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Intemationale Forschungen zur

Allgemeinen und
Vergleichenden Literaturwissenschaft
In Verbindung mit
Dietrich Briesemeister (Friedrich Schiller-Universitat Jena) - Guillaume van Gernert
(Universiteit Nijmegen) - Joachim Knape (Universitat Tiibingen) - Klaus Ley (Johannes
Gutenberg-Universitat Mainz) - John A. McCarthy (Vanderbilt University) - Manfred
Pfister (Freie Universitat Berlin) - Sven H. Rossel (University of Washington) - Azade
Seyhan (Bryn Mawr College) - Horst Thome (Universitat Kiel)
herausgegeben von
Alberto Martino
(Universitat Wien)
Prof. Dr. Norbert Bachleitner. - Doz. Dr. Alfred Noe
Anscbrift der Redaktion:
Institut filr Vergleichende Literaturwissenschaft, Berggasse 11/5, A-1090 Wien
Cultural Visions
Essays in the History of Culture
edited by
Penny Schine Gold
and Benjamin C. Sax
Amsterdam - Atlanta, GA 2000
Truth and Meaning in Cultural History
Benjamin C. Sax
Biography and Autobiography
Varieties of Biography during the Italian Renaissance: Individuality and Beyond
James Michael Weiss
Autobiography and American Identity: Another Look at Benjamin Franklin
Amy Apfel Kass
The Autobiographer in Mo!Jandas Karamchand Gandhi's The Story of My
Experiments with Truth
Milton Eder
Thucydides' Argument with the Facts
James Redfield 91
"An Acute and Practiced Eye": Jacob Burckhard!, The Civilization of the Renaissance
in Italy, and the Problem of Cultural History
Benjamin C. Sax 111
Art History and Ideology: Alois Rieg! and Josef Strzygowski
Margaret Olin 151
Politics, Nationalism, and Culture
Caesar Ludens: Emperor Maximilian I and the Waning Middle Ages
Larry Silver
Spain as Castile: The Making of a National Culture
E. Inman Fox
Thomas Mann and World War I: Germanness under Siege
Alcyone Scott
Cultural Translation
The Dialectics of Reward and Punishment in Philo of Alexandria
<' Alan Mendelson 239
'o Sancte Socrate, Ora pro Nobis: Erasmus on the Problem of Athens and Jerusalem
Katy O'Brien Weintraub 259
. Bodin, Roman Law, and the Renaissance Conception of the Past
l/ Zachary Sayre Schiffman 271
.. the Bible Modern: Translating Biblical Culture for Jewish American
rChildren in the Early Twentieth Century
Penny Schine Gold 289
. eta hor ultimately depends upon the capacity of lan-
metaphor of the IlllCrocosm. Each _m p . directly tlrrough non-imagistic language to
. If "th dir tly in an unage or m .
guage 1tse ei er ec Th truth claims of mimetic texts thus function
. rth ld in part or as a whole. e h
bnng fo a war
li . stic definitions of metaphors, metap ors
As_ to by "playing" with the way we "see"
always ongmate with unages and n_ e al tality 87
. forming a cultur to
the relationship among
hi t is also integrally related to the very "con-
The form of presentation of cultu_ra s creative work to bring to sight and to lan-
ception" of facts or even the forms of the past. We need
guage what 1s not sunply observ h
1 0
ly a work of art can capture these move-
the work itself to bring culture a complex sets of relations "can give us
ments. While Bu_rckhardt e fe:ent which the discovery of a new world of great-
only a feeble notion of the universal . f rth this totality or in the specific case of the
all d f rth
" till the text bnngs o ' .
ness then c e o ' s . f rth the truth of culture as the truth of this
Italian Renaissance, of a cultural whole, Thbnngs
ti. n of the truth claims of the text is thus
diti (CRI 2474) e ques o
world and of s tra on .
. hip of "world" to world. Within this prob-
d 'thin th roblematic of the re ations
reframe w1 . e p . d h ther The Civilization of the Renaissance.comprehends
lematic'. questions can be raise w e oche and correctly portrays the unity of Italian
the. various of the bt that whether we like it or not, the modem world
Renaissance Bzldung; but we cannot. ou f ,. and which comprise the
. f the perception o 1orces u
comes forth m terms
dl formulates the type of relation between cultur-
modem world. As y ecessi of the modem spirit that this attitude
al history and modem reality: It is a lofty n tyam be lost, that an irresistible impulse
ained, can never ag
[to view worldy ' g d thi s and that we roust hold this inquiry to be
forces us to the investigation of man an ng '
our proper end and work" (CRI 2:474).88
. . ection between "seeing as" and "being as" to establish the
87 Ricoeur explicitly plays with the mterconn >JM ho 247-56 303-14 and Time and Narrative
relation between text and reality. See The Rule o etap r, , '
l:ix, 3: 154-60. tion between Burckhardt's interpretation of the '
88 On this point, Weintraub clearly sees a cohnnec f l'' . the nineteenth century Burckhardt point-
d h" f es Against the c aos o He m '
Renaissance an is own im . . t ro ose that the individual search for philosophy to so ve .
ed to a Renaissance sense of style. He did no . d
hich Burckhardt held up to modem man,
all life's difficulties. As Weintraub formulates itf: le I eda h':rmony was not by accident that of the 1
. f 1 g a clear sense o sty e an ' h
who was m process o osm 1 f l'' " (VC 133). The Renaissance s ows
d h'l ophy but a sty e o 11e h
Renaissance man, who ha p i .os . . t'll b coordinated into a meaningful whole throug
us how a life full of challengmg d1vers1t1es can s I e
the flexible notion of a style.
Margaret Olin
Art History and Ideology: Alois Riegl and Josef Strzygowski
The Objects of "Cultural History"
"Cultural history" has fallen into disrepute.I Appearing at the same time, and owing its suc-
cess to the growth of nationalism, the term has come to designate the goal of understand-
ing the historical world as an array or series of distinct social groups which cohere through
their participation in a common "culture."2 The "culture" that joined these groups once
seemed obvious: a co=on language, religious ideas, and the enjoyment of the same
works or styles of (usually high) art. Their coherence, or their integration into a system,
could be taken for granted. The historian's job was to define the principles of coherence in
a specific culture or to analyze one aspect of culture in relation to the others.
Cultural historians did not measure historical cultures by present day standards, for, as
practiced at the turn of the century by hermeneutically trained historians, cultural history
demanded understanding of and appreciation for cultures in their own terms. But the very
emphasis on the factors that made a culture cohere meant that to understand a culture was
to understand it as a whole, no matter how many different elements-of art, music or reli-
gion-might compose it. Following a hermeneutic circle, historians sought to construct
such wholes conceptually by gathering fragments of knowledge. Each new fragment could
be addressed fa and used to question and revise the whole. But cultural history had both an
ontological and a normative element. Like any history it had to believe in the existence of
its objects, cultural wholes. However fragmentary the evidence, hence however partial,
inconclusive, or tentative the construction built by the historian, historians of culture
always postulated and to represent the complete expression of the spirit of the age, of
the nation, or of the people, as embodied in its language and works. Trying to see with
. , qther eyes, they assumed the singular focus of those eyes and tried to match it with the
,ffoherence of their analytic work. The beauty of such unitary "visions of culture" often sug-
. ested normative values. 3 The coherent construction and imaginative experience of the his-
"i orian could be mistaken for the culture itself.
i' > With the decline of the idea of wholeness, the fortunes of cultural history declined as
Although many historians now study aspects of culture, few call themselves cultural
t,,,, .
A different version of this essay was published in Austrian Studies 5 (1994): 107-20.
When cultural history is used in another sense, the term "cultural history" tends to be qualified. See,
for example, Lynn Hunt, ed., The New Cultural History (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1989).
I borrow the phrase "vision of culture" from Karl J. Weintraub's study Vtsions of Culture (Chicago:
University of Chicago Press, 1966). For classical analyses of the hermeneutical theory behind cultur-
al history, see Wilhelm Dilthey, Der Aufbau der geschichtlichen Welt in den Geisteswissenschaften
(Frankfurt a.M.: Surkamp, 1970); and Hans-Georg Gadamer, Truth and Method (New York: Crossroad,
.. Among others, Homi K. Bhabha has critically examined the concept of nationhood. See
\ "Dissemination," in The Location of Culture (London and New York: Routledge, 1994), 139-70.
historians. The wholeness of our own culture has been questioned and fragmented into
multiple speaking positions. Our failure to identify cultural wholes at home has made it dif-
ficult to see such wholes abroad or in the past. More significantly, when we think we have
succeeded in identifying a cultural whole, we seldom feel like celebrating. The very idea
is linked to colonialism and ethnocentrism and tainted with blood.5 All ofus are at least liv-
ing in the aftennath, if not in the grisly present of massacres that have resulted from
attempts to create the entities postulated, studied and cherished by cultural historians.
Our present trepidations over cultural wholes, however, are not new. Although the works
of cultural historians were used to justify the creation of political entities, cultural history
and nationalism were not always joined. ln the days before the definitive victory of mod-
ern nationalism, pride in ethnic diversity often kept company with fear of the monopoly of
individual cultures and nationalities. As has been shown by recent scholars, multi-national
empires of the past, including the Habsburg empire and the Ottoman Empire, lasted for
centuries in spite of the centripetal force of nationalism. 6 The attempt to create undifferen-
tiated wholes does not even represent faithfully cultural history as created by its most dis-
tinguished early practitioners. More interestingly, perhaps, cultural history itself has been
written to challenge the very desirability of cultural wholes, even to keep them from com-
ing into being. In the present essay, I examine one of many arenas where cultural histori-
ans-in this case two culturally minded art historians-used their cultural constructs to
fight the battle between nationalism and internationalism. I do not do so to expose their
political motivations, as though there were something in and of itself evil in such motives.
I use them because they exemplify clearly the reciprocal relation between political posi-
tions and the writing of cultural history, and they demonstrate the positive significance of
this reciprocity.
The two. scholars, Alois Riegl and Josef Strzygowski, were contemporaries and compa-
triots. Riegl was born in 1858 and Strzygowski four years later. They lived and worked in
Austria at the turn of the twentieth century, during the last decades of the Austro-Hungarian
Empire. Both of them, in accordance with the historical training then accorded people
whose studies focused on art, studied art history as inseparable from other cultural mani-
festations, governmental forms and human propensities of different social groups. Their
work would to reflect similarly the openness to distant cultures of the multi-national
empire in which they lived. Between the two of them, they opened the field of art history
to unimagined vistas. Specialists in late Roman art owe their livelihood to Riegl, who first
reevaluated that period, heretofore thought to exemplify decline. Scholars in a variety of
fields found support for their relativistic studies of undervalued cultures through his ground
breaking concept of the Kunstwollen that paralleled the cultural "Wollen" of an age or a
people. Promulgated in Riegl's 1901 book Spiitromische Kunstindustrie, it gave a theoret-
ical basis for the notion that artistic and hence other values were relative, and that it was
possible to recapture appreciation for an alien art through a knowledge of its formative
principles. If anything, later scholars owe an even greater debt to Strzygowski, for he did
more than reevaluate an underappreciated art, he discovered and appreciated arts that had
For an association between racism and nationalism see, for example, the essays in Etienne Balibar and
hnmanuel Wallerstein, Race, Nation, Class: Ambiguous Identities, trans. Chris Turner (London: Verso,
Rifa'at 'Ali Abou-El-Haj drew my attention to the relevance of the Ottoman Empires to this study. See ::
Rifa'at 'Ali Abou-El-Haj, Formation of the Modem State: the Ottoman Empire Sixteenth to Eighteenth ',f':
Centuries (Albany: State University of New York Press, 1991).
ignored almost completely. He launched e editions t . . . .
these previously marginalized the art o India, Syna and Egypt,
the nght of Rome to its central position Th . histoncal map and challenging
Western art historical scholarship. . . ese outlymg areas became respectable fields of
Yet there was no love lost between Rie
an . .
neer, whose habilitation preceded his b . g d his art historical pio-
when Rieg! wrote scathing reviews of outright enemies by 1888,
the Calendar of 354. 7 Later, Rieg! ke t a fol:ows s Rom and his work on
cations.s Before his death in 1905 hp uff edr devoted to cntic1zmg Strzygowski's publi-
' e s ere from the fear that hi .
of the commission to write the second vol e .. .. . s enemies would
present it to Strzygowski.9 Indeed Strz ki um of Spatromzsche Kunstindustrie and
Many of his most celebrated discovedegows _and eventually got, Riegl's job.JO
wonder. As we shall see, in their directly at Rieg!. And no
and Strzygowski were after very different cultural hi artistic practices, Rieg!
stone prey.
An Imperial Art History
Alois Rieg! made few general pronouncements u "ed . .
analysis. In 1898, however he ventured ?ti to the minutia of detailed scholarly
' a narrative of th tir hi
that gave it a role to play in a world 1ar than . e en e story of his discipline
ger academia 11 Its h .
ter reveals an assumption that pervades his writin . h . ero1c, progressive charac-
was for him an article of faith. Art hist e o?owed an evolutionary model that
versal history that compared and co troryt, adccording to his account, began in 1830 as a uni-
n as e works of diffe t d .
by a narrower, philological-historical "fi . ren peno s. This was followed
half a century with Wilhelm Bode and ;;n. cation of names and dates, culminating after
pursued the universalizing method once :::z teacher. Now art historians
thought that universalizing generalizati red eg s history progressive because he
"philological-historical method" d. ons . on positive facts derived via the
historical scheme, artistic idealis an turn more such research, just as, in his art
ralism. m ernates dialectically in a historical spiral with natu-
The progressive narrative acquires an element of heroism in only one .
recurnng moment
7- Rieg!, review of Die Kalenderbilder des Ch
m Mitteilungen des Osterreichischen M 2 ;,nographen vom Jahre 354, ed. Josef Strzygowski
und Rom, by Josef Strzygowski 1888): 263-64; Rieg!, review of Cimabu;
review of Cimabue und Rom "'ge ..
,, (" ( ebruary 1888): 317-18. According to Rieg! the
.. al wassert watered down") by the d" '
ongm was like. Rieg! to Wickhoft'
F b . e 1tor; one wonders what the
Kunstgeschichte, University ofVienn;. SW1ckhoff carton 2, Institut fur
to Wickhoff 7 May 1887). so c aime trzygowski avmded him in Rome (Rieg!
Rieg! Nach/ajJ, carton 11, folder marked "Strz " . .
The small folder is the only one devoted to .J'. Institut Kunstgeschichte, University of Vienna.
Wickhoff, Redlich and Ottenthal to the k of. a scholar's work.
Unterricht, sign. 15, Allgemeines steVinum fur Kuitus und Unterricht, 2 July 1905.
10 In 1909 D ,,_ v, 1enna.
vorv"" and Strzygowski were a o d .
Officially, Strzygowski replaced Wickh:; m Vienna to replace Rieg! and Wickhoff.
Extraordinarius since Riegl's death occupi:d ;. ' el' who had already been functioning as
Rieg!, "Kunstgeschichte und . ' . ieg s c a1r.
1929), 3-9. Umversalgesch1chte," Gesamme/te Aufsiitze (Augsburg and Vienna
Ibid., 6. '
that grim pause at the low point between pendulum swings. Once there, the development
from the realistic portraiture of the early Roman empire to rigid Byzantine conventional-
ism might tempt one to give up on the idea of evolution. Those who remain in this aporia
are like skeptics in philosophy, anarchists in politics.13 There are always others, however,
willing to start the Sisyphean work again and strive toward the solution of the "groBen
Weltratsel" ("great enigma of the world") the goal of all human sciences.14 The work of the
art historian, in short, was to avert anarchy by filling gaps in our historical understanding,
an assessment that suggests that art history had higher aspirations then than now. Even in
the academic world, few would point to it for proof of world progress, let alone for a solu-
tion to its great enigma. Conversely, when describing a scholar at a loss for a methodolo-
gy, 'anarchist' is not the first word to come to mind.
We are not surprised, however, to find that Riegl's account of the history of the discipline
followed the path of his own career. His historical training began in the seminar of Max
Biidinger, who tried to realize, under the name "polyhistory," Leopold Ranke's old age pro-
ject of a universal history.
5 But a few years later, after training in the Institut fur Osterre-
ichische Geschichtsforschung (Institute for Austrian Historical Research) in paleography,
chronography and, under Thausing, Morellian connoisseurship, he could dismiss another
scholar's attempt to generalize with the condescending remark "daB Polyhistorie allein
nicht mehr geniigt, um Fragen zu IOsen, an die nur der wissenschaftliche geschulte
Fachrnann herantreten darf, ohne Gefahr zu laufen, Miihe und Zeit unniitz zu verschwen-
den" ("that polyhistory alone no longer suffices to answer questions that only the scientif-
ically trained specialist can approach without running the risk of wasting time and trou-
ble").16 By 1898, when he wrote the essay about art history, he was on another pendulum
swing. In 1893 he had used his painstaking research to write a longitudinal study of oma-
. ment, Stilfragen, which traced its subject from Ancient Egypt to Islam, and tackled basic
problems of ornamental theory.
7 And far from being struck dumb (like an anarchist) in the
face of the development from early Roman to Byzantine art, he was approaching it through
a study of late Roman art that would help lead to its incorporation into the canon.
His ardor to fill this particular gap, which he regarded as "das wichtigste und einschnei-
dendste in der ganzen bisherigen Geschichte der Menschheit" ("the most important and
trenchant in the whole history of mankind up to now"), may be difficult for us to under-
stand. Certainly in his view the spread of Christianity in the late antique period would have
demanded an equally progressive role for art. Yet some ofRiegl's contemporaries perceived
13 Ibid., 9.
14 Ibid., 9. Before it was popularized by Ernst Hackel (Die Weltriitsel: Gemeinverstibidliche Studien uber
monistische Philosophie [Bonn: Emil StrauB, 1899]), the tenn "Weltratsel" was associated with the
unknowable on the far side of the boundaries of human knowledge (in Emil Dubois-Reymond, Uber
die Gren:;;en des Naturerkennens. Die sieben Weltriithsel [Leipzig: Veit, 1882]).
15 For a detailed discussion of Riegl's academic training, see Margaret Olin, Forms of Representation in
Alois Riegl's Theory of Art (UniversityPark: Pennsylvania State University Pi-ess, 1992), 3-7.
16 Rieg!, review of Die Krypta in St. Florian. Ein Beitrag zur Baugeschichte der Stiftskirche St. Florian,
by Alphons Milliner, Mitteilungen des lnstitutsfar Osterreichische Geschichtsforschung 6 (1885): 319.
On the Institute for Austrian Historical Study, see Alphons Lhotsky, Geschichte des lnstitut far Oster-
reichische Geschichtsforschung, 1854-1954, Mitteilungen des lnstituts fiir Osterreichische
Geschichtsforschung, supp. 17 (1954).
17 Alois Rieg!, Stilfragen: Grundlegungen zu einer Geschichte der Omamentik (Berlin: Georg Siemens,
1893; 2d ed. Berlin: Richard Carl Schmidt, 1923).
a further agenda in his rehabilitation of late Roman is
contain_ the following gnomic remark- "W' kh ff von Hofrnannsthal 's notes
ich als lebendig," or roughly o R' Riegl. Die Roms in Osterre-
"Nachfolge" can connote irnitati" 'll e success10n m Austria lives on."19
on as we as succession and "l b di ,,
ly as well as alive. Wickhoff was Rieo-l' ll ' e en g can connote live-
a similarity between illusionistic .. co eaguf ethat the University of Vienna. Struck by
. . ques o e early Roman . d
.. pressiomsm, he initiated the rehabilitation of the Rom . . pei:o and modem
tion to the manuscript of the Vienna Genesi 20 H di . Empire m "his 1895 introduc-
from the classic style of Greece Rieg! ts. ed stmglllshed a peculiarly Roman style
. . . wen on to eclare equal t Gr k
egmmng m 313, and ending with Charlema , . .
ee art a 'late' style
colJeague, he did not identify Roman art wifiJ:ns m 768.21 But in contrast to his
to identify the art of the empire w1th R and, as we shall see, refused
oman nationality.
Formal arguments have dominated discussions of Rie .
these scholars gave to the art they stud" d gl and W1ckhoff, but the labels
fied ways in which the print med"um ie ai:eb also telling. Benedict Anderson has identi-
. . ,, I contrt uted to the construction f th ''i .
ommumties we know as nationalities Furth o e magmary
universities and museums for exam le. keer, he how governmental institutions,
alisms."22 Art historians, calls "official nation-
governrnental support, contributed to such nationalism ar:d dependent on
late Roman art exemplifies the way hi h . s. Rieg! s conception of
. m w c an art histonan can h 1
vene m an.ideology not of nationalis b f . . e p construct and inter-
embattled internationalism of the oeman official specifically, the
onslaught of nationalist forces. g prre, then begmnmg to crumble before the
Those who benefited from an internation
. .
es.23 Certainly its Geiman-speaking IDlght most likely to sing its prajs-
according to his student Hans Tietze ide tifi Riegl was born into this class,
tional construction of "AltOsterreich" ("Old as an ex:imple the intema-
bom, Prague-educated father spent years d . R" I'. . ell he His Bohernian-
imperial functionary, in Polish-speakina- ieg s childh_ood m Rumania and, as an
Stani I "' cia, Where Alois attended .
s au and Kolomea. Tietze speculated that Ri
. h h gymnasium m
eg !Dlg t ave become a Pole if his father
Riegl, "Spatromisch oder orienlalisch?" M" h
153. . unc ener Allgemeinen Zeitung, Beilage, 93 (23 April 1902),
19 Hugo von Hofmannslhal, Gesammelte Werke in Zehn Einzelb.. .
Beyer-AhJert (Frankfurt am Main: S. Fische Vi 1 1 8 iinden, ed. Bernd Schoeller and Ingeborg
20 Franz Wi kh ff "D . r er ag, 9 0), 10:625.
' er Slil der Genesisbilder und d' G h" h .
Genesis, ed. Wilhelm Ritter von Hartel and F IC le semer Entwicklung," in Die Wiener
21 Alois Rieg!, Spiitromische Kunstindustrie (l:iz off (Vienna: F. Tempsky, 1895), 1-98.
1927), reprint (Darmstadt Wissenschaftli h B \1 ed. (Vienna: Oslerreichischen Slaatsdruckerei
Roman period, see 18. . c e uc gesellschaft, l973). For Riegl's dating of the Lat;
22 Benedict Anderson, Imaginary Communities. Reflecti . .
London (New York, 1983), esp. 80-103. . _ons on the Ongm and Spread of Nationalism
3 See also Claudio Ma D H
gns, er absburgische Myth d 6
Madeleine von Paszlory (Salzburg: Otto MUIJ 1966) os zn er sterreichischen Literatur, trans.
Hans T' tz ''Al . er, .
te e, o1s Riegl," in Neue Osterrei h. he . .
Qeorg Wacha, ''Alois Rieg! und Linz" Ob zsc . :zographze, 1815-1819 8 (1935): 142 See also
lion in the Sladtarchiv der Stadt Linz :md er;ezc 25 47-50. I also found useful inforrna-
and the archives of the Schotlenkirche and ;h register the Heiligen Farni!ienpfarre in Linz
e 1ez10ger Pfarrk1rche, Vienna. '
b j) Riegl earned his Matura, forcing the family to return to
had not died two years e . . t Galicia in the exercise of bis profession.26 The
Linz.25 He later took opportumties to rev!Sl . as a dislike of separatist nation-
thi bildho d on the outposts of the empire w d
heritage o s c
. the catalyst for cross cultural influence an
alism along with the ideal of the empire as
progress. . . . , dvice to study Riegl attained distinction in
Although be disobeyed his guardian s a li . olitical affiliation hindered their
government service.27 Unlike those whose ret ;ofession 28 By bis death in 1905
careers, Riegl achieved early the _gran c: Conservator Austrian Monuments,
at the age of 47 was titles. A failure to acknowledge prop-
and Hofrat.
Riegl m " 7" once resulted in a barrage of letters includ-
erly bis status as an unpenal of r: with reference to military protocol. "'Custos-
ing an emotional threat to resign, support 1 w
"e 'Hauptmann
d "b iBt aber genau so vie
adjunkt Professor,"' he comp aine '. e . ist werden Sie gewiB selbst zugeben."
Oberstlieutenant,' und daB Letzteres em Unding b'as 'Captain Lieutenant-Colonel,' and
. t Pr f ssor' means about as muc
('"Curator- 1unc
e . b dity") 30 His distress reveals that
elf will certainly admit that the latter is an a sur .
you yours . . "litary sense
be saw bis service to the empire m a logy of internationalism in the historical

b d ortunities to encounter e 1 eo
Rieg a opp . . .. . hische Geschichtsforschung. Its effort to trace the con-
discourse of the Institut ftir Osterreic . d d ammunition for a war of origins
tinuity of the cla5sical tradition, eestablish nationalism by promoting
with German scholars. ?erman the end of the centurY, German scholars combed
Gothic as a German national style .. A,,- . al Germanic traits with the effect of jus-
the art of i:he Migration period looking
25 Tietze, "Alois Rieg!," 142. . ti ith his study of textiles for the Austrian
26 The longest trip was in the summer of 189thl, Museum filr angewandte Kunst, 1891,
Art d Industry Archives of e vs erre1 i " :a nd
Museum o an . :
d Riegl's 1994 book Volkskunst, u
documents 327, 390. Several articles on text! es :in aid Maander Kunstverlag, 1979) rely on this
Hausindustrie, reprint, ed. Mohammed Rassen (M1ttenw .
material. . . . be a more dutiful charge than he was, since he refers .
27 In his Curricuh Vitae, makes to his guardian, Franz Schiirer, member of
to two years of legal trammg he never t? d D u He in faet registered only once in the faculty of
parliament and mayor of the town of Stem a. rfu. ona :I with the first courses listed in the catalogue
fill" h. egistration form pe ncton y, Jled .
jurisprudence, mg ts r .
f his Matura in 1875, however, Rieg! enro m
that didn't entail schedule confhcts. e Rigorosen and Personnel files of the
the philosophical faculty. See the a of the University.
Universitlitsarchiv, Vienna; and the Vorlesung I f th delay of a professorial appointment due to reli-
28 Sigmund Freud is the most Fin de Siecle Vienna: Politics and Culture
gious denomination (see, for a d1scuss10n, d 5) Poiitical causes interfered with the careers of
[New York: Alfred A. 1980], 184 anf Brentano. See David F. Lindenfeld, The
A-Jexius Meinong and the ill-fated
. and Euro ean Thought, 1880-1920 (Berkeley:
Transformation of Positivism: Alexius Memong p
University of California
. ua l,
, at the age of 40; in 1903 he became
29 Rieg! became Professor Ordinanus effective Jan ryd. t F anz Wickhoff the Title of Hofrat came
f A trian Monuments Accor mg o r ' h
General Conservator O us . w kh ff "R" gl Alois,, Biographische Jahrbuc
a few days before his death in June of 1905. Franz tc o , te
und Deutscher Nekrolog 10 (l
Archives of the Osterreichischen Museum filr ange-
30 Rieg! to Bruno Bilcher, 25 and 27 Octo er
wandte Kunst, 1895, document no. . p
Frankl The Gothic: Literary Sources and
3 F I ant quotations and some analysts, see au , )
1 or re ev . h h E" ht Centuries (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1960 .
Interpretation t roug ig
tifying the proclamation of German unity in 1871. Hubert Janitschek defended with a ques-
tion bis choice of migration ornament to begin his Geschichte der deutschen Malerei.
Should the history of German nationality begin only with the treaty of Verdun in 843? Not
at all, he answered himself, this event marked only the moment when the German people
became conscious of their distinctiveness and acquired a political expression for it.32
The Institutfiir Osterreichische Geschichtsforschung was founded in 1853 precisely to
promote the history of the multinational empire. One of its founders, a Bohemian advocate
of the linguistic and cultural rights of the separate nationalities of the empire, expected it
to prove:
daB GroBosterreich eine providentielle Notwendigkeit ist, nicbt allein im System des
staatlichen Gleichgewicbts von Europa, nicht allein als der Verknlipfungs- und
Versolmungsboden west- und osteuropiiischer Bildung, nord- und slidliindischer Sitte, des
romano-germanischen und des grliko-slavischen Elements, sondern ebensosehr im
Interesse, zum Heile und Gedeihen jedes einzelnen der verscbiedenen Bestandteile, aus
denen es im Laufe der Zeiten zu einem machtigen Gesamtorganismus zusammenwuchs.
(that greater Austria is a providential necessity, not only in the balance of power in Europe,
not only as the grounds for ties and conciliation between Western and Eastern European
culture, Northern and Southern custom, and the Roman-Germanic and Greco-Slavic ele-
ment, but just as much in the interest, for the health and welfare of each individual one of
the different elements out of which in the course of time it grew together into a powerful,
unified organism.)33
As the president of the Monument Commission, this same man later helped Rieg! to
become General Conservator.34
"Greater Austria" did not deter the Institut from choosing German directors, for exam-
ple, Theodor Sickel, director from 1869-1891, but the Institute's professors argued against
Germany's specific cultural claims. In 1883, not even the modest discipline of paleograpby
could remain aloof from politics. In response to Bismarck's public statement against the
use of ''Latin" type for "German" books, Riegl's paleography teacher, Engelbert Mlihl-
bacher, told an audience at the Osterreichisches Museum that the so-called German script
on which Fraktur was based constituted only an inferior derivation of Carolingian minus-
cule, itself a revival of clear, classical script. By looking back to an earlier, purer phase,
Italian humanists successfully rescued their script from the late medieval state of illegibil-
ity and confusion into which it bad fallen. Germans, alas, did not.35 Most members of the
Institute, Rieg! included, practiced what Mlihlbacher preached and wrote primarily Latin
script, and Rieg! took up the topic of the development of art and script early in his career.36
32 Hubert Janitschek, Geschichte der deutschen Malerei (Berlin: G. Verlagsbuchhandlung,
1890), 3.
33 Josef Alexander von Helfert, quoted in Alphons Lhotsky, Geschichte des lnstituts fiir Osterreichische
Geschichtsforschung 1854-1954 (Graz, Cologne, 1954), 5.
34 On Helfert see also Margaret Olin, "The Cult of Monuments as a State Religion on Late 19th Century
Austria," Wiener Jahrbuchfiir Kunstgeschichte 38 (1985): 185-86.
35 Report of a lecture delivered by Engelbert Milhlbacher (to an audience of 173) on 25 January 1883, on
"Die Entwicklung der Schrift," Mitteilungen des k.k. osterreichischen Museums fiir Kunst und
Jndustrie 18 (April, 1883): 374-75.
36 Report of a lecture delivered by Rieg! on 28 February 1889, to 81 people, "Ober die Entwickelung der
Schrift in Zusarnmenhange mit der Reihenfolge der Kunststile," Mitteilungen des k.k. osterreichischen
Museums fiir Kunst und lndustrie, n.s. 4 (June, 1889): 399-400; Personnel files, "A.lois Rieg!,"
Wickhoff abandoned German script only between 1889 and 1893. Miihlbacher's far from
objective characterization of print types suggests that of the latter day Holy
Roman Empire sought refuge in Rome from . .
Nationalistic battles also raged in the field of decorative motifs. Riegl s dissertation, on
the North Portal of the so-called "Scottish" church of St. Jacob in Regensburg, argued that
the interlace patterns on the portal stemmed not from Irish manuscripts, but from
Carolingian miniatures.37 The controversy is obsolete, but Riegl's contemporaries
Ireland embodied the primeval Germanic spirit, and Riegl's theory thus wrested St. Jacob s
from the Germans and aligned it with the classical tradition.
. .
Teaching German art, Rieg! refused to find Aryan or Celtic the_ art
of the lands that became German, and dismissed the discovenes of prehistonc artifacts at
Hallstatt as Hellenistic. He argued against the popular notion that the skill of
ing was native to the original Germans, and that peasant homes perpetuated p:ac-
tices of the first German settlements in the early MiddleAges.
A book a friend
argued that Hellenistic ornamental motifs survived throughout the Middle Ages, having
spread throughout Europe by way of Ravenna.40 Reviewing it, seized ?nan
that disassociated even Irish ornamentation from Germanic sources, 'wodurch, he
exclaimed, "die Existenz einer urgermanischen Ornamentik ge!eugnet
erscheint" ("through which the existence of a primeval German ornamentation is flatly
Riegl's first professional position was at another institution that_ took up the chall_enge of
nationalism. The 6sterreichisches Museum far Kunst und Industrie was with gov-
ernment sponsorship in 1864 to promote Austrian applied arts. Its first who_ had _a
brief flirtation with German nationalism in 1848, was well aware of strategies that
fied handicrafts with primeval nationalisms, and explicitly rejected them._
He,_ too,
fied the cottage-industries of the empire along national lines, but
for example, a "Ruthenian" nationality, but failing to mention Slavs. offic'.als r:ied
to promote Ruthenian nationalism in an effort to prevent the spread of Slavic nationalism
37 Riegl's dissertation is Jost, but the remarks his professor, 1':'1oriz m_ade on it, in the.
Rigorosen-files, Universitiitsarchiv, Vierina, indicate its and of ;iew. _The view Rieg!
ported was propounded by Carl Schnaase, Geschichte der bzldende Kunste zm Mzttelalter, vol. 2: Dze
Romanische Kunst (DUsseldorf: Julius Buddens, 1871), 139.
38 For modem scholarship on the portal of St. Jacobs, see Richard Strobel, "Das Nordportal der
Schottenkirche St. Jakob in Regensburg," Zeitschrift des Deutschen Vereinfiir Kunstwissenschaft 18
(1964): 1-24. . .
39 Kalleg on Geschichte der deutschen Kunst (1892-3), Ri:glNachlaj3, carton 2, _section 1, 8-9, 10-13, 29-
31 Kunsthistorisches Institut der Universitiit Wien. W1ckhoff thought Austnan museums should col-
le;t examples of woodcarving to inspire an artistic renewal based on regional pride and discourage the
imitation of foreign crafts. Wickhoff, "Die Zukunft der Kunstgewerbemuseen," Kunst und
Kunsthandwerk 1 (1898): 18.
40 Friedrich Portheim, Ober den dekorativen Stil in der a!tchristlichen Kunst (Stuttgart:. W _Spemann,
41 Rieg!, review of Ober den dekorativen Stil in der altchristlichen by Fnedrich Porthe'.m, m
Mitteilungen des k.k. osterreichischen Museumsfiir Kunst und Jndustne 1 <;Feb_ruary,
2 Rudolf von Eitelberger, "Zur Frage der Hausindustrie, mit besondere Berilcks1chtigung osterre'.ch1s-
cher Verhaltnisse." Mitteilungen des k.k. osterreichischen Museums fiir Kunst und lndus.tne 19
(February, March, 1884): 25-34, 55-57. On Eitelberger's conversion from German n_ationahsm see
Taras von Borodajkewycz, "Aus der Frilhzeit. der Wiener Schule der Kunstgesch1chtge: Rudolf
Eitelberger und Leo Thun," Festschrift Hans Sedlmayr, ed. Karl Oettinger and Mohammed Rassem
(Munich: C.H. Beck, !962), 324-25.
from linking the inhabitants of that area with nearby Ukrainians across the border in
Rieg! deployed historical arguments to prove that Slavic folk arts were not "national."
"political" the argument for the existence of a national Slavic cottage industry,
Rieg! argued that the so-called cottage industry was only a medieval stage of the interna-

He brought to bear on the provenance of the cottage industries
the histoncal conviction he was then developing that Oriental and Western art came from
the same antique roots. The Oriental appearance.of Slavic folk art, he argued, ste=ed not
from Oriental influence, but from its origins in late antiquity, when Oriental and Western
art were one. He thus created in the dual-monarchy a Holy Roman Empire of folk art.
His first major scholarly efforts, which emerged from his experiences as curator of tex-
tiles, traced medieval styles to Roman antiquity. Altorientalische Teppiche (1891) argued
that the ornament of Persian carpets originated in classical antiquity. The Hellenistic
Empire provided the vehicle for world-wide dissemination that made possible a vision of
art as an international cooperative venture.45 Portheirn had already made the same argu-
ment. this book in 1893 with the above mentioned Stilfragen. Although its
concern is with details of ornamental transmission and reinterpretation, when it reaches
Roman and Islamic times, the presence of Empire is unmistakable.46
Riegl's great work of 1901, Spiitromische Kunstindustrie, has a dramatically new con-
ception it to argue for cultural continuity with antiquity. Since it pre-
sented the art 1t illustrated as a continuation of the art of the Roman Empire, and
subsumed 1t mto the mass-production Riegl had, several years earlier, attributed to the clas-
sical world, it can be viewed as an attempt to discount the unique, primeval contributions
of conquering barbarians.
Like Altorientalische Teppiche and Stilfragen, Spiitromische
visualize? art as the result of international cooperation under the auspices
of an emprre. A concluding section conceptualizing the relation between the Kunstwollen
and other forms of Wollen make explicit the relation between art and other cultural and
forms which is necessary to justify using the art of the period as a political model.
di_d more than support Rome, however. He sought to construct a general case for the
character of artistic development and the facilitating role of empire.
Internationalism surely played into Riegl's refusal to ascribe late Roman art to the Romans
as did Wlckhoff. He explained that by calling Roman art Greek,Jie meant not that Greek
were at work in Rome, but that Roman art was Greek in the same way as Roman
and the Roman Pagan cult. The creative achi.evements in Roman art, he argued,
m the Eastern half of the empire. Westerners only selected among them.48
. Rieg! n?t regard as more artistic than Romans. Rather he wished to empha-
size the rdentifiabl y antique character late Roman art maintained throughout its history.
Hence he proposed the term "Spiitantike."49 His imperial motive, however, is suggested by
43 On the Ruthenian question, see Oskar Jaszi, The Dissolution of the Hapsburg Monarchy (Chicago
1929, 1971), 391-93.
44. Rieg!, "Textil Hausindustrie in Osterreich." Mitteilungen des k.k. osterreichischen Museumsfiir Kunst
und lndustrie, n.s. 2 (July, August, 1889): 415, 433-35.
45 Altorientalische Teppiche (Leipzig, 1891; reprint ed., Mittenwald, 1979).
46 For example, Stilfragen, 318.
47 The earlier work is "Kunsthandwerk und Kunstgewerb!iche Massenproduktion," Zeitschrift des bay-
erischen Kunstgewerbevereins 45 (1895): 2.
48 Spiitromische Kunstindustrie, 17.
49 Ibid., 16.
his final choice of the term "Splitromische;' explicitly denoting "das romische Weltreich
... nicht aber ... die Stadt Rom oder die ltaliker oder die Volker der westromischen
Reichshillfte iiberhaupt" ("the Roman world empire ... not however ... the city of Rome
or the Italians or the peoples in general of the western half of the Roman empire")
dated the beginning of "Western" art after Charlemagne had established an independent
"abendlandisches Romerreich" ("Western Roman Empire") in which an art isolated from
Classical traditions could make its influence fe!t.
Thus Rieg! commenced a new chapter
in art history with a new empire, the Holy Roman .
Although the term "Splitantike" adorned the empire m the mantle of classic art,
keeping Roman art Greek also had the effect of combating purist ideas. Although,
ers, Rieg! often traced tendencies to different "races" or nationalities, he thought stylistic
purity would spell the death of art. 52 His writings persistently show how cul-
tural contact caused stylistic advances, such as the so-called Polish rugs c0Il1Illlss10ned
in the sixteenth century from Persian weavers by Western courts.
He mourned for the
primitive and nomadic arts destroyed by goods modem v:estem markets, but
the only remedies he prescribed were to immortalize them m scholarship and photography
or to appropriate their designs for industrial production.54 Greek art, he ar?ued, suffere?
from its exclusive partiality for plastic "melody" international rescued it
through the Oriental "symphony of volumes."55 The attempt to solve artistic problems
alone leads to stagnation.
Rieg! studied the seventeenth century in Italy, and he thought that
in north and south it presented the artistic problems with which 1t dealt m I.anger, zus:mi-
menhlingender und doch abwechslungsreicher Entwicklung" ("in a long, umfied, yet nch-
ly diversified evolution").56 In these studies, he sounded the themes of cultural contact and
continuity with Imperial Rome. Rembrandt, for example: his
Northern goals only through the use of Italian sources, which cost him of his
larity among his Northern audience.57 Riegl traced Italian to
ancient Rome and noted that optical qualities charactenzed both penods.
Wolfflin also baroque and Roman Imperial art.
He saw them as spiritually related,
50 Ibid., 17.
51 Ibid., 17-18.
52 "Splitromlsche oder orienta!isch?" 154. .. . . .
53 "Zur Frage der Polenteppiche," Mitteilungen des. k.k. osterrezchzschen Museums fiir Kunst und
lndustrie, n.s. 5 (October, 1894): 225-30.
54 See Volkskunst, Hausfleif3 und Hausindustrie, 82; Altorientalische Teppiche, 214.
55 Geschichte der Omamentik I: last section (untitled), 4. Riegl Nachlaj3, carton 1, folder !. .
56 Das holliindische Gruppenportriit (1902), ed. Karl M. Swoboda, 2 vols. (Vienna: Verlag Osterre-
ichischen Staatsdrucketei, 1931), 189n. Between 1894 and 1900, he offered the followmg courses
which focused on seventeenth century art: Geschichte der Kunst des Barockzeitalters (1894-1895)'.
Niederliindische Malerei (1896), Geschichte der spanischen Malerei (1896), Holliindische Malerez
(1896-97), ltalienische Kunstgeschichte van 1550-1800 (!898-99) and Holllindische Malerei des 17.
Jahrhunderts (1900). Rieg! Nachlaj3. . .
57 Rembrandt learned "Italian subordination," according to Rieg!, in order to solve the
Northern problem of"extemal coherence," or unity with the viewer. Das holliindische Gruppenportrat,
212, 221.
58 Geschichte der Kunst des Barockzeitalters, Rieg! Nachlaj3, carton 4, folder !, 40-48.
59 Wolfflin Renaissance and Baroque (1888), trans. Kathrin Simon (Ithaca: Cornell University Press,
1966) is'; "Die antike Triumphbogen in italien: Ein Studie zur Entwicklungsgeschichte der Rornischen
each with reference to Catholicism. The late Roman period began with the Edict
of Milan, the baroque period with the Council of Trent, that is, with the Counter-
Reformation. of spiritual upheaval, when Catholicism underwent a revival and, per-
haps most significantly for our argument, succeeded in extirpating Protestantism fro
Austria. 60 m
Rieg! he lived in another era of spiritual upheaval and cited Catholicism 's
renewed ability to make converts.6
Catholicism alone was a motive to combat German

Catholicism probably contributed to the pride with which some Austrians
1de?tified as an. Italian-Germanic cross-breed, not only writing Latin script but
on names. It 1s understandable that Riegl's colleague Julius Schlosser signed
himsel'. Gmho or Schlosser-Magnino in honer of his Italian mother and "sprach
von Seele im germanischen Korper" ("spoke of his Latin soul in a
Germanic body ').
But even without such justification, Alois Rieg! 's niece and nephew
knew him as "Uncle Luigi."64
He saw Austria's mission as cross cultural: Salzburg introduced Italian ideas to the
North, Northern arbitrariness with Italian order.65 But Italians were not the
o!y foreign mfiltrators Riegl's circle tried to defend. Its private correspondence contained
pained references to attacks on Jews, and to the vicious private anti-Semitism of some of
those ai: championed primeval Germanic art and made professors
of like s Thausing, special targets of enmity.66 Given these
1t is not surpnsmg that Rieg! related his historical studies to his own day. He
for the sources of artistic inspiration he thought would benefit his compatri-
spec1ficall7 the art of bar?que Rome and that of the Roman Empire, which he thought
nut unserer e1genen Kunst vie! enger verwandt ... als mit der altgriechischen, von der sie
nach der Anschauung unserer Vorglinger eine Verwi!derung sein sollte" ("much more
closely related to our own art ... than to ancient Greece, of which it, according to the view
of our predecessors, is supposed to be a barbarization").67
Architektur und ihrVerhliltnis zur Renaissance" (1893), in Kleine Schriften, 51-71, ed. Joseph Gantner
(Basel: Benno Schwabe, 1946), 70-71.
dating of the baroque period, see Geichichte der Kunst des Barocb_eitalters, 50.
61 Die Sttmmung als Inhalt der modernen Kunst' (1899), Gesamme/te Aufsiitze, ed. Karl M .. Swoboda
(Augsburg, Vienna, 1929), 38-39.
62 See E':'st H:f:J, Kultuswesen, Vorgeschichte und die Zeit van 1848-1867," in JOO Jahre
1848-1948. Festschrift des Bundesministeriums ftir Unterricht in Wien
(Vienna, 1948), 412-26.
63 Lhotsky, 194. The translation of his Kunstliteratur has Julius SchJosser-Magnino on the title
page_ (Letteratura art1stica: Manuale dellafonti della storia dell'arte modema [1935], trans. Filippo
Ros.s1, 3rd ed. [Florence: La Nuova Itala, 1977]), while Giulio v. Schlosser appears on an Italian col-
?f (La dell'arte: Nelle Experienze e nei Ricordi di un suo Cu/tore, trans. Giovanna
[Ban: Gms. Laterza e Figli, 1936]). Otto Kurz reports that Schlosser's friends called
h:m Giuho. Kurz, 'Julius van Schlosser: Personalita metodo lavoro,' in Julius van Schlosser,
L Arte del Medzoevo, Carlo Sgorlon (Turin: Giulio Einaudi, 1961), x.
64 Anna Riegl's Testament, Wiener Stadt und Landesarchiv, testament no. 3A 306134.
65 Salzburgs in der Kunstgeschichte,' Gesammelte Aufsiitze, 111-32. For a d,iscussion of this
essay, see Olm, Forms of Representation in A/ois Riegl's Theory of Art i74.
66 identifies Thausing as Jewish, Die Juden Wiens (1933; ;eprint Vienna: Wiener Journal
. 1987), 232; Portheim to Wickhoff, 27 January 1886, Wickhoff Nach/aj3.
67 camp"'.gn:d for the art of baroque and Imperial Rome as artistic models for his own day,
his rhetonc can be JUstifiably read as containing political overtones.
His political inferences, however, were not merely confined to his choice of models. His
formal theory entailed the same concerns. In each of the periods he studied he singled out
for formal analysis specifically the place for a recognition of separateness within a desire
for unity. Riegl's theory of the Kunstwollen, concerned with the kind of relationships one
would like to see in the world, drew parallels between ethical relationships and formal
ones. His conviction of their underlying identity makes comprehensible the almost moral
force with which he propounded the necessity to preserve the separateness of the individ-
ual parts within larger unities. Whether he analyzed the relation of pattern to ground or
nave to apse, the same conviction held. Ethical concerns for relationships are even more
pronounced in his formal analyses of the relation of the :figures of Dutch group portraits to
one another and to the beholder. Whether the discussion centers on figures, ornaments; or
architectural details, it is always related, in Hegelian fashion, to political forms, but
informed by a sensitivity to the implications of artistic composition for human relation-
ships. 68 In his theory of monuments he related historical notions of monuments to his
expressed hope for an age of international brotherhood, along with fear of an all-consum-
ing totality. He even sought to write the respect for each individual work of the human hand
into law, and polernicized against those who would claim monument preservation as a com-
ponent of national pride. 69 This cosmopolitanism earned him the displeasure of national
socialist authors. 10 Whether one relates to a building's composition or to one's fellow man,
for Riegl the ethical content of the relationship remained the same.
Josef Strzygowski: A Nationalist Art History
The political overtones of Riegl 's formalistic art history appear in a sharper light in con-
trast to that of his contemporary Josef Strzygowski. One can imagine Strzygowski, the
pugnacious professor in Graz, in a class struggle against Riegl, the Viennese Ordinarius.
The son of a wealthy cloth manufacturer near Biala-Bielitz in Silesia on the border of
Galicia, Strzygowski was separated by only two generations from simple craftsmen.71
Moreover, he had not taken the usual route to academia. As tradespeople, bis family sent
him not to prepare for law in a Gymnasium, but for trade in a Realschule. In Austria the
68 For a discussion of the ethical underpinnings of Riegl's formal theory, see Olin, Forms of
Representation in Alois Riegl's Theory of Art, esp. chapter 8.
69 The proposal for a law is in [Alois Riegl], Entwuif einer gesetzlichen Organization der Denkmalpflege
in Oesterreich (Vienna: k.k. Zentral-Komrnission, 1903). The disparaging remarks on patriotism and
monuments can be found in Rieg! 's response to Georg Dehio: "Neue Stromungen in der
Denkrnalpflege." Mitteilungen der k.k. ZentralkommissionfUr Eiforschung und Erhaltung der Kunst-
und historischen Denkmale'3rd ser. 4 (1905): 85-104. The more general statements concerning ethics
and monuments are found in "Der modeme Denkrnalkultus, sein Wesen, seine Entstehung," in
Gesammelte Aufsatze, 144-93.
70 See, for example, Hans Gerhard Evers, "Georg Dehio und Alois Rieg! im Gespriich iiber die
Denkrnalpflege," in Tod, Macht und Raum als Bereiche der Architektur (Munich: Neuer Filser-Verlag,
1939) 283-303. For another comparison between Dehio and Rieg! see Marion Wohlleben, ''Vorwort,"
in Konservieren, nicht restaurieren. Streitschriften zur Denkmalpflege um 1900, by Georg Dehio and
Alois Rieg], Bauwelt Fundarnente 80 (Braunschweig, Wiesbaden: Friedr. Vieweg & Sohn, 1988), 7-33.
71 His own father had taken the traditional journeyman's trip, after an apprenticeship in cloth cutting. This
trip is chronicled in a festschrift for Strzygowski, and made to sound like the "grand tour," which per-
haps it was. See Alfred Karasek-Langer, "Josef Strzygowski: Bin Lebensbild," in Festschrift .J.
Strzygowski 70 Jahre. Schaffen und Schauen, vol. viii, 7 (Kattowtz, 1933), 37.
graduate of a Realschule was not permitted to stud . .
Strzygowski abandoned the family bus t Y or a degree, so when
entered the University of Vienna as a stu:::: career in 1881, he
classes where Riegl was hi final ' g, a esman turned scholar, in
M . s semesters.72 He eventuall did tak
atura exam m Troppau, whereupon he continued bis studi . G y e the
covered with horror the details of Strzy ki' rth es 1Il ermany. When Riegl dis-
W kh ff .. . gows s uno odox career he relayed th
IC o and Implied that he suspected him f fa! . . hi ' em to
encountered may well have been
to nngmg art historical knowledge to the eneral u . ong e cation
tures, wrote books intended for the general !ublic !dblic. gave public lec-
cation movement.74 ' wor tirelessly for the adult edu-
Trade was not the only stigma Strzygowski had to face . . -
Hungary as the son of a local manufacturer with a . . Grow_mg up m Polish Austria-
being "multi-national" as did grow1n th Polish name did not make one proud of
. g up ere as the son of an im a1 ffi a1 .
Riegl let a Jewish student think that he c uld h b pen o 1c1 . While
denied that he knew an Polish 75 o ave . ecome a Pole, Strzygowski's students
tance him explicitly a desirable to dis-
letter of recommendation be<>ins w1"th the tat th y as Habtlitation, for which his
.,-. s ement at he 1s "aus de ts h F
des Polnischen nicht miichtig" ("of a Germ f . u c er am.ilie und
Polish").76 an amily and does not have a command of
Strzygowski's first allegiance seems to have been to th 1 . . .
to Rome to research bis first books Beg . b ass1cal.tradition, for he went
painter to represent the "Zeitgeist," (1888n)g thehnght of the indi:idual
soug t to prove the pamter' s
72 See Fritz Ringer, The Decline of the German Mandarins Th G A .
1933 (Cambridge: Harvard University Press 1969) 25-42. E ; cademzc Community, 1890-
found in Karasek-Langer. The Nationalen' in th . . .. ema .acts of Strzygowski's life may be
Strzygowski registered for some of the e Vienna, show that Rieg! and
73 A same courses with Monz Thausing . 1881
ccording to Rieg!, Strzygowski had "iiberh .

gymnasium besucht hat .... Er machte die aupt keme klass1sche B1ldung genossen-weil nie ein
[illegible] Regirungsrath Tichy in Troppau unter der i:otection der Landesschulen
Mensch will mit den griechischen Menchen' feAr!her c w1egervater semes Briiders ist. Und dieser
h I . . au os vertruauten Umgang pfle h .
sc u miiss1g das altgriechische gelernt zu hab .. ("th b gen - o ne Je auch nur
because he never attended a Gyrnn . Hen. e enefit of absolutely no classical education
asmm e passed the gymnasia] M t d
the School of [illegible] Regierungsrat TI h . T aura un er the auspices of
this person wants to establish intimater i'cti y m .rthopthpau, who is the father in law of his brother. And
h . I e a ons w1 e Greek monks on Mt Ath . th
avmg earned ancient Greek in school") R" It Wi os w1 out ever even
Strzygowski's brother-in-law is a clear t o ickhoff, n.d. Wickhoff Nachlaj3. The reference to
74 Eva Frodl-Kraft "Ei A . d d mp .
suggest that the Matura was falsified.
' n pone un er Versuch ihrer Deutung Josef St ki .
Wiener Jahrbuch fir Kunstgeschichte
42 0989
rzygows -Julius v. Schlosser,"
75 "D pm; ,n.91.
as o sche beherrschte er nur sehr mangelhaft "("ff .
Karasek-Langer, 37. In a note, Karasek-Lan er ex . is was very defective'').
das Deutschwerden der Farni!ie reason for ms1sting on this point: ''Es muB
Seit: noch heute behauptet wird, der Jose;rSso stark werden, da _von polnischer
polmschen Geistesleben zuzuzahlen" ("The fact that the se1.Pole und seme Werke dem
1800 must be firmly emphasized here, because German before
the art historian Josef Strzygowski is a p I fro'." the Pohsh side 't is. mamtamed even today that
life"). Ibid, n. 1. o e and his works are to be attributed to Polish intellectual
76 The letter, signed by Benndorf, Wickhoff and B . .
Universitiitsarchiv, Vienna. Italics in the origina;. errnann, ism Josef Strzgowski, personnel files,
presence in that city, and reaffirm Cimabue's importance as a founding artist of a "nation-
al Italian painting."77 It demonstrates Strzygowski 's interest in and appreciation for the
course of events traced by Vasari, which led to Renaissance painting.
But he soon found in Italy that he lacked any motive to cherish the classical
Indeed, If Hofmannsthal characterized Rieg! in reference to the "Nachfolge Roms in Oster-
reich," an admir:er of Strzygowski quoted Conrad Ferdinand Meyer's poem about Ulrich
von Hutten to characterize him: "Ein Deutscher kam nach Rom und wurde klug!" (A
German came to Rome and wised up").78 Meyer's passionately anti-Italian poem relates
how Hutten, traveling to Rome expecting inspiration in the art of rhetoric, found only
priestly corruption.79 Similarly, Strzygowski turned his sights away from_ _art.
Unlike Hutten, however, he did not turn promptly to the Protestant north. His immediate
reaction was to turn his sights eastward, whence he saw the roots of the advances made in
Roman art. By 1902 he had turned against the "Viennese schoor' to which Wickhoff and
Rieg! belonged. In a review of Sptitromische Kunstindustrie, he labelled their Roman his-
toriography "u!tramontane."80
Publishing widely in both scholarly and lay venues, Strzygowski developed an alterna-
tive narrative of antiquity based on the characterization of racial groups. His book Orient
oder Rom seeks to find the source of Early Christian art in the Greek influenced Hellenistic
Orient rather than in Rome. While he traces Hellenistic influence in a variety of social
groups, he also ascribes motifs and monuments on the basisof national character. The orna-
ment on the Church of the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem is the work of "einen liebevoll der
Arbeit hin:gegebenen [ergo Greek] Kiinstler, einen auf das Malerisch-Anziehende
gerichteten Geist, nicht den r6mischen, akademisch gebildeten Ingenieur, der imposant
wirken will" ("an artist devoted with love to his work, a spirit directed to the painterly-
attractive, not the Roman, academically trained engineer").
The tasteless, unartistic
Ashburnham Pentateuch cannot be the work of Germanic artists, whose works are "voll
vom feinsten Rhythmus und einer seltenen idealen Einheit der raumlichen Anordnung"
("full of the finest rhythm and an unusual ideal unity of spatial order''). It must be the work
of "jtidischen Christen" ("Jewish Christians").82 The contrast is not between artistic cul-
tures but between races, he argues.83 The book ends by heralding the downfall of the
Orient, crippled by Semites, and the "grosse germanische Kunstbliite im Norden" ("the
great Germanic artistic flowering in the North."84
Strzygowski extended and clarified his narrative of the influence of Hellas and her down-
fall in a response to Wickhoff and Riegl. The passion of the convert expresses itself here in
explicitly racial and <'arnal tones. Strzygowski depicted Hellas as a beautiful maiden. She
77 Josef Strzygowski, Cimabue und Rom: Funde und Forschungen zur Kunstgeschichte und zur
Topographie der Stadt Rom (Wien, 1988), I.
78 Quoted by Karasek-Langer, "Josef Strzygowski: Ein Lebensbild," 46.
79 Conrad Ferdinand Meyer, 'Romfahrt,' Huttens Letzte Tage: Eine Dichtung, in Samtliche Werke (Bern:
Benteli-Verlag, 1970) 8:33-4.
80 Strzygowski, "Hellas in des Orients Umarmung," Miinchener Allgemeinen Zeitung, Beilage, 18 Febru-
ary 1902, 313.
81 Josef Strzygowski, Orient oder Rom: Beitrage zur Geschichte der spatantiken und frUhchristlichen
Kunst (Leipzig: J.C. Hinrichs'sche Buchhandlung, 1901), 147.
82 Ibid, 37, 39.
83 Ibid., 39.
84 Ibid., 150.
is by the Oriental symphony of volumes, however, but sells herself to an "old
who keeps her as the jewel of his harem, surrounded by the "semiti h
S1ppschaft" (" ti k") sc e
. senu c teeming with silk, gold and jewels.85 He accused Riegl of
lacking any of the "ziihen Rassenkunst des alten Orients" ("tenacious racial
art of the_ ancient Onent"), which he traced along its victorious path from Mesopotamia to
Constantmople. 86
Strzygo:-"'ski the art until it led to proliferations of flat patterns that ''in der
Arabeske nu:e fe1ern" ("celebrated their orgies in the Arabesque").87 The end result
of the narrative anticipated in its opening, which evokes Delacroix's painting,
Massacre at m the of Greek independence is abducted by a
ruthless Turk. To descnbe the tenacity of this race, he cited "der ewige Jude" ("Ete al
Jew").89 m
The very terms suggest fear of miscegenation, and indeed, even at this time, early in the
century, Strzygowski not only lamented the rape of Greek art by Turks he also wo d
threats to the purity of Ge:1anic race. For in the same essay he,also wrote
Metze, . . . deren rrn Mittelalter selbst die sonnigen, griechengleichen
Barbare_n des rncht entz1ehen k6nnen" ("prostitute, whose magic even the sunny,
Greek-hke barbarians of the North cannot tear themselves away from during the Middl
Thus making the Germanic spirit the male counterpart to his feminized Hellase
he lamented the allure of Italy that threatened to turn the "kriiftigen germanischen Stamm';
("powerful breed") to _This allure probably motivated his attempt
to rob Italy of any claim on the of Christian art. His opponent in Vienna, called upon
for conceded that he did not know what to do with this "Metze," and with the
passion of Strzygowski's presentation.92
But such passion much of his work, especially his response to contempo-
art, which he wrote about m a handbook of 1907. His discussion in this book of M
impressionism, which Rieg! had seen as exemplary of the modem art :
Stimmung, 1s an extreme example of xenophobia.
Um fil_r seine Malerei eigene Gedanken ... den Titel der Kunst zil retten, nennt er das
neuer Vanattonen in den kilnstlerischen Qualitl!ten Phantasie. Natilrlich vol-
lz1ehe sich diese Phantasieti!tigkeit vollig im Kilnstler; sie gehe van rein sinnlichen
aus. dieser Auffassung liegt Rasse. (In order to salvage the title of art
for that lacks ideas of its own, he called the search after new variations in artistic
qualities "fantasy." fantasy place completely in the artist: it emerges from
purely sensory presuppos1t1ons. At thb 'as1s of this concept is race.)93
85 ''Hellas in des Orients Umarrnung," 314.
86 Josef re:iew of Spiitromische_Kunstindustrie, by Alois Rieg!, Byzantinische Zeitschrift 2
(1902). 265. On the ideology of scholarship on the mideastem world see Edward Said, Orientalism
Y?rk: Pantheon, Robert Nelson is currently engaged in researching the relation of
Onentahsm to the reception of Byzantine art in nineteenth-century Europe.
87 ''Hellas in des Orients Umarmung," 326.
88 Ibid., 314.
89 Ibid., 315.
90 Ibid., 326.
91 Ibid., 314.
92 Ri_egl, ."Spatromisch oder orientalisch?" Miinchner Allgemeine Zeitung, Beilage, 23, 24 April 1902.
93 Die b1ldende Kunst der Gegenwart: Ein Biichlein far Jedermann (Leipzig Quelle und Meyer
1907), 270. ' . '
. matter of culture than of blood in the early twen-
"Rasse" was generally a h " . tal" culture would come into play in
tieth century. But it is difficult to imagme w y d . Germany whose art, like that
. . d J h ainter born an raise m ,
the case of an ass1IDllate ew1s p h 1 m fluenced by French Impressionism.
- G ainters was eav1 Y . .
of several other erman P '. d . d Germanic pedigree, but his alternative
. , art was occas10nall y eme a hi
Indeed, Liebermann s . . F h 94 That his Jewish blood is meant and not s
nationality was generally identified as . .
interest in French culture, is made clear m a footnote. . . .
. . . Al emeinen sehr vie! Phantas1e haben, cliese s1ch
Man beachte auch, claJl die Onentalen im . gd K t kommt, zum Bediirfnis eines ein-
d I" t rt, worauf es m er uns an
aber nur selten zu em au .e .. die Sinnlichkeit hinweggekommenen des
fachen und klaren Ausdrucks :on ube'. I have considerable fantasy, but this is only
Gemiites (Notice also that d for a simple and clear expression of
seldom purified into what is at issue m art .. e
impulses of the soul, over and above sensuality.)
ti lity Strzygowski was eager to make as much
In the case of an of German na ona ki dur red with Riegl in his assessment of the
as he could of the Strzyl goRws b als Erzieher, by "ein Deutscher'' ("a
al G natlonalist vo ume em ra "ihn
controvers1 erman . . d not hide his irritation with the recent attempt_
German").96 In the classroom, Rieg! d1 . . . Nationalheros zu emem
V< hfiltniJ3 ur Malere1 hinaus zu emem '
[Rembrandt] -Uber sem er z kl.. ,, ("to declare [Rembrandt] apart from his rela-
Erzieher des Volkes zu er of the German people"), adding a marginal
tion to painting, a national hero, an e:uc dt d modem German imperialism.97 Later, he
note about the contrast between Rem ran. an t of Rembrandt's biography explicitly
explained that his discussion of less attractive s Rembrandt into "einem idealen
aims at counteracting the attempt tode etsvahe (Mustergermanen)" ("into an ideal
d inem Muster eu c en .
Mustermenschen. un zwar e G ") and added "daB die Nation, wenn s1e
b d indeed a model erman , d f
model human emg an d h ii.Bte" ("that if the nation cons1ste o
aus lauter Rembrandts zugrun e on the other hand, cited
nothing but Rembrandts it would go to. ru . . roval and, in contrast to Riegl's argu-
Rembrandt als Erzieher without that Rembrandt used any model what-
ments about Italy's influence on Rembran t, eme
din t Strzygowski an important element .
soever. Accor g
' . l
. . . [ ] die eigene durchaus in s1ch selbst wurze -
welches ihm voile Unabhiin:g1g_ke1t s1che:t. warh e . sch hingewiesen, und Rembrandt
nde Individualitiit. Darauf ist Ja neuerdings se r en rgi
. , . al example of Stimmungskunst in "Die Stirnmung als
94 Alois Rieg! referred to Lieberman s art as a . . al in the Graphische Kiinste 22
Inhalt der modernen 36. He illustrate t .e f D"e deutsche Kunst des neunzehnten
. dr . by Liebermann But m a review o i . "
(1899): 47, with a awmg . r Gu rtt he also denied Liebermann a "Germamc
Jahrhunderts: Ihre Ziele und Thaten, by t ;, as well be French"). Die Mitteilungen
nature, writing that he sem hischen Kunsten 23 (1900): 3. .
der Gesellschaft far vervielfaltigende Kunst, supp;.,.., hri; der K Akademie der Wissenschaften in
95 The remark follows a bibliographic citation (De c 2;; .
Wien, Bd. LI, 185). Die bildende Kunst der (Leipzig: Hirschfeld, 1890, numer-
96 [Julius Langbehn], Rembrandt Cultural Despair: A Study in the Rise of the
ous editions thereafter). See Press, 1961), 97-183.
Germanic Ideology (Berkeley. Umvers1ty o h h d (1900-1901) Rieg! NachlajJ, carton 6,
97 Kolleg on Holliindische Malerei des 17. Ja r un erts
folder 2, 72. . h ,. and "Mustergermanen" signals an issue cen-
98 Ibid., 04. Rieg! 's hesitation between to conflate these two concepts. I am grateful
tral to German nationalism, whose purpose was, m pa
to Professor Anna Wesseley for alerting me to the problem.
gerade deshalb als der passendste Erzieher unserer Zeit hingestellt worden (which secures
him full independence, [was] his own individuality, completely rooted in itself. Lately this
has been energetically pointed out, and for this very reason, has been acknowl-
edged as the most suitable educator for our time).99
Not merely rejection of tradition, however (expressed in Protestantism), but a common
(Germanic) soul united Rembrandt to Albrecht Diirer.
Noch enger als diese Religionsgemeinshaft verbindet beide die Blutverwandschaft. In
Stromgebiet des Rheins geboren, haben sie deutsche Gemiltstiefe als des Erbteil ihrer
Abstammung auf den Weg bekommen (Blood relations bound the two still closer than this
religious communality. Born in the vicinity of the Rhein, they acquired German depth of
feeling at the start as their parental inheritance).100
Strzygowski waited impatiently for the great savior of German art His writings of the turn
of the century are full of allusions to this hoped for hero. "Ob es ein einzelner Meister sein
wird, wie Leonardo, Bramante, Michelangelo? Doch wohl eine einigende soziale Idee, die
dann in der Masse wirkt" ("Will it will be a single master, like Leonardo, Bramante,
Michelangelo? If not, certainly a unifying social idea, that will then affect the masses?").101
"Nicht mit der menschlichen Gestalt und der Masse dlirfen wir Germanen den Gipfel der
Kunst zu erringen hoffen, sondem mit der Landschaft und dem Raume. Hans von Marees
hat das Problem gealmt; wann wird der Held kommen, der es !Ost? Wann die Zeit, die ihn
hervorbringt?" ("Not with the human figure and measure can we Germans hope to reach
the peak of art, but with landscape and space. Hans von Marees sensed the problem. When
will the hero come that will solve it? When the time that wil! bring him forth?").102
When the great savior appeared, not only of German art, but of all German culture,
Strzygowski was ready. As a result, although he opened to serious art historical study the
art of the entire near east and India, and contributed to many art historical disciplines and
controversies, discussions of his genuine scholarly significance are always burdened by
excuses or embarrassment, or his work is discredited altogether.103
Some scholars try to disassociate the racism of his last decades with the supposedly objec-
tive achievement of his first. Whatever good came out of them, however, his early study
trips to the Middle East were conditioned by pan-Germanic ideological concerns just as
were his later speculative works. For the thrust of his historiography led him to different
places and concepts than Rieg!. He did not merely make use of the notion of national spir-
its in order to trace their contribution to one another. He directed his research to the iden-
tification of such spirits ai.-id sought out adversarial relationships in which he saw them rec-
iprocally asserting their identities. Many of these struggles pitted blood relationships, iden-
tified with the people, against institutions of power, generally imperial power. Within blood
99 Strzygowski, Wenien des Barock bei Raphael und Correggio. (Strassburg: J.H. Ed. Heitz, 1898), IJ8.
Further references to Rembrandt als Erzieher are on 120 and 125.
JOO Ibid., 21.
101 Die bildende Kunst der Gegenwart, 272.
102 Ibid., 275.
103 Frodl-Kraft, 9. Hilde Zaloscer, "Kunstgescbicbte und Nationalsozialismus," in Friedrich Stadler, ed.,
Kontinuitiit und Bruch 1938-1945-1955: Beitriige. zur Kultur- und
Wissenschaftsgeschichte (Vienna and Munich: Jugend und Volk, 1988), 283-98 [esp. 294 and 297-98,
n. 33]. Joan Hart has informed me of an exchange of letters between Richard Krautheimer and Erwin
Panofsky in 1948 and 1958, found in the Archives of American Art, Smithosonian Museum, bearing
on the distaste of scholars for anything based on Strzygowski's theories.
relationships, more or less insidious strains battled pure strains. Strzygowski' s agonistic art
history did not tell of a "richly diversified evolution?' It showed "wie zwei Stromungen mit
einander kii.mpfen und die eine endlich den Sieg erringt" ("how two currents fight with one
another and one finally achieves victory"). His cultural history constituted a warning
against cultural influence.104
Cultural History and Commitment
To oppose the positions of Riegl and Strzygowski in black and white, although it may clar-
ify them, makes it difficult to perceive all their nuances and veils the contributions the two
scholars made to their respective discourses. For their arguments, bitter though their
polemics may be, were written not primarily for their enemies, but for their friends. In fact,
although the contrast between them is striking, they had much in common regarded as con-
tributors to their respective discourses. Neither merely celebrated the present. We have
already noted that in 1907 Strzygowski still awaited the German savior. He saw German
art of his time as marred by academicism and mediocre talent.ios We have seen, too, that
Riegl talked about the coming of a great spiritual renewal just as Strzygowski did. Like
Strzygowski, he was dissatisfied with his own day. Although he differed with Strzygowski
about what to do with ethnic differences, he shared with him the acceptance of ethnic dif-
ferences themselves as a given. He had to differentiate groups in order to attribute an
impact to their interaction, and sometimes did so in unappealing ways: Thus despite his dis-
approval of Rembrandt als Erzieher and German imperialism, he related Rembrandt's
"Gedankentiefe" to his Germanic nature, and referred to the historical necessity that led
France eventually to relinquish its artistic leadership to "germanische Stlimrne von
reinerem RassenbewuBtsein" ("Germanic tribes with purer racial consciousness").106 In his
history of the Vienna school of art history, Schlosser, commenting on the relation ofRiegl's
ideas to their time, related Riegl's principle of the Kunstwollen to similar notions of the
period that led to mythological notions of a ''Volksgeistes" or even of "der hochst beden-
klichen 'Rassen' -psyche."107
Both Riegl and Strzygowski wished to impose their' own vision upon the political enti-
ties to which they adhered and owed their loyalty. We have seen that Riegl's Rome and sev-
enteenth century Europe were not simply reflections of the Habsburg Empire in opposition
to pan-German nationalists who would destroy it. Rather, they were models for it, repre-
senting alternatives to efforts underway to enforce German dominance in the empire.1os
After the defeat of his early enemies, Strzygowski found new partners in debate. In later
years, Strzygowski directed his polemic not at classicists, but at those who would confine
104 Review of Spiitrlimische Kunstindustrie, 266.
105 According to Strzygowski, the emperor encouraged this mediocrity. Strzygowski, Die bildende KJ,,nst
der Gegenwarl, 260-75.
106 Die historische Grammatik der bildenden Kiinste, ed. Karl M. Swoboda and Otto Pltcht (Graz:
Hermann Bohlaus Nachf., 1966), 60.
107 Julius Schlosser, "Die Wiener Schule der Kunstgeschichte." Mitteilungen des Institutes ftlr oster-
reichischen Geschichtsforschung. Suppl. vol. 13 (1934): 186.
108 In practical terms, his internationalism may have been exemplified in his support (jointly with
Wickhoff) of the Czech student Max Dvorak. DYonlk succeeded Rieg! as Strzygowski's arch enemy,
followed by the Italian-German Schlosser, who, as we have noted, in 1934 made public his disapproval
of the idea of a 'Rassen-psyche.' See previous note.
Germanic nationalism to Germans. He took the conce .
Persians and North Indians into the glo . Ind G pt of senously, welcoming
nous o- ermaruc uruo 109 In th
to a book written by an English foll h . n. e mtroduction
German identity held by most of his coomwera,tri about the limited notion of
. th p o , opmg that ''the right ttitud .
m e end, make it possible in our studies to treat th a e ... wtll,
as a unity. The clarification of view here . d t e Northern people of the whole globe
itself, where at 'the moment an extr aime a may even have good results in the Reich
insisted on."110 Strzygowski's numeme exaggeration of all Germanic cultural values is
erous attempts to prov d th
world-wide union of Northerners did n t
e e scholarly basis for a
some Nazis he seems to have been an uonpglo Although he supported Hitler, to
easan remm er that not all "Ary "
eyed Wagnerian heroes. The favorably dis osed re i . . ans are blue-
Nordische Heilbringer und bildende Kunst for v ewer m Die of his .book
at Strzygowski's exaltation of the p . , example, expressed himself puzzled
carried less weight within Germaners: past the Scandinavian.111 Indeed, his words
Bernard Berenson.112 s owski .Y .an they a fact noted by a chagrined
failure to construct a p:?'!_ fire t is died disillusioned because of the Nazis'
emp e m renna. 113
1:f1e efforts of these two scholars to put their historio . .
social and political issues should not sim 1 b di . graphy m the servrce of current
arly contributions under the assumptio l { e bsIDissed or bracketed out of their schol-
itics. The relativistic position of culturnal ersl of the_ academy should be above po!-
. . s onans p aces difficulties th .
it value Judgements. But the objectivity f th . m e way of explic-
against tyranny. Furthermore whe o err stance should not render them ineffective
tural entities, the scholar, from belief in the viability of cul-
cases that have garnered the most atte ti thodology, is often held responsible.The
Those who hold historian: of Paul Man and Martin
l!IlJUStly accuse an individual reveal . values, while they may often
an lffiportant truth hist
because, as Rieg! correctly pointed out it is a value itseif 114 cannot be value free
ed out of historical study because the' uestion th . can not be
urgent. As Rieg! once argued before a grq :1 at drive us to history are not idle but
oup o overs of art of the past, we only turn to
109 In Spuren indogermanischen Glaubens in der Bildend .
Universitiitsbuchhandlung 1936) he arg , th . . en Kunst (Heidelberg: Carl .Winter's
. ' ues ior e mclus1on of A th .
mamc peoples, declaring that "Das Indog . h . . sia m e cons1deral!on of indoger-
(302). ermamsc e ist also mcht von Europa aus allein zu fassen"
110 Forward, by Strzygowski, to Harold Picton, Early German Art and . . .
to. about 1050 (London: BF. BAtsford,
), v. Us Origins: From the Beginnings
111 Richard v. Hoff, review of Nordische Heilbrin er und b.
1939), Rasse 7 (1939): 32. g zldende Kllnst, by Josef Strzygowski (Vienna,
112 Aesthetics and History in the Visual Am (written, 1938). (New York: Pantheon
113 I have been assured of this in numerous iva e . . '
not confirmed it through his writings -l(,es t with colleagues of Strzygowski, but have
expansion and monumentalization of fue Ri: wn mgs o, contain the ambitious plan for an
of the Danube River. The plan would have glstrasdse, openmg it out to and encompassing both banks
. c eare out most of the ar kn th
w ich was the Jewish area. Strzygowski "W" S dtk . ea own as e leopoldstadt,
llingert" (1939) galleys of an artt"cl . ' iens ta . em, die Innere Stadt, bis an die Donau ver-
. e m an unnamed
oumal b bl
Nachlaj3, Institut filr Kunstgeschichte U 1v "t f Vi ' pro a y a newspaper. Strzygowski
114 In "D ' n ersz y o ienna.
er modeme Denkmalkultus, sein Wesen seine Entsteh " 6
Representation in Alois Rieg! 's Theo >JA 'h ung, 1 6-72. See also Olin, Forms of
ry o rl, c apter 9.
history when we need to.11s Indeed, he thought his time needed history, for it was beset by
a dangerous overdose of subjectivity, which threatened individual difference. The histori-
cal gap Rieg! sought to fill was not just that of ancient Rome. It was the gjtp of his own day.
It was his own day that was not obviously a product of evolution. He had to prove that it
was, and thus keep it from slipping into skepticism and anarchy.
We only tum to history when we need to. This is as true for the historian writing this
essay as for any other historian. As Europe splits painfully into ever more refined nation
states, we face problems similar to those of Riegl and Strzygowski. Their debate over the
miscegenational union of Hellas and Orient resonates with choices that continue to face us
today, and it is this that has led me to reexamine it. In our search for new political entities,
we need not resurrect, even in fantasy, long dead multinational empires of the past. But it
s ~ useful to reassess an overlooked aspect of the cultural history that emerged from them.
Riegl's loyalty to the notion of amultinational empire was inseparable from the aspects of
his historical work that we value today.' His work can exemplify for us the way a histori-
an's construction of a past, even while serving ideology, can also serve as an ideological
corrective, a corrective we need now.
115 'Alte und neue Kunstfreunde,' in Gesammelte Aufslitze, 194-206. The essay argues that collectors tum
to past art when present art needs the influx of an opposed means of representation.
Politics, Nationalism, and Culture