February 2020

In a major new intervention, Decolonizing Art History, thirty art historians, artists and curators respond to a questionnaire on current concerns and future priorities for the discipline.

Bernini’s Revenge? Art, Gynaecology and Theology at St Peter’s, Rome, by Carol M. Richardson, considers the gap in understanding between the original audience and more recent viewers of Bernini’s Baldacchino, elucidating his inventions with reference to early modern spirituality and identifying the historical and political baggage that obstructs current comprehension.

In Supports/Surfaces, Scission, and the Structure of the Avant-Garde, Jenevive Nykolak traces the structure of what is here termed the ‘group-form’ of the avant-garde, both within the impersonal approach to painting adopted by Supports/Surfaces and in terms of the performative, mediated public posture by which it telegraphed and narrated its association.

Barnaby Haran situates temporality as a principle theme for interpreting Paul Strand’s photographs in Documenting an ‘Age-Long Struggle’: Paul Strand’s Time in the American Southwest, invoking the geological notion of ‘deep time’ to characterize his sustained examination of these symbiotic forms amidst the region’s rich topography.

The Perception of Men’s Intimacy in the Fin de Siècle: A Consideration via Delville’s The School of Plato, by Thijs Dekeukeleire, unpacks the male intimacy pictured in Delville’s work by aligning art-historical analysis with queer theory and gay and lesbian history, seeking to suggest ways in which the painting may have straddled the line between normativity and deviance.

Georgina Cole argues that George Romney in his portrait of John Milton represents his blindness as a sublime state of creativity and an embodiment of the doctrine of artistic invention in her essay Blindness and Creativity in Romney’s Milton and His Daughters.

In The Writerly and the Dialogical Imagination of Feminist Art History, Francesco Ventrella reviews two new accounts of artistic practice during the 1960s and 70s. Katie Scott considers recent volumes on eighteenth-century French art in Painting Matters. Publications on early-twentieth-century architecture and film are addressed in ‘Everything in Life Can Be Montaged – You Just Need to Find the Right Way’ by Markus Lähteenmäki. The Expanded Field of German Art and the Holocaust by Paul Jaskot evaluates a monograph on post-war cultural memory. From Work to Frame by Paul Duro examines a new book on honour and ornament in Italian Renaissance art. And in The Law of Circumstance, Martha Buskirk assesses recent work considering the intersections between contemporary art, new media, and legal institutions.