Winckelmann and the Invention of Antiquity: History and Aesthetics in the Age of Altertumswissenschaft

Winckelmann and the Invention of Antiquity: History and Aesthetics in the Age of Altertumswissenschaft

Hardback Classical Presences

By (author) Katherine Harloe


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  • Publisher: Oxford University Press
  • Format: Hardback | 304 pages
  • Dimensions: 130mm x 216mm x 22mm | 500g
  • Publication date: 15 October 2013
  • Publication City/Country: Oxford
  • ISBN 10: 0199695849
  • ISBN 13: 9780199695843
  • Illustrations note: 3 black and white in-text illustrations

Product description

This volume provides a new perspective on the emergence of the modern study of antiquity, Altertumswissenschaft, in eighteenth-century Germany through an exploration of debates that arose over the work of the art historian Johann Joachim Winckelmann between his death in 1768 and the end of the century. Winckelmann's eloquent articulation of the cultural and aesthetic value of studying the ancient Greeks, his adumbration of a new method for studying ancient artworks, and his provision of a model of cultural-historical development in terms of a succession of period styles, influenced both the public and intra-disciplinary self-image of classics long into the twentieth century. Yet this area of Winckelmann's Nachleben has received relatively little attention compared with the proliferation of studies concerning his importance for late eighteenth-century German art and literature, for historians of sexuality, and his traditional status as a 'founder figure' within the academic disciplines of classical archaeology and the history of art. Harloe restores the figure of Winckelmann to classicists' understanding of the history of their own discipline and uses debates between important figures, such as Christian Gottlob Heyne, Friedrich August Wolf, and Johann Gottfried Herder, to cast fresh light upon the emergence of the modern paradigm of classics as Altertumswissenschaft: the multi-disciplinary, comprehensive, and historicizing study of the ancient world.

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Author information

Katherine Harloe is a Lecturer in Classics at the University of Reading.

Review quote

This learned book is well worth reading and pondering. It examines one of the central figures in the transition from eighteenth century antiquarianism to nineteenth century Altertumswissenschaft: Johann Joachim Winckelmann. Bernie Frischer, The Classical Journal

Table of contents

PREFACE ; LIST OF ABBREVIATIONS ; NOTE ON TRANSLATIONS AND CITATIONS ; ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS ; 1. Introduction: Winckelmann and the imagined community of classical scholarship, 1790-1930 ; PART ONE: WINCKELMANN IN CONTEXT ; 2. Placez moi dans un coin de Votre Bibliotheque: Winckelmann's career in Germany and his self-positioning within the eighteenth-century Republic of Letters ; 3. Kennzeichen der griechischen Meisterstucke: Winckelmann's early Roman writings and the discourse of connoisseurship ; 4. Winckelmann's Geschichte der Kunst des Altertums and its earliest critical reception ; PART TWO: ON THE CONTOURS OF DAS ALTERTUM AND THE POSSIBILITY OF ITS RECOVERY: HEYNE VERSUS WOLF ; Introduction to Part 2 ; 5. Homeric questions: A late eighteenth-century priority dispute ; 6. Heyne, Winckelmann and Altertumswissenschaft ; Conclusion to Part 2: the problem of Wolf's Hellenism ; PART THREE: ALTERTUMSWISSENSCHAFT AND THE AMATEUR: JOHANN GOTTFRIED HERDER ; 7. Herder, Winckelmann, and Wissenschaft ; BIBLIOGRAPHY ; INDEX