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Baxandall's painting and experience in Italy from the fifteenth century: A founder of social history of image style was first published in 1972. Although relatively short, it has since been published in many languages, most recently Chinese, with a second edition published in 1988. Since its publication it has been described in such favorable terms as to & # 39; intelligent, persuasive, interesting and wisely argued & # 39; to & # 39; concise and tightly written, and found & # 39; introduce new and important material & # 39;. It may have been published as a book with three chapters. In reality, there are three books in one.

Baxandall collects many parts of previous art-historical methodology and moves them forward in painting and experience. As art history grew, discipline art emerged as the embodiment of a distinct expression of certain societies and civilizations. The pioneer of this was Johann Joachim Winckelmann in his History of Ancient Art (1764). Baxandall is not really the first to consider how an audience looks at a painting. He is not the first to discuss patronage, either given that Haskell published his patron and painter in 1963. Lacan created the concept of & # 39; look & # 39; and Gombrich's idea of ​​& # 39; viewer's share & # 39; before Baxandall published painting and experience. Baxandall describes chapter two on painting and experience as & # 39; Gombrichian & # 39;. Baxandall spent time with anthropologists and their exploration of culture, especially Herskovits & # 39; and his ideas about cognitive style. Baxandall's strategy focuses on how the style of painting is influenced by patrons who pick up and look at paintings. Patriotism is culturally constructed. For Baxandall & # 39; a painting from the fifteenth century is the deposit of a social relationship & # 39; This quote is the first sentence of the first chapter of painting and experience; & # 39; Terms & Conditions & # 39;

Baxandall's first chapter in painting and experience of & # 39; Terms & Conditions & # 39; tries to explain that the change in style within paintings that have seen during the fifteenth century is identified in the content of contracts and letters between patrons and painters. Furthermore, the development of image style is the result of a symbiotic relationship between artist and protector. However, this relationship is controlled by & # 39; institutions and conventions - commercial, religious, perceptual, in the broadest sense social ... (it) influenced the forms of what they did together & # 39; Baxandall argues that his approach to the study of patrons and painters was in no way influenced by Francis Haskell's 1963 book, Protector and Painter, or by DS Chambers & # 39; Patrons and artists of the Italian Renaissance.

Baxandall's most important evidence to support the development of image style is evident from the change in emphasis on the artist's skill over the materials to be used in the production of a painting shown in the terms of the contract between the artist and the client. This is the unique element that Baxandall introduces for the study of contracts between patrons and painters and one that had not been explored before. He supports this argument by referring to some contracts where the terms show how protectors showed the prominent position of skill with regard to material. In the 1485 contract between Ghirlandaio and Giovanni Tornabuoni, the contract details stated that the background would include & # 39; figures, building, castle, cities. & # 39; In previous contracts, the background would be gilding; therefore, Tornabuoni ensures that there is a & # 39; labor costs, if not skill & # 39; in this commission.

Baxandall says that & # 39; It would be pointless to account for this type of development simply within the history of art & # 39; To ensure that his arguments are placed in the social and cultural-historical domain, Baxandall refers to the role, availability and perception of gold in fifteenth-century Italy. Baxandall uses the story of the humiliation of the Sienese ambassador to King Alfonso's court in Naples over his elaborate dress as an example of how such conspicuous consumption was beaten. He cites the need for & # 39; old money & # 39; to be different from & # 39; new money & # 39; and the rise of humanism as a reason to move toward buying skill as a valuable asset to show.

Here are the main difficulties with Baxandall's strategy for identifying society's influence on image style through the trade conditions. How would the viewer of a painting recognize that the skill had bought in? Baxandall asks this question himself and says that there would be no information on it within the contract. It was not common practice at that time for paintings to be recorded, as they are today. There is therefore little evidence of this. In addition, there is nothing in the contract that Baxandall presents to us that mentions the painting itself aesthetics; expressions of characters; iconography, proportions or colors to use.

Joseph Manca was particularly critical of this chapter when he noted that & # 39; Baxandall & # 39; & # 39; s early discussion about agreements has imagined a dependent artist who is constantly ready to repeat the feelings of his protectors or public & # 39; We know this is not true. Bellini refused to paint for Isabella d & # 39; Este because he was not comfortable painting according to her design. Although Perugino accepted the assignment from Isabella, he found & # 39; the theme a little fitting for his art & # 39;

Baxandall offers no accommodation for the rising agency for the artist and the materials they have access to as an influence on style. Andrea Mantegna's style was greatly influenced by his visit to Rome where he saw many discoveries from ancient Rome, often taking them back to Mantua. Furthermore, Baxandall does not examine the training that artists received during Italy from the 16th century to determine if this could be an explanation of their style or how it was developed. All the painters that Baxandall refers to were part of workshops and were trained by a master. As such, there would be a style that comes from these workshops. It was recognized that students from Squarcino, including Mantegna and Marco Zoppo, & # 39; had common traits in their art & # 39 ;. In 1996 he said & # 39; I did not like the first chapter on painting and experience. I had done it quickly because something was needed, and it seemed a bit crass.

The central chapter on painting and experience is about & # 39; the whole conception of the cognitive style of the second chapter, which to me is the most important chapter, (and) is directly from anthropology. This chapter is Baxandall & # 39; & # 39; s idea of ​​& # 39; Period Eye & # 39 ;.

Baxandall opens & # 39; period eye & # 39; by saying that the physiological way we all see is the same, but at the point of interpretation & # 39; human equipment for visual perception to be uniform, from one man to the next & # 39; Simply put, & # 39; period eye & # 39; are social acts and cultural practices that shape visual forms within a given culture. In addition, these experiences are shaped by and represent that culture. As a consequence of these protectors, a card was created for painters who embodied these culturally significant representations. The painter then delivers paintings in such a way that they meet the protection requirements including these culturally significant objects in their paintings. Baxandall & # 39; & # 39; s chapter on & # 39; period eye & # 39; is a tool for us to use so that we, in the twenty-first century, can see Italian paintings from the 16th century through the same lens as an Italian businessman from the fifteenth century. Period Period & # 39; is an innovative concept that embodies a synchronization of the understanding of art production. It moves away from the cause and effect ideas that took hold in the art historical investigation in the early 1970s. But how was it constructed?

Baxandall said that many of the skills that viewers acquired when observing paintings were acquired outside the area to look at paintings. This is where he examines the economic machinations in Florence's mercantile community and finds that barrels, the rule of three, arithmetic and mathematics were skills that the merchants require a lot, and these gave them a more sophisticated visual apparatus to look at paintings. Baxandall believes that the ability to do such things as measuring volumes at a glance allowed the mercantile classes to experience geometric shapes in paintings and to understand their size and proportion in the painting in relation to the other objects in it.

Baxandall also refers to dance and gesture as further examples from today's social practices that allowed viewers of paintings to understand what was happening in them. Baxandall claims that the extensive involvement in Bassa Danza enabled the courteous and mercantile classes to see and understand movements within paintings.

One of the most important issues with the application of & # 39; period eye & # 39; is proof that it has been applied correctly. Using Baxandall & # 39; s strategy, how did you know if you got it right - is it ever possible for a 21st century Englishman to regard a painting as a fifteenth-century businessman even with an insight into Italian Renaissance society and culture? The evidence that Baxandall relies on to show that the fifteenth-century Italian painting style has developed seems extremely sluggish. Goldman challenges Baxandall in his review of painting and experience of this by saying that there is no evidence that today's building contractors and carpenters are particularly adept at identifying the composition elements they see in a Mondrian. Similarly, the argument put forward by Goldman can be extrapolated to the other examples used by Baxandall, such as dance that reflects movement in paintings. An example is Botticelli & # 39; s & # 39; Pallas and Centaur & # 39; where Baxandall describes it is a ballo which Hermeren in his review states that this is not a useful proof since most paintings can be described in that way.

The last chapter draws attention to the primary sources because Baxandall refers to Cristoforo Landino's writings on the descriptors used during the fifteenth century in Italy for different styles seen in paintings. The reason for this is that Baxandall argues that this is the method by which the twenty-first century viewer can interpret documents about paintings written during the fifteenth century by those who are not adept at 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 of the adjectives contained in the letter to the Duke of Milan from his agent in Chapter One on painting and experience.

Although this chapter is detailed and provides a & # 39; thorough analysis of Landino & # 39; s terminology of art & # 39; Middledorf believes it does little to & # 39; cast some light on the style of Renaissance painting & # 39; Because it is always difficult for words to capture what a painting conveys, although worth it, this chapter does not provide enough information that is valuable for a contemporary viewer as he enters the mindset of 15th-century viewers. It is unlikely that a patron used such a language when using paintings. It can also be questioned if this was the type of language used by artists to discuss their styles and approaches. Of course, there are materials from artists of the time that describe how paintings can best be delivered, but even these seem too abstract to be of practical value according to the example of Leonardo da Vinci who writes about & # 39; prompto & # 39;.

At the publication Painting and Experience received less attention that Baxandall & # 39; s Giotto and the orators. & # 39; When that book came out, many people did not like it for various reasons & # 39; One of the main reasons was the belief that Baxandall returned the Zeitgeist. This leads us to other problems identified in response to the question of what kind of renaissance gives painting and experience. It gives us a renaissance that centers on Italy during the fifteenth century, on the elite of society as a group and only men. It is a group of people who represent a fraction of society. They order most paintings that hang in public, but they are not the only viewers of it. The entire congregation in the church would look at these paintings, and they came from all walks of life. For this reason, Marxist social historians, like TJ Clark, took issue with the book, claiming that it was not a true social history because it focused only on the elite of society without & # 39; handle issues of class, ideology and power & # 39;

Baxandall also rejects the idea that the individual influences the image style given that each experiences the world differently. He acknowledges that this is true but that the differences are insignificant. This is in sharp contrast to the & # 39; the canonical idea that individualism in the Renaissance changed the subject (for example, the expansion of portraits) & # 39; Four years before the second edition of Painting and Experience, Stephen Greenblatt published Renaissance Self-fashioning, a book devoted to the methods that individuals created their public personalities in the Renaissance.

There are further problems with Baxandall's method. The evidence that Baxandall relies on supporting his dissertations is literary. For example, in addition to Chapter Three & # 39; s use of Landino & # 39; s writings in chapter two, did much of the preaching as a source of information for building & # 39; period eye & # 39; and in chapter one all the evidence is in written contracts. This raises the question of how Baxandall's strategy is applied to a society where art survives, but the writing does not. For example, the Scythians in Central Asia, where scientists admit that there is much that will not be understood by this ancient people because they had no written language. It seems in this case that Baxandall & # 39; s strategy is impossible to adopt and here we see another of its limitations.

Perhaps the most glaring omission in painting and experience is some 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 Renaissance civilization in Italy. It must be argued that the revival of antiquity is a contribution to the figurative style of fifteenth-century Italy.

Painting and experience had its many followers who saw that it has an important guide for developing the direct causal relationships between artistic and social change. It met warmly and was influential in disciplines in addition to just art history such as anthropology, sociology and history as well as being credited with the creation of the term & # 39; visual culture & # 39;. In 1981, Bourdieu and Desault dedicated a special edition of the Actes de la recherché en sciences sociales to Baxandall.

Baxandalls & # 39; analysis of the trading conditions, despite some shortcomings, has not been without influence. Baxandall refers to money and the payment mechanism in this chapter and says that & # 39; money is very important for art history & # 39; His focus on the economic aspect of the production of painting received positive reactions from & # 39; those who are drawn to the concept of economic history as a form of culture & # 39; In the field of sociology: & # 39; His interest in markets and patronage made him a natural reference point for work in the production of cultural perspectives, such as Howard Becker & # 39; s (1982) Art Worlds & # 39 ;. But Baxandall was very critical of the first chapter.

Andrew Randolph extends the idea of ​​& # 39; period eye & # 39; to & # 39; sexual eye & # 39; in an exploration of how period eye can be applied to women. Pierre Bourdieu creates the concept for the & # 39; social emergence of the eye & # 39; which is the revision of his concept & # 39; encoding / decoding & # 39; after encountering painting and experience that enabled Bourdieu to & # 39; place a strong emphasis on specific social activities that engage and educate the individual's & # 39; & # 39; s cognitive devices. Clifford Geertz was an anthropologist who could refine the early structuralist model of anthropology created by Levi-Strauss by incorporating ideas from painting and experience. In the field of art history, Svetlana Alper used aspects of painting and experience in her book on Dutch art, The Art of Describing and credited Baxandall with creating the term & # 39; visual culture & # 39;. To historians, Ludmilla Jordanova argues that the method of painting and experience emphasizes to historians the importance of approaching visual materials and that it can help identify visual skills and habits, social structures and the distribution of wealth in a society.

Painting and experience were described by Baxandall as & # 39; fairly light and volatile & # 39 ;. It was not written for art historians but was carried by 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 art history but also in many other disciplines. It has created ideas about it & # 39; social eye & # 39; it & # 39; the sexual eye & # 39; and even continued to create new terminology in the form of & # 39; visual culture & # 39;. It is a book that is on reading lists at many universities around the world today. Painting and experience may have their problems, but it remains important because it highlights how interconnected life and art have really become. What Baxandall is trying to give us is a set of tools to build the Quattrocentro lens for ourselves; not just through & # 39; period eye & # 39; but analyzes of contracts between protectors and painters. Along with this and an understanding of the critical art-historical conditions of the time, Baxandall allows us to identify the social conditions in which paintings were produced by analyzing the visual skill of the period. We left wondering if we could do it. There are no empirical ways to know if we have used & # 39; period eye & # 39; We are actually handed over to & # 39; Rely on ingenious reconstructions and guesses & # 39; The visual skills that Baxandall attributes to the mercantile classes he believes derive from their business methods, such as measuring barrels, affecting their ability to appreciate better shapes and volumes in paintings are nothing short of sluggish. Not only that, but the approach is specific to a single period and must be rebuilt every time it is applied to another era. Baxandall's approach does not allow any concept for the artist's agency, their education or, in fact, the importance of antiquity to the Italians of the fifteenth century.

The question remains whether it is possible to write a & # 39; social history of style & # 39;. Baxandall has tried to do so, but his assumptions and extrapolations and the inability to prove success leave a strategy that is too shaky to constitute a robust method.

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