Visual Art and Representation

Susan Scott Parrish

in Atlantic History

ISBN: 9780199730414
Published online June 2011 | | DOI:
Visual Art and Representation

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  • History of the Americas
  • European History
  • African History
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The field of art history has undergone dramatic changes since the 1970s as it has moved from practices of formalism, iconography, and connoisseurship toward visual-culture studies. In the 1970s and 1980s, Marxist, social-history, and material-culture methodologies, along with an older tradition of vernacular-studies scholarship, brought about a significant broadening of the field. This broadening of scholarly interests and methodologies in turn paved the way for the more recent efflorescence in visual-culture studies. Visual culture not only includes the “great masters” of art but comprehends all forms of visuality in daily or vernacular life; it attends to modes of seeing in an almost anthropological manner; it acknowledges ideological forces that shoot through the visual and arenas of collection and display. Within cultural studies more broadly is an interest in “representation,” or various rhetorics of truth making. Another trend in art history of the Americas is a growing interest in cross-cultural exchanges. Although the Atlantic world as a field of historical analysis is of relatively recent vintage, scholars of art history have been aware of the visuality of empire and race for quite a while. To generalize, European art’s engagement with the Atlantic concerns itself with imagery of empire; African art with alteration and hybrid forms postcontact; and art in the Americas with colonial self-fashioning and the visuality of settler revolutions and also with clashes and meldings of European, indigenous American, and African forms.

Article.  8155 words. 

Subjects: History of the Americas ; European History ; African History ; History ; Regional and National History

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