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Piero della Francesca (Italian, c. 1415–1492), Virgin and Child Enthroned with Four Angels, c. 1460-70. Oil possibly with some tempera on panel, transferred to fabric on panel, 107.8 x 78.4 cm. Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute, Williamstown, Massachusetts (1955.948)

Wölfflin's Grundbegriffe at 100: The North American Reception

Friday, June 22, 2012 - June 23, 2012

This colloquium, convened by Evonne Levy, Associate Professor of Renaissance & Baroque Art & Architecture at the University of Toronto, and Tristan Weddigan, Professor at the Kunsthistorisches Institut, Universität Zürich, was organized to commemorate the centenary of the publication of Wölfflin’s Principles of Art History, one of the classic texts of art historiography. This event examined the book’s North American reception and its influence on the development of formalist approaches to art history. The impact of the text was particularly fascinating in North America insofar as it was transmitted through the immigration of German art historians in the years before World War II, and was subsequently critiqued by the new art history of the 1980s and 1990s. This colloquium explored the history of the reception of Wölfflin’s book as well as asked what place—if any—there is for Wölfflin’s ideas in art history today.

Participants included: James Ackerman,Independent Scholar, Massachusetts; Daniel Adler, York University, Toronto, Canada; Svetlana Alpers, Independent Scholar, NYC; Carol Armstrong, Yale University; Marshall Brown, University of Washington; Whitney Davis, University of California, Berkeley; Mark Jarzombeck, MIT; Evonne Levy, University of Toronto, Canada; Stephen Melville, Ohio State University; Margaret Olin, Yale University; Tristan Weddigen, Universität Zürich; Robert Williams, University of California, Santa Barbara.