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ARTH301: Art Historical Methodologies

Unit 3: Connoisseurship and Technical Analysis   This unit looks at the development of connoisseurship and technical analysis. Connoisseurship focuses on establishing the authenticity and authorship of a work of art based on its size, condition, medium, and technique while also considering contemporary customs, fashion, and literature.  Traditionally, this type of judgment was largely based on the connoisseur’s personal intuition.  Technical analysis developed out of traditional connoisseurship, and it is an interdisciplinary field using modern scientific analysis to study, preserve, and conserve artworks.

Unit 3 Time Advisory
This unit will take approximately 16 hours to complete.

☐    Subunit 3.1: 3 hours

☐    Subunit 3.2: 13 hours

Unit3 Learning Outcomes
Upon successful completion of this unit, the student will be able to:

  • Explain what a connoisseur does.
  • Compare and contrast connoisseurship and technical analysis.
  • Recognize the types of scientific analysis that can be used to study artworks.
  • Explain how technical analysis can be used to study artworks.

3.1 Connoisseurship   - Reading: Wikipedia’s “Connoisseur” and “Giovanni Morelli” Links: Wikipedia’s “Connoisseur” (PDF) and “Giovanni Morelli” (PDF)
 
Instructions: Please read these texts as an introduction to the study of connoisseurship.
 
Terms of Use: The article above is released under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0 (HTML).  You can find the original Wikipedia version of these articles here and here (HTML).

  • Reading: Dictionary of Art Historians: Lee Sorenson’s “Bernard Berenson” Link: Dictionary of Art Historians: Lee Sorenson’s “Bernard Berenson” (HTML)

    Instructions: Please read this Biography as an introduction to the life and works of the controversial, influential connoisseur, Bernard Berenson (1865-1959). 

    Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

  • Reading: Art History Today: David Packwood’s “Connoisseurship Today” and “Connoisseurship and the Public Eye” Links: Art History Today: David Packwood’s “Connoisseurship Today” (HTML) and “Connoisseurship and the Public Eye” (HTML)
     
    Instructions: Please read these blog posts by David Packwood as an overview of the history of Connoisseurship, its proponents and opponents, and the potential role it can play in art historical scholarship today.
     
    Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

3.2 Technical Analysis   - Reading: The Getty Conservation Institute’s “From Connoisseurship to Technical Art History: The Evolution of the Interdisciplinary Study of Art” and “A Matter of Teamwork: A Discussion about Technical Studies and Art History” Links: The Getty Conservation Institute’s “From Connoisseurship to Technical Art History: The Evolution of the Interdisciplinary Study of Art” (HTML) and “A Matter of Teamwork: A Discussion about Technical Studies and Art History (HTML)
 
Instructions: Please read these pages in their entirety as an introduction to the development of Technical Art History and its present practice.
 
Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

  • Reading: The National Gallery’s Close Examination: Revealing the Stories behind the Paintings: “Fakes,” “Mistakes,” “Discoveries,” “Secrets,” “Being Botticelli,” and “Redemption” Link: The National Gallery’s Close Examination: Revealing the Stories behind the Paintings: “Fakes,” “Mistakes,” “Discoveries,” “Secrets,” “Being Botticelli,” and “Redemption
     
    Note: All websites are in HTML format.
     
    Instructions: Click on the links and choose one painting from each.  Read the accompanying text to learn how connoisseurship and scientific analysis have changed how we look at and what we know about different paintings.
     
    Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

  • Lecture: iTunes U: The Metropolitan Museum of Art: Marco Leona’s “Lecture 1: The Department of Scientific Research” Link: iTunes U: The Metropolitan Museum of Art: Marco Leona’s “Lecture 1: The Department of Scientific Research” (iTunes U)
     
    Instructions: Please watch the entire lecture (50:27 minutes) for an overview of the different scientific techniques that can be used to contribute to the study, preservation, and conservation of artworks.
     
    Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.