquity in The Civilisation of the Renaissance in Italy. It must be argued that the revival of antiquity is a contribution to the pictorial style of fifteenth-century Italy. Painting and Experience had its many supporters who viewed it has an important guide to bringing out the direct causal relationships between artistic and social change.

However, Baxandall was very critical of this first chapter. Clifford Geertz was an anthropologist who was able to refine the early structuralist model in anthropology that had been created by Levi-Strauss by incorporating ideas from Painting and Experience.

For historians, Ludmilla Jordanova posits that the approach contained within Painting and Experience highlights to historians the importance of approaching visual materials with care and that it can assist in identifying the visual skills and habits, social structure and the distribution of wealth within a society. It was not written for historians of art but was borne out of a series of lectures that Baxandall gave to history students.

As we have seen it has had an exceptional impact not only in Renaissance studies and history of art but across many other disciplines too. It is a book to be found on reading lists at many universities around the world today. Painting and Experience may have its problems but remains important because it highlights how interconnected life and art have truly become. Along with that and an understanding of the critical art historical terms of the time, Baxandall enables us to identify the social relationships out of which paintings were produced by analysing the visual skill set of the period.

We are left wondering whether we have been able to do that. The visual skills Baxandall attributes to the mercantile classes he believes are derived from their business practices, such as gauging barrels, impacting their ability to appreciate better forms and volumes within paintings is nothing less than tenuous.

Not only that but the approach is specific to a single period and has to be rebuilt each time it is applied to a different era.

Baxandall has tried to do so but his assumptions and extrapolations and the inability to prove success leave an approach that is too shaky to constitute a robust method. Many of Sapienza Travel tours visit cities across Italy and view major artworks of the fifteenth century.

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Painting and Experience in Fifteenth-Century Italy

Although relatively short it has subsequently been published in numerous languages, most recently Chinese, with a second edition published in It may have been published as a book with three chapters. In reality it is three books in one. Baxandall brings together many strands of previous art historical methodology and moves them forward in Painting and Experience. As the history of art was emerging discipline Art came to be seen as the embodiment of a distinctive expression of particular societies and civilisations.

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Career[ edit ] Baxandall was born in Cardiff , the only son of David Baxandall, a curator who was at one time director of the National Gallery of Scotland. In he departed for the Continent. He spent a year at Pavia University —56 , then taught at an international school in St. On his return to London in he began a long association with the Warburg Institute , initially working in the photographic collection, where he met Kay Simon, whom he married in From to he was a junior fellow, working on his never-completed PhD, Restraint in Renaissance behaviour, under Ernst Gombrich. He was appointed to a chair by the University of London in , but increasingly spent his time in the United States.

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