lecture11c

Report
Nation and Memory in
Eastern Europe
Lecture 11
History Painting
Week 12, Spring Term
Outline
1. Images as historical sources
2. What is history painting?
3. Legitimising power
4. Mobilising the nation
5. Subversive paintings
6. Conclusion
Images are part of the culture and
cannot be understood without a
knowledge of this culture
Panofsky’s theory of iconography
Stages of iconographical research
1. Pre-iconographical description
the primary (natural) subject-matter
– what is it? – world of objects,
events – knowledge of history of
style
2. Iconographical analysis
the secondary (conventional)
subject-matter – what is it
specifically? – world of images,
stories, allegories – knowledge of
history of types
3. Iconological interpretation – the
intrinsic meaning or content – what
does it mean? – world of symbolic
values – knowledge of history and
symbols
Critics
 Panofsky doesn’t distinguish between the intended and
unintended symbolic meanings of an artwork
 Too much emphasis on intuition: to explain the
unintended meaning we must have deep knowledge of
cultural history
 Neglect of paintings which do not reflect presupposed
view of spirit of epoch
Tendency towards over-interpretation
 Disregard of social history of art
 Neglect of reception and Wirkungsgeschichte (history of
effects)
Political Iconography
asks about the Wirkungsgeschichte
(history of effects) of art as carrier of
political messages
What can you get from analysing
images?
Information about material culture
Essence of an epoch
Interpretation of specific events
Gestures and facial expressions
History of emotions
And many other things
What should you know?
 Who? – Who created the image?
 For whom? – Who ordered or bought the painting? Who
was expected to look at this image?
 When? When was the image created?
 What? – Topic of painting, symbols,
 Why? – Aim of the painter and client
 How does the image compare with other evidence
available? Could it be a fake or intended to deceive the
viewer?
 How was it perceived? Reception and
Wirkungsgeschichte (history of effects)
Literature
Peter Burke, Eyewitnessing: The Uses of Images as Historical Evidence
(London, 2001)
Roelof van Straten, Iconography, indexing, ICONCLASS: A handbook
(Leiden, 1994)
Outline
1. Images as historical sources
2. What is history painting?
3. Legitimising power
4. Mobilising the nation
5. Hidden meaning
6. Conclusion
History painting
The painting of scenes from the past
Very often the painting of scenes from classical and Christian history and
mythology, but also contemporary scenes
The painter as historian
Was the painter an eyewitness?
If not: Where did he get his information from?
- eyewitnesses
- literary sources
- earlier paintings or illustrations?
What are the conventions?
- Did the painter include conventional motives from other
paintings? Did he use tropes?
- How far does the painting reflect the individual scene, how
far is it a topical scene?
Outline
1. Images as historical sources
2. What is History painting?
3. Legitimizing power
4. Mobilization for the nation
5. Subversive painting
6. Conclusion
Louis Caravaque, Peter the
Great at the Battle of Poltava
(1709), 1718
Johann Gottfried Tannauer. Peter
the Great During the Battle of
Poltava. 1710s.
Nikolai S. Shustov, Ivan III tearing the Khans letter, 1862
Icon of Alexander Nevsky (Saint and
Prince), 1879
Prince Alexander Nevsky, painting
by Pavel Knorin, 1942
Outline
1. Images as historical sources
2. What is History painting?
3. Legitimizing power
4. Mobilization for the nation
5. Subversive painting
6. Conclusion
Franz A. Rubo (1856-1928)
The Battle of Borodino. Panorama
115 x 15 m
The Battle at 12:30 on the 7th of September 1812
Jan Matejko
The Battle of Grunwald
1410
1878
Jan Matejko (1838-1893), Selfportrait
Jan Matejko, The jester Stanczyk during a Ball at the Court of Queen Bona after the
Loss of Smolensk (1512), 1862
The Battle of Grunwald 1410, (Jan Matejko,
1878)
Grand prince Vytautas
(Witold), representing
Lithuania
Zyndram of Maszkowice,
representing the nobility (szlachta)
The Grand Master
(Hochmeister) of the
Teutonic Order Ulrich
von Jungingen,
representing the
„German“ enemy
Two soldiers,
representing the people
Saint Stanislav,
representing the Church
Exhibition of the Grunwald painting in Warsaw
Jan Matejko
The Battle of Raclawice 1794
Jan Styka and Wojciech Kossak
Panorama of the Battle of Raclawice
Mobilizing for the nation and foreign
propaganda
Jan Matejko, Sobieski at Vienna (1683), 1883
Jan Matejko, Rejtan – The Fall of Poland (1773), 1866
Cossacks
Jan Matejko, Khmelnytsky and
Tuhaj Bej at Lwow (L‘viv)
(1650), 1885
Ilja Repin: The letter of the Zaporizhian cossacks to Sultan Mahmud IV (1880-1891)
Outline
1. Images as historical sources
2. What is History painting?
3. Legitimizing power
4. Mobilization for the nation
5. Subversive painting
6. Conclusion
Vasily V. Vereshchagin (1842-1904), The Patriotic War of 1812. Series of Canvasses
"The horrors of war, brutality and wild frenzy of battles; inexpressible
sufferings of innocent victims sent to be killed; voluntariness and naivety of
those victims that are performing War like any other employment… heroism
and simplicity of soul; entire fields of killed and mutilated; thousands of
wounded plunged at the aid points in such an infernal sufferings that have no
name; wagon trains of mutilated… dozens of miles of snow plains where
hundreds and thousands of abandoned and wounded were freezing to slow
and terrible death; and all these painted with inimitable fire and skill with
enthusiasm coming from the depth of the shocked soul - that's what created
the canvases that no one had ever painted in Europe".
V.V.Stasov "Twenty five years of Russian art".
Henryk Siemiradzki, Nero’s Torches, 1876
Outline
1. Images as historical sources
2. What is History painting?
3. Legitimizing power
4. Mobilization for the nation
5. Subversive painting
6. Conclusion
Conclusion
Images do not offer a direct view in the
social reality of the past
Images offer specific contemporary views
of the past
Images have to be contextualized
(cultural, political, material context)
Images as sources have to be assessed
critically

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