Winckelmann, On Art Architecture and Archaeology
Johann Joachim Winckelmann (1717-68) has long been recognized as one of the founders of modern art history and a major force in the development of archaeology and the study of ancient Greek architecture. He also exerted an influence on the Weimar Classicism of Goethe and Schiller, for whom his description of Greek sculpture as evoking “edle Einfalt und stille Grösse” (noble simplicity and a calm greatness) became a watchword. He contributed to modern scientific archaeology through his application of empirically derived categories of style to the analysis of classical works of art and architecture, and was one of the first to undertake detailed empirical examinations of artifacts and describe them precisely in a way that enabled reasoned conclusions to be drawn about ancient societies and their cultures. Yet several of his important essays are not available in modern English translation. The present volume remedies this situation by collecting four of Winckelmann’s most seminal essays on art along with several shorter pieces on the topic, two major if brief essays on architecture, and one longer essay on archaeology. Paired with this is an introduction covering Winckelmann’s life and work.
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