Today we often identify artifacts with the period when they were made. In more traditional cultures, however, such objects as pictures, effigies, and buildings were valued not as much for their chronological age as for their perceived links to the remote origins of religions, nations, monasteries, and families. As a result, Christopher Wood argues, premodern Germans tended not to distinguish between older buildings and their newer replacements, or between ancient icons and more recent forgeries.
But Wood shows that over the course of the fifteenth and early sixteenth centuries, emerging replication technologies—such as woodcut, copper engraving, and movable type—altered the relationship between artifacts and time. Mechanization highlighted the artifice, materials, and individual authorship necessary to create an object, calling into question the replica’s ability to represent a history that was not its own. Meanwhile, print catalyzed the new discipline of archaeological scholarship, which began to draw sharp distinctions between true and false claims about the past. Ultimately, as forged replicas lost their value as historical evidence, they found a new identity as the intentionally fictional image-making we have come to understand as art.
|Publisher:||University of Chicago Press|
|Product dimensions:||7.00(w) x 10.10(h) x 1.20(d)|
About the Author
Christopher Wood is professor of the history of art at Yale University. He is the author of Albrecht Altdorfer and the Origins of Landscape, also published by the University of Chicago Press.
Table of Contents
Druid portraits - How to relax the paradox - Strange temporalities of the artifact
2. Reference by Artifact
Relics of earliest Europe - Creative archeology - Replica chains - Reference by typology - Resemblance as an emergent property - Relics dependent on labels - Onomastic magic
3. Germany and “Renaissance”
Destructive intimacy with the distant past - No German “Middle Ages” - Modernity as disenchantment - A different way to describe modernization - The German career of the heathen forms - Disruption of the substitutional chain by print
The fabrication of facts - Document forgery as paradigm - Retrospective tombs - The translation of St. Simpertus - Likeness without reference - Some misidentified portraits - The true image of the emperor - The iterable profile - The colossus of Crete - Mirabilium - The quest for the bones of Siegfried
Recovery of the round arch - The return of Romanesque, in two dimensions - Alphabetic archeology - Early experiments in epigraphic perfection - Career of the Trajanic majuscule in Germany - Publication of icons and relics - Maximilian amplified - Replication of irregular information - Scholarly ambivalence about print - Urban archeology
Learned credulity - Quasi-antiquities - Fictional architecture - Hypertrophy of alphabetic choice - Ethnologies of form - Convergences on the epigraphic ideal - Unreadable alphabets - Banishment, temporal and spatial, of the nude - The tomb of the poet - The tomb of the emperor - “Colossal puppets” - The tremor of forgery - Fiction and counterfiction
Virtual pilgrimage - Devotion folded over on itself - Paradoxes of the signature - Pressures on the referential model - Art and prophecy - The future of credulity