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Unformatted text preview: Introduction Kly stats that Tain's contxtual approach to art history, xtrapolatd from his work on litratur, was normously influntial. His nam bcam associatd with a mthod of intrprting art that would in th latr twntith cntury b labld social art history. Th connctions h drw btwn artistic production and its nvironmnt wr complling to svral gnrations of artists and critics (including, notably, mil Zola, who claimd Tain as his thortical mastr). Tain's mthod of art history was not born within a formal institution of art history. As rcnt scholarship has laboratd, th disciplin of art history was foundd latr in th cntury, and thn in Grmany and Austria. In addition to outlining th origins and natur of Tain's art historical mthod, this papr dscribs th way in which Tain's mthod dvlopd outsid an art historical institution. That Tain opratd largly on th margins of acadmia, stablishing his profssion as an indpndnt journalist prior to attaining his position at th col ds Baux-Arts, distinguishs his non-spcializd, un-disciplind art history from th Grman modls with which th currnt fild of art history is mor familiar. Th Frnch acadmic world during Tain's studnt yars was contntious and highly rsrvd. Whil th 1830s and 1840s ar dscribd as th crowning dcads of romanticism and th dvlopmnt of libral idalism, ths mid-cntury vnts ar crditd with provoking a turn towards ralism, both political and artistic. Th prcivd failur of idology, both libral and consrvativ, lft many thinkrs politically d-moralizd. Tain's rspons to th Scond Rpublic was on of dfnsiv disngagmnt. H complaind about th slf-srving complicity btwn Napolon and th Church, rsrving his rformist faith for what h considrd to b th disintrst of scinc. Tain's fling for th grat potntial of scinc was influncd by a major figur in his arly intllctual lif, th svntnth-cntury Dutch philosophr Bndict Spinoza. Th Spinozist concption of th world as an organic systm ordrd not by God but by natur, th univrsal laws of which ar rationally comprhnsibl to man through scinc, was rvlatory to Tain as a young scholar. During th sam priod, Tain immrsd himslf in th rational mpiricism of Lock and Frnch nlightnmnt thinkrs such as Condillac and Montsquiu who, lik Spinoza, sought to intgrat man into his natural and social nvironmnt. Th powr of rational mpiricism to strip th world of th unknown, th mystrious, and th intangibl, and to plac th possibility of achiving crtain truths within rach of th scintifically mindd individual was normously xciting to Tain. Also appaling was th positivists' sns of 2 libration from th dogmatic authority of official stat and...
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This note was uploaded on 12/09/2009 for the course HISTORY 100 taught by Professor Shagan during the Fall '08 term at University of California, Berkeley.
- Fall '08