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Antiquarianism, the History of Objects, and the History of Art before Winckelmann

Author(s): Thomas DaCosta Kaufmann

Source: Journal of the History of Ideas, Vol. 62, No. 3 (Jul., 2001), pp. 523-541
Published by: University of Pennsylvania Press
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Journal of the History of Ideas.
Antiquarianism, the History of
Objects, and the History of Art
before Winckelmann

ThomasDaCosta Kaufmann

To the Memory of Franklin LeVan Baumer.

trendsin the humanitieswhich

In lightofpostmoderist andpoststructuralist
have contestednotionsof originalityandof authorship,it might seem surprising
thatone outstandingmythof the eighteenthcenturyhas not yet been thoroughly
challenged.This is the claim madeby JohannJoachimWinckelmannin the fore-
wordto the GeschichtederKunstdesAltertums,originallypublishedin 1764,that
he hadcreateda new historyof artwhichwas distinctfroma historyof artistsand

The history of the artof antiquity,which I have undertakento write, is

no mere account of the chronological order and change of art, but I
take the word history in the wider sense, that it has in the Greek lan-
guage, and my intention is to offer an attemptat a system.... But the
essence of artis in everypartthe most eminentaim, in which the history
of artistshas little influence, and this [sort of history of artists],which
has been compiledby others,is thereforenot to be soughthere ... those
who have treatedantiquities,examine eitheronly such where erudition
was to be applied, or, if they speak of art, this happens in part with
commoneulogies, or theirjudgmentis builton peculiar,false grounds.'
1JohannJoachimWinckelmann,Geschichteder Kunstdes Altertums(Sdmtliche Werke3,
ed. JosephEisebein) (Donaueschingen,1825), 10-11:"Die Geschichteder Kunstdes Altertums,
welche ich zu schreibenunterommen habe, ist keine bloBe Erzahlungder Zeitfolge und der
Veranderungin derselben, sondem ich nehme das WortGeschichte in der weiter Bedeutung,
dasselbein dergriechischeSprachehat,undmeineAbsichtist, einenVersucheines Lehrgebiiudes
zu liefem...Das Wesen der Kunstaberist in diesem sowohl, als in jedem Theile, der vomehmste
Endzweck, in welches die Geschichte der Kiinstlerwenig Einflul hat, und diese, welche von
anderenzusammengetragenworden,hat man also hier nicht zu suchen ... diejenigen,welche von

Copyright of theHistoryof Ideas,Inc.
524 Thomas DaCosta Kaufmann

Wolf Lepenies once described this claim as one of the many foundational
myths of the Enlightenment and presented instead some parallels between the
writing of art history and natural history in the eighteenth century.2As interest
in the historiography of art has revived, publications have continued to pour
forth on Winckelmann.3 Yet the critique suggested by Lepenies has largely not
been followed. Winckelmann's claim to originality remains a starting or major
turning point for most accounts of the history of the discipline of art history.4
Altertiimemhandeln,verh6renentwedernurdasjenige,wo Gelehrsamkeitanzubringenwar,oder
wenn sie von der Kunst reden, geschiehet es theils mit allgemeinen Lobspriichen,oder ist ihr
Urtheil auf fremdefalsche Griindegebauet."All translationsare the author's.
2 See Wolf Lepenies, "Fast ein Poet: JohannJohannJoachimWinckelmannsBegriindung
der Kunstgeschichte,"in Autorenund Wissenschaftlerim 18. Jahrhundert(Munich, 1988), 91-
120, and "Der andereFanatiker.Historisierungund Wissenschaftlichungder Kunstauffassung
bei JohannJoachimWinckelmann,"Ideal und Wirklichkeitder bildendenKunst im spdten 18.
Jahrhundert(FrankfurterForschungenzur Kunst,XI), ed. HerbertBeck, Peter C. Bol, and Eva
Maek-Gerard(Berlin, 1982), 21-29.
3 See Alex Potts, Flesh and the Ideal: Winckelmann and the Origins of Art History (New
Haven, 1994), "PoliticalAttitudesandthe Rise of Historicismin ArtTheory,"ArtHistory(1978),
191-213; "Winckelmann'sConstructionof History,"Art History, 5 (1982), 377-406; "Vie et
mortde l'artantique:Historicit6et beau ideal chez Winckelmann,"in Winckelmann: la naissance
de I'histoire de l'art a I'epoque des Lumieres.Actes du cycle de confirences prononcees d
l 'Auditoriumdu Louvredu 11 decembre1989 au 12fevrier 1990, ed. EdouardPommier(Paris,
1991), 9-38; and "Winckelmann'sInterpretationof the History of Art in its EighteenthCentury
Context"(Ph. D. diss., WarburgInstitute,University of London, 1977). See also Herbertvon
Einem, "Winckelmannund die Wissenschaft der Kunstgeschichte," and Max L. Baeumer,
"Klassizitit und republikanischeFreiheit in der aul3erdeutschenWinckelmann-Rezeptiondes
18. Jahrhunderts," in JohannJoachim Winckelmann 1717-1768, ed. ThomasW. Gaehtgens(Ham-
burg, 1986), 315-26, and 195-211; Michael Fried, "AntiquityNow: Reading Winckelmannon
Imitation,"October,37 (1986), 87-97; FrancisHaskell, "Winckelmannet son influence sur les
historiens," and Michel Espagne, "La diffusion de la culture allemande dans la France des
Lumieres.Les amis de J.-G. Wille et l'echo de Winckelmann,"in Winckelmann,ed. Pommier,
83-99 and 101-35; MariaFancelli, "Winckelmannnel giudizio di Goethe,"in J.J. Winckelmann
tra letteraturae archeologia (Venice, 1993), 31-45; Whitney Davis, "WinckelmannDivided:
Mourningthe Death of Art History,"in Whitney Davis et al. (ed.), Gay and Lesbian Studies in
Art History (New York, 1994), 141-59 (originallypublishedin KunstlerischerAustausch/Artis-
tic Exchange, ed. Thomas Gaehtgens [Berlin, 1993], 673-80); II ManoscrittoFiorentinodi J.J.
Winckelmann: Das Florentiner Winckelmann-Manuskript, intro.MariaFancelli, ed. Max Kunze
(Florence, 1994); HeinrichDilly, "1738: Vers une topographiede la notion d'art,"Histoire de
I'histoire de l'art de 1'Antiquiteau xviiie siecle, ed. EdouardPommier(Paris, 1995), I, 303-26;
EdouardPommier,"Winckelmann:des vies d'artistesa l'histoirede l'art,"in Les Viesd'artistes,
ed. MatthiasWaschek(Paris, 1996), 207-36; JeffreyMorrison, Winckelmannand the Notion of
Aesthetic Education (Oxford, 1996); Barbara Steindl, "Zwischen Kennerschaft und
Kunsthistoriographie. Zu den Werk-beschreibungen bei WinckelmannundCicognara,"in Johann
DominicusFiorillo unddie romantischeBewegungenvon 1800 (G6ttingen,1997), 96-113.
4 The thesis that Winckelmanncreateda
completely new history of art is for example re-
statedin the most recent edition of Udo Kultermann,Geschichteder Kunstgeschichte.DerWeg
einer Wissenschaft(Munich, 19903),53ff, and GermainBazin, L'histoirede I'histoirede l'art
(Paris, 1986), 94ff. ThomasDaCostaKaufmann,"BeforeWinckelmann:Towardsthe Originsof
the Historyof Art,"Knowledge,Science and Literaturein the Early ModernPeriod, ed. Gerhild
Scholz Williams and StephanK. Schindleret al. (Chapel Hill, 1996), 71-89, and "Antiquarian
ConnoisseurshipandArt Historybefore Winckelmann:Some Evidence fromNorthernEurope,"
Antiquarianism 525

It may be that Winckelmann's claim has remained largely unchallenged be-

cause his differentiation of his accomplishment from that of Gelehrsamkeit in
particularcoincides with and helps to supportanother distinction made at his time,
that between "philosophy," or criticism, and erudition, the latter being at best
necessary but inferior.5This distinction, which was fostered by the philosophes and
their counterparts in other countries, has been frequently heard in scholarly de-
bates, and it is echoed in current discussions where empirical scholarship is dis-
paraged in favor of what is often now called Theory.6Thus while in the twentieth
century the Enlightenment came in for heavy going starting with at least the cri-
tique of Max Horkheimer and Theodor W. Adomo,7 this is one Enlightenment
opinion which, despite the rise of critical theory among other trends in recent
scholarship, has gained in fashion, especially in the English-speaking world.
But the contrast between philosophy, or critique, and erudition makes a
distinction that is ultimately untenable, even if it is also one that has continued
to dominate many views of the history of eighteenth-century scholarship. The
case at hand suggests that supposed innovations of the eighteenth century in
the historiography of art, as in many other fields of study, are much more bound
up with late humanism and encyclopedism than their promulgators might have
wished to admit. Scholars of a number of disciplines have begun to revise in-
terpretations of the role of the so-called antiquarians of the sixteenth to eigh-
teenth centuries-those who dealt with Altertiimer.8 Some recent studies of the
historiography of art have pointed to some connections between the antiquar-
ian tradition and that of the historiography of art.9These approaches, however,
have primarily dealt with Italian and French writers and, moreover, have left
Winckelmann's position largely untouched.10 Winckelmann's situation in the

in Shop Talk:Studies in Honor of SeymourSlive (Cambridge,Mass., 1995), 130-32, 340, how-

ever, offer informationon Winckelmann'santecedentsthat supportLepenies's initial observa-
tion. The presentessay utilizes some materialfrom these essays.
5 See Amaldo
Momigliano,"AncientHistoryand the Antiquarian,"Journal of the Warburg
and CourtauldInstitutes, 13 (1950), 307ff, andAstrid Witschi-Bemz, "Maintrendsin Histori-
cal-MethodLiterature:Sixteenthto EighteenthCenturies,"History and Theory,12 (1972), 56ff.
6 For earlier examples see Hans Sedlmayr, "Zu einer strengen Kunstwissenschaft,"
Kunstwissenschaftliche Forschungen, 1 (1931), reprinted as "Kunstgeschichte als Kunst-
geschichte," in Hans Sedlmayr,Kunst und Wahrheit.Zur Theorie und Methode der Kunstge-
schichte (Mittenwald,1978), 49-80; also ChristopherS. Wood, The ViennaSchool Reader:Poli-
tics and Art Historical Method in the 1930s (New York,2000).
7 Max Horkheimerand TheodorW. Adorno,Dialektikder
8See the work ofFrancoise Waquet,GabrielaValera,PeterMiller,AnthonyGrafton,among
9 See FrancisHaskell, History and its Images. Art and the Interpretationof the Past (New
Haven, 1993); GabrieleBickendorf,Die Historisierungder italienischenKunstbetrachtungim
17. und 18. Jahrhundert(Berlin, 1998); Ingo Herklotz,Cassiano dal Pozzo unddie Archdologie
des 17. Jahrhunderts(Munich, 1999), and Alain Schnapp, The Discovery of the Past, tr. Ian
Kinnes and Gillian Vamdell (New York, 1997).
10Bickendorf,Historisierung,275, credits Wincklemannwith replacingseries of histories
(Geschichten)with a unifiedhistoryandwith bindingartinto a generalculturalhistory.Schnapp,
Discovery of the Past, 262, says that Winckelmann"destroyedthe antiquarianmodel which
526 ThomasDaCosta Kaufmann
broaderEuropeanhistorical and geographicalcontext also remainsrelatively
unclear so long as the beginnings of the historiographyof art in the German-
speakingworld,in which he was bornandeducated,remainlargelyunexamined.
This essay reconsiderssome aspectsof a largebody of literaturein German
and,a sign of thecontinuationof humanistandencyclopedictraditions,in Latin,by
northernEuropeanandespeciallyGermanauthors,thatis earlierthanWinckelmann.
The traditionsthey representnot only evolved into but may also be relatedto
publicationswhich specifically employed the term history of art (Geschichte
der Kunst,Kunstgeschichte),in a sense not so far fromWinckel-mann'sbefore
his book appeared;Winckelmanneven grudgingly admittedthe existence of
some such writingsbut denied that any previouswriterhad said anythingpen-
etrating about art.11These traditions,whose outlines have been adumbrated
elsewhere,neverthelessbelong to a largergroupof sources for Winckelmann's
work.12Indeed,they may well establishan even moredirectandprimarycontext
for Wincklemann'sideas thando the more familiarFrench,English,and Italian
sources which have been previously adducedin referenceto his writings.13
A reassessmentof Winckelmann'sGermanpredecessorsmay begin with a
reconsiderationof the first majorbook in the Germanlanguagethat discussed
the history of art, Joachim von Sandrart's TeutscheAcademie (Academia
Todesca)of 1675-79. Both for its biographicalcontents and for its apparently
antiquariancharacterSandrart'swork has however been contrastedwith his-
tory writing of the eighteenthcentury.Sandrartpublishedlives of the ancient,
Italian, German,and Netherlandishartists,and it is for these that his book is
largely remembered.But his three-volumeopus containedmuch more: it was
an extensive compendiumof art theory and practicaladvice meant to aid the
artist,scholar,andconnoisseur,which includedguides to Ovid's Metamorpho-
ses andto artisticsymbolismanddescriptionsandillustrationsof antiquesculp-
ture and ancient and contemporaryRomanbuildings.14
Since Wilhelm Waetzoldt'sDeutsche Kunsthistoriker(1921) Sandrarthas
rightly been regardedas a forerunnerof Winckelmann.15 Sandrartopened the
path to Winckelmannin more ways than one: he not only initiateda serious
literatureof art in Germanwhich providedartists'biographies,but he brought

made history subservientto object"and "set out to explain a cultureby its objects."Haskell also
draws Winckelmanninto his account, History and its Images, 217, of the "artsas an index of
Winckelmann,Geschichte der Kunst, ed. cit., 10: "Es sind einige Schrifen unter dem
Namen einer Geschichte der Kunst an das Licht getreten: aber die Kunst hat einen geringen
Antheil an derselben, denn ihre Verfasserhaben sich mit derselbennicht genug verkehrt,und
k6nntenalso nicht geben, als was sie aus Bfichem, oder von Sagenhorenhalten.An das Wesen
und zu dem Innernder Kunst fiihretfast kein Scribent...."
E.g., Potts, "Winckelmann'sInterpretation";and Haskell, History and its Images.
14 Joachimvon Sandrart, L 'AcademiaTodescadella Architectura,Scultura& Pittura: Oder
TeutscheAcademiederEdlen Bau- Bild- undMahlerey-Kiinste(3 vols.; Nuremberg,1675-1679).
Waetzoldt,Deutsche Kunsthistoriker(Berlin, 19863),23-42.
Antiquarianism 527

togethermuchof the sortof materialoutof whicha latercriticismandhistoryof art

could be constituted.In gatheringtogetheran even largeramountof visual and
textualinformationthanhis humanistand antiquarian predecessorshad done, his
effortmay be relatedto a patternwhich has become familiarfromotherareasof
scholarship,by which an earliergenerationassemblesmaterialsthatareemployed
for laterconstructions.
Nevertheless, Sandrart'saccomplishment has been distinguished from
Winckelmann'sandthatof his contemporariesby twentieth-centuryscholarship
in a way thatechoeswhatWinckelmannhimself,eighteenth-century philosophes,
andsome nineteenth-century Gelehrtemighthave said.Waetzoldtset the tone for
subsequentinterpretationswhen he criticized Sandrart'saccomplishment.He
emphasized the shortcomings of Sandrart'sbiographies, and distinguished
Sandrart'serudition(Gelehrsamkeit) fromthe trueWissenschaft of arthistory.For
WaetzoldtSandrart'seruditionrepresenteda prescientific(vorwissen-schaftlich)
conditionwhich would only change with Winckelmann.16 Subsequently,stan-
dardworkssuchas Udo Kultermann'sGeschichtederKunst-geschichte have thus
describedSandrartas the Vasariof the north,the authorof artists'biographies:
the Germanpainter-historianis noteworthymainly as the translatorof the work
of Vasariandof his Netherlandishequivalent,Karelvan Mander.'7In an impor-
tantessay RobertoSalvini treatedSandrartsimilarly,as the thirdin the triadof
historiographersbegunby his sources,Vasariandvan Mander,and Salvini also
noted that Sandrart'swriting was a productof the later seventeenthcentury.'8
ChristianKlemm, authorof the best monographon Sandrart'spaintings,19
has elaboratedthese themes in a comprehensiveintroductionto the first two
volumes of a facsimile edition of the TeutscheAcademie. Klemm recounts
Sandrart'ssources and his role in the continuationand translationof the tradi-
tion of artists'biographies,andhe also relateshim to the intellectualcurrentsof
his time. Klemm therebyrecognizes some of the newer historiographicalcon-
tent found in Sandrart'sbook, including the presence of antiquarianmaterials
not found in earlier works that may be related to the historiographyof art.
Klemm also traces the impact on the text of Sigismund von Birken, the
Nurembergpoet andmemberof the orderof the Pegnitzschdfer,andrelatesthe
compositionof Sandrart'scompendiumto the traditionof the polyhistors.20
Yet like Waetzoldt'scomparisonof Sandrart'sto othercontemporaryschol-
arly accomplishmentsof the seventeenthcentury,this is not to be regardedas a

Waetzoldt,Deutsche Kunsthistoriker,42.
17 Kultermann,Geschichteder
8 Roberto
Salvini, "L'ereditadel Vasaristoriografoin Germania:Joachimvon Sandrart,"in
II Vasaristoriografo e artista (Attidel congresso internazionalenel IV centenario della morte
1974) (Florence, 1976), 759-71.
19ChristianKlemm, Joachim von Sandrart.Kunst WerkeundLebensLauf (Berlin, 1986).
20Klemm, "PfadedurchSandrartsTeutscheAcademie,"in Joachim von SandrartTeutsche
Academie der Bau- Bild- und Mahlerey-KiinsteNiirnberg 1675-1680 in urspriinglicherForm
neugedrucktmiteinerEinleitungvon ChristianKlemm(Nordlingen,1994),9-32, withbibliography.
528 ThomasDaCosta Kaufmann

favorableevaluation.21 Klemmis sympatheticneitherto Sandrart'sformof schol-

arshipnor to his style of literaryexpression.According to Klemm, Sandrart's
work is "encyclopedic" in an older sense, rather than systematic like the
Encyclopedieof the eighteenthcentury.Klemm concludeshis assessmentwith
a negative comparisonof Sandrart'shistoriographyto the dilettanticpedantry
of the polyhistors,"so we must class Sandrartas a writerof historyindeedwith
the 'polyhistors'of his century,who half-dilettantishlypile up material,com-
pletely untouchedby those currentswhich pointed to the futureand which at
thattime were being preparedin Paris."22
Klemm's descriptionof the "polyhistoriccharacter,the bloated expansion
of antiquarianknowledge without criticism"("polyhistorischeCharakter,das
aufschwemmendAusbreitenvon antiquarischenWissen ... ohne Kritik")23of
Sandrart'ssecond volume deserves furtherscrutiny.Much of what has long
been recognizedas distinctivein Sandrartcan be regardedas a positive andnot
negative productof his time. The relationof Sandrart'swritingsto learnedtra-
ditionsmay be furtheramplifiedby other,earlierseventeenth-centuryworks in
Latin on the theory of artand the history of artists.Not just a painter,Sandrart
resembles a scholarlike FranciscusJuniusin certainrespects:he, too, was fa-
miliarwith the work andpersonsof a varietyof antiquarians,philologists, his-
torians,andpoets; andhe, too, describesandutilizes contemporarycollections.
Like some of the antiquariancompendia on which he drew, Sandrart'swork
supplied visual materialas illustration.He also repeatedsome of the themes
found in other contemporaneousscholarlytreatiseson art.24
Sandrart'svolumes thereby also provide an importantfoundationfor fu-
ture scholarshipand even anticipatecertainFrencheighteenth-centurydevel-
opments.Whileit is correctthatSandrart'sbook resemblesthatof the polyhistors
as well as the antiquariansin its treatmentof a varietyof topics and its learned
accumulationof materials,his version of polyhistoric antiquarianismcan be
characterizeddifferentlyandmore favorablythanKlemm has done. Sandrart's
mannerof presentationmay have been eclectic, but this eclectic approachwas
also like that of many other antiquariansin the way that Wilhelm Schmidt-
Biggemannhas explained.The eclecticism it representedwas homogeneous.25
The method of the TeutscheAcademie is not uncontrolled,but it may be con-
sidered to be restrictedin the sense that the materialthat Sandrartgathered

Waetzoldt,24, also comparesSandrartto Samuel von Pufendorfand HermannConring.
Klemm, "Pfade,"12, 19: "so miissen wir denn Sandrartals Geschichtsschreiberwohl zu
den halb dilettantisch Material haufenden 'Polyhistoren' seines Jahrhundertsrechnen, ganz
unberiihrtvon den zukunftweisendenStr6mungen,die sich damals in Paris anbahnten."
Klemm, "Pfade,"20; also 28, n. 148, describes this genre as a "schwer verdaulichen
Literaturgattung" but also establishesthe direct contactsthat Sandrarthad with polyhistors.
24 Allan Ellenius, De Arte Pingendi: Latin Art Literaturein
and its InternationalBackground(Uppsala, 1960); and Klemm, "Pfade."
25See Wilhelm Schmidt-Biggemann,TopicaUniversalis.Eine Modellgeschichtehumanis-
tischer und barocker Wissenschaft(Hamburg,1983).
Antiquarianism 529

togetherpertainsnot to all aspects of experience or history but to the making

and monumentsof art. Moreover,since Sandrartwas an extremely successful
practicingartistand since he sets a practicalaim for artistsas the goal of his
book, he can hardlyin any instancebe called a dilettante.
Furthermorethe TeutscheAcademiepossesses its own sortof organization.
Sandrartprovidesan index for each of his sections. If his work does not appear
to be systematicin the sense of latercenturies,includingthatof the Encyclopedie,
it has its own system. The first two books of the work deal with the theoryand
practiceof the three arts of design (as in the arti del disegno, painting, sculp-
ture, and architecture),the second book deals more with the antiquarianand
historicalorigins of the arts,and the thirdwith the symbolism of art.26
For this and furtherreasons Sandrart'santiquarianismcannot simply be
called an uncriticalpiling up of facts. For example, he relates and compares
theses abouthistory,inheritedfrom earlierliterature,to empiricalobservation
of objects.27This procedureis one thatcan be identifiedwith some of the prac-
tices developed by antiquariansin the early modem era. It has also been sug-
gested thatthe introductionof a methodemployingvisual materialsas a touch-
stone for authenticationand historical dating such as Sandrartutilizes was a
positive productof early modem historicalscholarship:it was one responseto
the impact of Pyrrhonism on the problem of historical credibility (fides
historica).28Sandrartin fact offers a refined version of this approach:he ap-
plies methods to the evaluationof objects that may be comparedto those of
contemporaneousKritik.29He makes frequentcomments about authorshipof
drawings and paintings that may be described as a process of connoisseur-
ship.30The employment of these empirical methods has furthermoreusually
26Waetzold,Deutsche Kunsthistoriker,36.
27 Martino
Capucci, "Dalla biografia alla storia. Note sulla formazione dell storiografia
artisticanel Seicento,"StudiSecenteschi,9 (1968 [1969]), 89-125, arguesfor"ispezioneoculare"
and "l'accertamentodella verita" as among the innovations of seicento historiography.Inas-
much as Sandrartalso checks theses against observationsof medals and of paintings,to what-
ever degree of consistency,as Klemm also recognizes, I disagreewith Klemm'snegative assess-
ment of Capucci'sobservationsin relationto Sandrart,"Pfade,"19.
28 See Araldo Momigliano, "Ancient History and the Antiquarian,"295ff, and more re-

cently MarkusVolkel, "Pyrrhonismushistoricus" und 'fides historica." Die Entwicklungder

deutschen historischenMethodologie unter dem Gesichtspunktder historischenSkepsis (New
York, 1987), 103-5; see also Astrid Witschi-Bernz,"MainTrendsin Historical-MethodLitera-
ture:Sixteenthto EighteenthCenturies,"in History and Theory,12 (1972), 63ff.
29 See HerbertJaumann,Critica.
Untersuchungenzur GeschichtederLiteraturkritkzwischen
Quintilianund Thomasius(Leiden, 1995), andThomasDaCostaKaufmann,"Juridica,historica
et art:un ajouten guise de commentaire/Juridica,historicaund Kunst:Ein Annex in Formeines
Kommentars,"in Olivier ChristinandDario Gamboni(ed.), Crises de l'image religieuse/Krisen
religioser Kunst(Paris, 1999), 281-300.
30 See Jeffrey M. Muller, "Measuresof Authenticity:The Detection of Copies in Early
Literatureon Connoisseurship,"in Retainingthe Original:Multiple Originals, Copies, and Re-
productions(Studiesin the HistoryofArt, 20) (1989), 141-49; JuliusHeld, "TheEarlyApprecia-
tion of Drawings,"Latin AmericanArt and the BaroquePeriod in Europe (Studiesin Western
Art, Acts of theXXthInternationalCongressof the History ofArt) (Princeton,1963), III, 93.
530 ThomasDaCosta Kaufmann
been seen as essential for the developmentof the discipline of arthistory,and
they were claimed by Winckelmannas his own innovations.
Sandrartalso describes at some length both the antiquitiesand contempo-
raryart objects thatwere to be found in Kunstkammers,contemporarycollec-
tions: this section of his book is innovative,because it includes descriptionsof
collections in a work that otherwisecontainstheoreticaland historicalmateri-
als.31Sandrart'sstore of antiquarianmaterials,stocked furtherby his discus-
sion of where they can be seen in collections, not only directsreadersto them
but also supplies him, and them, with comparandafor a criticalassessmentof
history.32For example, Sandrartrefershis judgmentof the decline of artin late
antiquityto the observationof medals, as Klemm has also noted.33This point
shouldbe emphasized,because Sandrartdoes not merely take over the familiar
accountof artisticdeclinesettingin with the end of the RomanEmpirewhichhad
been repeatedsince the Renaissance.Sandrart'scommentson the use of med-
als resemblethe opinionsof contemporaneous antiquarians,andareworthquoting:

All the famed [writers]who have experience with history have made
known to the world how highly necessary is the study and knowledge
of medals, because they alone give the stampof truthin the history of
the ancients,and more credence is often to be placed in a medal, than
in diverse authorsor books. For even though they are no doubt mute,
still their forms and reverses speak with more certainty.They settle
accounts in dubious matters,they light upon history with pure truth,
and they never are silent. Indeed,with theirtemperthey outlastevery-
thing imaginable,and show at the same time pure truthtogetherwith
the excellence and immortalityof the artof imageryin a small piece of
metal. Thereforethe most excellent scholarshave all had recourseto
lessons in metal....34

Sandrart'sapplicationof method here involves a fresh empiricalexamination

of medals for the purposeof analysis of the variety of theirappearance,which
TeutscheAcademie, II, pt. 2, 71ff.
See Sandrart'sprocedureand his use of materialsdescribedas being in various collec-
tions for formingjudgments,as in TeutscheAcademie, II, pt. 2, 78, 81, 83.
33See Klemm, "Pfade,"20-22.
34 TeutscheAcademie, II, pt. 2, 81: "Es ist
bey alien beriihmten Historien-Erfahren
weltkiindig/wie hochn6tig sey die Wissenschaftund ErkintnisderMedaglienlweil sie allein in
den Historiender Alten/ den Ausschlag der Warheitgeben/ und ist oft einer einigen Medaglie
mehr Glauben zuzusetzen / als unterschiedlichenAuthoren oder Bucher. Dan ob sie schon
stummsind / so redendoch ihreAusbildungenundRiversenmit mehrerSicherheit.Sie entrichten
die zweifelhaftige Sachen/ finden die Geschichte mit der reinen Warheit / und schweigen
nimmermehr.Ja sie daurenmit der Hartefiber alles was zu ersinnen/und zeigen zugleich die
reine Warheit/mit derVortrefflich-und Unsterblichkeitder Bildkunst/ in einem kleinen Stuck
Metallbeysammen.Dahrerdanndie vortrefflichsteGelehrtenalle ihreZufluchtzu den metallinen
Lehrem genommenhaben...."
Antiquarianism 531

he here, as elsewhere in his book, utilizes to constructa fuller historical ac-

count.His interpretationof objectsfor a constructionof culturalhistoryis again
something that is supposed to have begun only with Winckelmannand other
Sandrartexpandedtheview inheritedfromearliertreatmentsof the histori-
ography of art. It has long been recognized that Sandrartexpanded the bio-
graphicalcoverage of artistspastVasariandVanManderto includemany more
Germans,as well as to bringthe storyup to date. He also expandedhis account
geographically,to mention the Chinese.35Reflecting contemporaneousEuro-
pean involvementnot only with EastAsia but also with the Near East, as exem-
plified by Athanasius Kircher, whom Sandrartindeed cites in this regard,
Sandrartmoreover includes accounts of ancient Egyptian symbolism.36Thus
Sandrartseems to realize more fully than other earlier writers had done the
promise that theorists of universal history had hypothesized:one could con-
structa history of all the arts in all times and places and thus a history of the
visual arts, as they have subsequentlybeen called.37
Sandrart'sextension of previous accountsof the historyof Europeanartis
also important,because in this respect he is also more far-reachingthan his
predecessors.Like VasariandothersSandrartprovidesrelativelybrief accounts
of the history of painting,sculpture,and architecture,independentof his accu-
mulationsof artists'lives, especially for periods before the thirteenthcentury,
when biographicalmaterialbecomes more generallyavailable.As Klemm rec-
ognized, Sandrart'saccountwas also novel because he tracedthe onset of de-
cline of art to the second Nicaean council, not to the assaults of the Goths,
basing thisjudgmentin humanisticantiquarianmanneron the study of coins.38
But Sandrartdid more thanthat;he also expandedthe treatmentof medieval art
in Europe. He filled in the history of medieval art and architectureup to the
thirteenthcentury,when, as in Vasari'scompendium,the lives of the known
artistsusually begin with the biographyof Cimabue.39Thus before the various
Parisianschools like that of St. Maur,or for thatmatterthe Italianeruditi,had

TeutscheAcademie,I, pt. 3, 100ff; and see Michael Sullivan, TheMeeting of Easternand
WesternArt (London, 1973), 93ff.
36See Erik
Iversen,TheMythofEgypt and its Hieroglyphsin EuropeanTradition(Princeton,
19932), 88ff: Kircher'scompendiumis his OedipusAegyptiacus (3 vols.; Rome, 1652-54); he
contributedto the study of EastAsia as well, e.g., China monumentis... illustrata(Amsterdam,
1667), cited by Sandrartin TeutscheAcademie, II, pt. 1, 55.
37 See,
e.g., Bartholomaeus Keckermann, De Natura et Proprietatibus Historiae
Commentarius,in Opera Omnia (2 vols.; Genoa, 1614), II, col. 1309-88; also Kaufmann,
"Eurocentrismand Art History? Universal History and the Historiographyof the Arts before
Winckelmann,"in Memoryand Oblivion:Proceedings of the XXIXthInternationalCongressof
theHistoryofArtheld in Amsterdam1-7 September1996, ed. WesselReininkandJeroenStumpel
(Dordrecht,1999), 35-42.
38 Klemm, "Pfade,"12 with referenceto TeutscheAcademie, I, pt. 1, p. 5, and
pt. 2, p. 7.
39 TeutscheAcademie, I,
pt. 2, pp. 5-10.
532 ThomasDaCosta Kaufmann

begun writing on such subjects, Sandrartalso provided an extended, and not

entirelynegative, account of the Middle Ages.40
Hence far from failing to point to the future,many aspects of Sandrart's
work also directly establishedfoundationsfor the futureliteratureof art. The
importanceof his contributionis indisputable,for example, in the establish-
ment of criticism,theory,andprosopographyof artin the vernacular,just as he
played a key role in establishing the first academies of art in Germany.41
Sandrart'simpactwas also felt on otherlate seventeenth-and early eighteenth-
centurydevelopmentsin the historiographyof art.
Sandrartseems not just to have precededbut also to have provided some
directionand some materialfor the firstbook publishedon the historyof archi-
tecture, Johann BernhardFischer von Erlach's Entwurff einer historischen
Architektur.42Fischervon Erlachsketches a historyof architecturenot accord-
ing to architectsbut by a sequence of illustrationsof buildings, arrangedchro-
nologically and accordingto regions. In so doing Fischeralso presentsthe rec-
ognizable patternof a broaduniversal history. Fischer's universaltheme, his
treatmentof architecturethroughillustrations,may be regarded,however, as
having a predecessorand possibly even a direct source in Sandrart.Sandrart's
treatmentof China is picked up by Fischer,if turnedby the Austrianarchitect
into a more positive direction;and Sandrart'streatmentof the medieval period
can in a way be comparedto the surprisinglytolerantcommentsin Fischer.43
One detail in Fischer'sbook speaksnotjust for coincidencebut for a direct
use of Sandrart.This is Fischer'streatmentof vases, illustratedat the end of his
volume in the last book of his compendium44(Figure 1). Coming as they do
after a sequence of illustrationsof buildings, which culminatesin the appear-
ance of Fischer's own works, the appearanceof vases at the end of a historyof
architecture might otherwise seem extraneous, even inexplicable. Yet in
Sandrart'swork there are also illustrationsand discussions of antiquevases:
these indeed occupy a place in his opus thatis similarto thatfound in Fischer's
(Figure 2). In the TeutscheAcademie the presentationof vases (and related
matter)completes the second, and thus the historicalsection, of the text.45
See Bickendorf, Die Historisierung; antiquarianismand approachesto the history of
medieval artare the topics of continuingresearchby Ingo Herklotz.
41 Klemm, "Pfade,"althoughI am in disagreementwith
aspects of his accountof Sandrart's
historiography;and see Bruno Bushart,"Die AugsburgerAkademien,"in Academies ofArt Be-
tween Renaissance and Romanticism(Leids KunsthistorischeJaarboek, 5-6 [1986-87, 1989]),
332 ff; Ludwig Grote,"Joachimvon Sandrartund Niimberg,"in Barockin Niirnberg(Anzeiger
des GermanischenNational-Museums)(Nuremberg,1962), 14ff.
42Entwurffeiner historischenArchitektur..(Vienna, 1721).
43 See Kaufmann,"Eurocentrismand Art History?Universal History and the Historiogra-
phy of the Arts before Winckelmann."
44EntwurffeinerhistorischenArchitektur,Bk. 5: "DiversVasesAntiuqesEgyptiens,Grecs,
Romains, & modemes: avec Quelquesuns de l'invention de l'Auteur."
45 TeutscheAcademie,II,
pt. 3: "VonunterschiedlichenantiquischenoderuraltenGefdssen/
Antiquarianism 533

It is also possible to associate Sandrart with further historiographic devel-

opments in his immediate milieu in Nuremberg, where much was later to be
written on the visual arts.46Sandrart was connected with literary and learned
figures in the town. In turn Altdorf, the university of Nuremberg, can be linked
with artistic interests in the city.47 In Altdorf at the beginning of the eighteenth
century Christoph Gottlieb Schwarz, who had written his own dissertation on
manuscripts, lectured on the subject; he also acted later as the promoter of a
dissertation on ivory diptychs.48 Schwarz and others like him handled the ob-
jects they discussed by describing them, in his case, manuscripts, recounting
their inscriptions, handwriting, the materials with which they are made, their
form, bindings, symbolism, and illuminations. Schwarz and writers on similar
subjects, like Martin Schmeitzel, who wrote about crowns and described when
and how objects had been made and fared through later years.49
Hence long before the establishment of the first academic chairs in art his-
tory at Gottingen and Berlin, and certainly before Winckelmann, disquisitions
and dissertations on objects were in fact being written at universities in Ger-
many. In the later seventeenth and early eighteenth century theses were pre-
sented on topics including crowns, Roland statues, diptychs, and manuscripts
in various faculties, not only at Altdorf, where a number of professors were
involved, but also at such universities as Frankfurt an der Oder, Leipzig, and
Jena. After Sandrart(and his German contemporary, D. B. Major)50even Kunst-
kammers could become the subject of university dissertations.51
Later scholarship has usually categorized the approach represented by these
sorts of endeavors as antiquarian, as it has the presentation of some of the

FrankWolf Eiermann,"Die Veroffentlichungender NiimbergerMahler-Academievon
Jacobvon Sandrartbis JohannJustinPreisler(1662-1771)" (M. A. thesis, Friedrich-Alexander-
Universitit Erlangen-Niimberg,1992).
47 See Christian
Klemm, "Sigmundvon Birkenund Joachimvon Sandrart.ZurEntstehung
der TeutschenAcademie und zu anderenBeziehungen von Literatund Maler,"in Der Franken
Rom, NiirnbergsBliitezeit in der zweiten Hdlfte des 17. Jahrhunderts,ed. John Roger Paas
(Wiesbaden,1995), 289-313; andsee FrankWolf Eiermann,"Die NiimbergerMahler-Academie
und die UniversitatAltdorf im 17/18. Jahrhundert," Friihneuzeit-info,9 (1993), 97-98.
48 Schwarz'swritings on
manuscriptsare collected in De ornamentislibrorumet varia rei
librariae veterumsupellectile dissertationumantiquarium...,ed. Johann ChristianLeuschner
(Leipzig,1756); see also GustavPhilipp Negelein, "De VetustoQuodamDiptycho Consulariet
Ecclesiastico"(Ph. D. diss., Altdorf, 1742).
49CommentatioHistorica de CoronistamAntiquis,quamModernis... Speciatimde Origine
et Fatis Sacrae, Angelicae et Apostolica Regni Hungariae Coronae(Jena, 1712). Anothercon-
temporarydissertationon the crown of Hungarywas writtenat Altdorf and promotedby D. G.
Moller: ConradDeichler, "DisputatioCircularisde Corona Hungarica"(Ph. D. diss., Altdorf,
50D. B. Major, UnvorgreifflichesBedenckenvon Kunst- und Naturalien-Kammern(Kiel,
51 At Altdorf in 1704 Friedrich
Sigismund Wurffbaindefended a dissertationon Kunst-
kammersand the history of collecting that had probablybeen writtenby thepraeses, Professor
D. G. M6ller: "Dissertatio de Technophysiotameis-von Kunst-und Naturalien-Kammem"
(Altdorf, 1704). Otherdissertationsare discussed in "BeforeWinckelmann,"76-78.
534 ThomasDaCosta Kaufmann

> *

-*i,r [ ~~~~~.
w~~~~~~~~~~~~r * ?

- .

,,'.. ' d)~~~~~~~~~~~.
.-?I~~ ~~~~~~'., -a
..... , ; .

. ? . .
'.. x~.~.r '
_-_, __
? ~ . ~_~
.....~;>.,CPr~ ek
I d~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

.., _ .

....y~~' _i~ . .2
?~~~~~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~~ ?
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~":'-' I_ v'

y !
, , , .. ~
Antiquarianism 535

.*.-t. *,. -. - - --:-5i~~~~~~~~~

~ h ,...
'c^'-^^f-^'":'~~-~ v :,

Figure 2: Ancient Vases, from Joachim von Sandrart,TeutscheAcademie,

Nuremberg,1675, courtesy,MarquandLibrary.
536 ThomasDaCosta Kaufmann

materialsin Sandrart.The term antiquarianas used here describes an activity

or interestthatis concernedwith documentsand objects of the past in an effort
to reconstitutetheirappearanceand nature,not an analyticalor narrativeman-
ner of procedure.Antiquarianismis thus thoughtto provide a basis for histori-
cal research,not to representreal historiographyitself.52Sandrartis contrasted
with Winckelmann,and antiquarianismwith arthistory.
Sandrart'swork and the link it providesbetween arthistory and antiquari-
anism suggest that these distinctionsare too sharplydrawn. It is mistakento
dismiss too hastilyhis sortof scholarshipand antiquarianismmore generallyas
belonging to a type thatis differentin its methodfromWinckelmann's-that is,
a concern with the visual particularitiesof objects of art, set into a historical
framework.AlthoughWinckelmannwantedto distinguishhimself fromhis pre-
decessors andhis mode of presentationand literarystyle differ from Sandrart's
and from those of other antiquarians,it is neverthelessthe case that antiquar-
ians supplied Winckelmannboth with most of the matterfor his books, and
also with much of his method,which is now identifiedwith that of arthistory.
Sandrart'swork furthersuggests that Winckelmann'srelation to his anteced-
ents can be tracednot only in regardto archaeologicalor iconographiccontent,
for which he drew upon materialcompiled by antiquarians,but also in what is
often regardedas Winckelmann'sspecial contributionto arthistoricalmethod,
namely,the analysis of the formalor stylistic particularitiesof objects in order
to place them in historicalcontext.
Numeroustexts reveal the existence of a host of othernorthernantecedents
to Winckelmannin additionto Sandrartin this regardas well. For example, in
one seventeenth-centurypublication on ivory diptychs, which has been dis-
cussed elsewhere, the Liege JesuitAlexanderWilthelm dates them according
to their stylistic qualities. In a manner that uncannily anticipates Giovanni
Morelli's discussion of the connoisseur'smethodtwo centurieslater,Wilthelm
presentsillustrationsdemonstratingthe datingof diptychsaccordingto details
such as the shape of hands.53Furthermore,Wilthelm also dates an ivory ac-
cording to assumptionsof stylistic history,which are similar to those associ-
ated with Winckelmann'ssupposedinventions.He identifies a building repre-
sentedin a diptychas Gothic.He statesthathe meansby this not the Gothswho
destroyedRome. Insteadthis termis to be understoodas historically,we would
say art-historicallyspecific: he comparesthe structureon a diptychto what he
calls the Gothic Cathedralof Reims. He then dates the work correctlyby asso-
ciation with the churchof St. Lambertin Liege.54
52See Momigliano, "AncientHistory and the Antiquarian."
53 See CarloGinzburg,"Clues:Roots of an EvidentialParadigm,"in Myths,Emblems,Clues,
tr. John andAnne C. Tedeschi(London, 1990), 96-125.
54 Alexandri Wilthelmi, Diptychon Leodiense ex Consulari Factum
Epicopale et in Illud
Commentarius(Liege, 1659), andAppendixadDiptychonLeodiense(Liege, 1660);see Kaufinann
"AntiquarianConnoisseurshipandArt History before Winckelmann";"BeforeWinckelmann,"
76-77; and Bickendorf,Die Historisierung,261, n. 52.
Antiquarianism 537

Throughwritings such as Sandrart'sand Wilthelm'smethods,comparable

to what latergenerationshave called visual analysis and connoisseurship,also
entered into Germanuniversity education in the earlier eighteenth century.55
This sort of instructionhas a direct importancefor Winckelmann,because he
personally encounteredit at the university of Halle, where he studied in the
years 1738-39. It has been known that at Halle Winckelmannmet Alexander
Baumgarten,the founder of philosophical aesthetics so importantfor the re-
definitionof the meaning of art,and thathe attendedlecturesgiven by Johann
HeinrichSchulze on numismaticsand antiquities.While it has been recognized
that Schulze was probably the first to have introducedWinckelmannto the
study of ancientobjects, the importanceof this contacthas until recentlybeen
A posthumouspublicationby Schulze indicatesthathe taughthow to dis-
tinguishcopies or fakes fromoriginals.57More important,Schulze's announce-
ment for a seminarhe offered in 1738-39 also indicatesthathe was then teach-
ing how one could learn by experience to situate objects, namely, coins, in
history accordingto the way they look, dating them not merely accordingto
what they depict, or their inscriptions.58Since it is known that Winckelmann
studiedwith him at the time, Schulze thus probablytaughtWinckelmannhow
to date objects on the basis of what we would call their visual style or forms.
This approachto a historyof objectsaccordingto physicalappearanceis similar
to the methodthatWinckelmannwould laterdevelop.Schulzeindeedspecifically
relates his instructionin numismatics not merely to supposedly antiquarian
pursuits;he uses it to constructa historicalscheme like thatWinckelmannwas
later to develop: he says that the study he teaches illuminateshow there is a
decline of arts in restless and sufferingtimes and how they have soon recov-
eredin peacefultimes thereafter.It is furtherinterestingto note thatthese points
are also anticipatedby Sandrart,just as his treatmentof medals also antedates
By the 1740s, when Winckelmannleft Halle to begin his own careeras a
scholar, the term "history of art" (or art history, Geschichte der Kunst or
Kunstgeschichte)had also become currentin the Germanlanguage,not just in
Frenchand English texts mentionedby Winckelmann.Winckelmannadmitted

55 Cf. Bickendorf,loc. cit., who notes that the

reprintingof Wilthelm'swork in Thesaurus
Diptychorum(Rome, 1759) made this "weitgehendvergessene Text" accessible again to the
republic of letters. The existence of treatmentsof ivories in German dissertations,however,
suggests thatthe text was known in the earliereighteenthcenturyin Germany.
56Justi, Winckelmannundseine Zeitgenossen(Leipzig, 18982),52-54, andKaufmann,"An-
tiquarianConnoisseurshipand Art History";and for Baumgartenand Winckelmannsee Dilly,
"1738: Versune topographiede la notion d'art."
AnleitungzuralternMunzwisssenschaft worindie dazugeh6rigen
Schriftenbeurtheiletund die Alterthiimerau Miinzenerleutertwerden (Halle, 1766).
58 Schulze,
Einladungs-Schriftzu einem Collegio Privato iiberdie Muntz-Wissenschaftund
die daraus erlaiiterndeGriechischeund R6mischeAlterthiimer(Halle, 1738).
538 ThomasDaCosta Kaufmann

that the term existed in foreign-languagetitles, which he criticized as being

merelyhistoriesof artists,but in fact muchbeforehim the wordKunstgeschichte
was alreadybeing used in Germanpublicationsin referenceto historicalstud-
ies of objects. The term had been employed for the title of a periodical,
Geschichteder Natur und der Kunstthat had been publishedin Breslau (now
Wroclaw)between 1717 and 1720, in which there appearseveral mentions of
paintingandporcelainproductionandan accountof the installationof theKunst-
und Naturalien-Cabinettin Dresden.59A periodical of the later 1740s, Neue
VersuchenutzlichenSammlungenzu der Natur-undKunstgeschichte,contains
accountsof artisticinventions,archivalstudies of some importantartists,such
as the architectGiovanni MariaNosseni, and essays on "Gothic"altarpieces,
such as thatnow attributedto MasterHW (HansWitten?)in Ehrenfriedersdorf
near Leipzig.60Anotherbook of the late 1740s employing the title "historyof
arts"also treatsthe history of the visual arts as partof a history of all the arts
and sciences.61
At approximatelythe same time in Leipzig, then the publishingcapital of
Germany,commercialcenterof Saxony,and site of a majoruniversity,another
comparativelywell known authorwith whose workWinckelmannwas familiar
was also writing explicitly about a history of art as a history of genres or ob-
jects. This is JohannFriedrichChrist.It has long been known that earlierthan
Winckelmann,JohannFriedrichChristenvisioned what he called a history of
paintingbased on the studyof objects, includingpictures,prints,anddrawings;
Christ's history was also to be organized according to style periods, as
Winckelmann'swas later.62Christ constructedthe life of Lucas Cranachhe
publishedin 1726 not only on the basis of earlierbiographies,but throughthe
study of archival informationand of paintings that he had actually seen and
describes.Christsays thathis biographyof Cranachwas conceived not as part
of a series of artists'lives, but as an introductionto what was to be a historyof
painting. Although this work was never completed, Christ's statementindi-
cates thatlike Winckelmannhe specifically distinguishedbetween a historyof

59Geschichteder Natur und Kunst. Sammlungvon Natur- und Medicin. Wieauch hierzu
geh6rigen Kunstund Literatur-Geschichten,e.g., on the manufactureof paint (1718), 730.
60Neue Versuchenutzlicher
Sammlungenzu der Natur- und Kunst-geschichtesonderlich
von Obersachsen,Schneeberg,1747ff. See, forexample,"Sammlungvon NeuenNaturundKunst-
Erfindungen,und andem Kunst-Stiicken,"Neue Versuche,6 (1749), 493ff; "KurtzeNachricht,
von dem Leben, des beriihmtenJohannesMariaeNosseni, Churfurstlichen.Sichs Baumeister,"
Neue Versuche, 1 (1747), 25-31; "M. G. F. Millers' Bericht, wegen derer am Altar zu
Ehrenfriedersdorffbefindlichen merckwiirdigenAlterthiimer.Nebst einerFigur,"Neue Versuche,
5 (1748), 371-77.
61Kern-Historiealler Freien Kunstenund Sch6nen Wissenschaften,VomAnfang der Welt,
bis auf unsereZeiten (Leipzig, 1748).
62 See KurtKarl Eberlein,Die deutsche
Litterdrgeschichteder Kunst im 18. Jahrhundert.
Ein Beitrag zur Geschichteder Kunstwissenschaft(Karlsruhe,1919), 14, Waetzoldt,Deutsche
Kunsthistoriker,45ff, and Juliusvon Schlosser,La Letteraturaartistica (Florence, 19673),481,
491, also discussChristas a forerunnerof Winckelmann,andWaetzoldtalso discusseshis method.
Antiquarianism 539

art and a history of artists.This history moreoverwould be organized,Christ

indicates, accordingto a frameworkof schools, thatwere to be arrangedchro-
nologicallyaccordingto a historyof style, againanticipatingwhatWinckelmann
latertried to provide for ancientart.
In Christ'steachingandlaterpublicationsthe objectassumeda centralrole
in his project.While holding a chair as professorof literature,Christregularly
lecturedon aspectsof sculptureandpainting.In his writingshe employedmonu-
ments in variousways to supporthistoricalaccounts.63More significantfor the
constructionof a history of artare Christ'scommentson seals and his publica-
tion on artists' monograms, on which latter subject he published one of the
earliest standardreferenceworks.64Christ'sbook of 1747 on monogramswas
compiled from his observationof original objects, many of them found in the
graphic collection that Christhad accumulatedfor purposes of teaching and
research.The compilation of such a collection and reference text obviously
served the interestsof a connoisseurshipconcernedwith the discriminationof
individualworks.Morethanthat,Christexpresslystatesthathis workon mono-
gramswas meantto provideone of the bases for the constructionof whatwas to
be a history of artbased on epochs, nations, schools, and individualmasters.65
Beginning in the 1740s the architectFriedrichAugust Krubsaciusalso an-
ticipatedWinckelmann'sideas in his own publications.Long ago in his magis-
terial study of Winckelmann and his contemporaries Carl Justi brought
Krubsaciusinto discussions of Winckelmann,66 but the architect'simportance
can be furtherreassessed. Krubsacius'swritings would probably have been
noted by Winckel-mann,because when Winckelmanncame to Dresden in the
mid-1750s, he was a leading figure on the artistic and cultural scene in the
Saxon capital.The most famousbuilding designed by Krubsaciusis the Saxon
Landhaus,formerlya governmentbuildingandnow the museumof the history
of the city of Dresden. In 1755, the year in which Winckelmannpublishedhis
famous Gedankeniiber die Nachahmungin Dresden, Krubsaciuswould have
gained furtherattentionin the city by his appointmentto the position of Saxon
Hofbaumeister,courtarchitect.His opinionswould thereforehave been of con-
sequence for an aspiringyoung critic like Winckelmann.
Four years later, in 1759, Krubsaciuspublished his Gedankenvon dem
Ursprung, Wachstumund Verfallder Verzierungenin den schonen Kiinsten,

See, e.g., NoctiumAcademicarumlibri sive speciminaquattuor(Halle, 1729), e.g. Speci-
men II "quo ex antiquitatequaedammonumentaillustrantur";Imagines Musarum... (Leipzig,
1739); and the posthumously collected Abhandlungen iiber die Litteratur und Kunstwerke
vornemlichdes Altertums(Leipzig, 1776).
64JohannFriedrichChrist,Anzeige undAuslegungder Monogrammisten... (Leipzig, 1747),
page //2; also Phil. Dan. Lippert,Dactylothecae UniversalisSignorumExemplisNitidis Redditae
... (Leipzig, 1755), intro.,x-xi.
Christ,Anzeige undAuslegung,page //4.
Justi, Winckelmannund seine Zeitgenossen,I, 287.
540 ThomasDaCosta Kaufmann
where ideas criticalof certainforms of eighteenth-centurydecorationare to be
found which resemblethe anti-rocococlassicizing remarksof Winckelmann's
own Gedankeniiberdie Nachahmungder griechischen Werke.In his own book
Krubsaciusrepeatsnotionsthathe hadapparentlyalreadyexpressedin the 1740s,
thus independent of and antecedent to Winckelmann. The publication of
Krubsacius'sbook on ornament,even more directly pertinentto questions of
historiography,antedates the appearanceof Winckelmann'sGeschichte der
Kunstdes Altertumsby five years.
Krubsacius'sis the first history of the "decorative"arts.Krubsaciusdeals
primarilywith architecturalornament.While he does mentionindividualarchi-
tects, his accountis primarilyof forms of decorationitself. He tracesthe devel-
opmentof ornamentfrom its origins to the present.Krubsaciuspresentsmate-
rialfoundthroughoutthe world,andoftengives descriptionsof individualmonu-
ments to point up the critiqueexplicit in his history.His descriptionof theArch
of the Goldsmithsin Rome (theArcusArgentarii)as an example of late antique
decadence in design is one characteristicexample of his classicizing history.67
Krubsaciusthus presents a history of objects within an argumentwhose aes-
thetic biases resemblethose of Winckelmann.
More significant, his account also anticipates Winckelmann's history.
Krubsaciuspresentsnot only a critiqueof designs foundin the past as well as in
present-dayEuropebut also a chronologicalaccountof his subjectestablished
aroundthe descriptionof a category of objects that is accommodatedto a his-
torical schema. This is the familiar scheme of origin, rise, and fall. Like
Winckelmann, Krubsacius imposes this pattern onto a universal historical
scheme, one that moreover specifically adopts materials from various lands
and countries,as did Winckelmann.
Krubsaciusalso expressly cites as a source Fischer von Erlach'sEntwurff
einer historischenArchitekturof 1721.68Krubsacius'sallusion to Fischer von
Erlachis important(thoughhardlyunique)as evidence for Fischer's reception
in the eighteenth century.This is an importantindicationthat there seems to
have been an ongoing discussion of historiographyof the artsin the eighteenth
century,in Germanyas elsewhere, that antedatesWinckelmann.Fischer's vi-
sual history of architecturecan thus be considered,indeed was considered,to
have presenteda history of objects thatantedatesWinckelmann's.And Fischer
von Erlachalso leads back to Sandrart.
This essay has discussed but a few figures active in the German-speaking
world, familiar as well as little known, who antedateWinckelmannin their
contributionsto the historiographyof art. Many other writers who anticipate
aspects of the approachto the study of objects in a historical mannerthat is
Gedankenvon dem Ursprung, Wachstumund Verfallder Verzierungenin den sch6nen
Kilnsten(Leipzig, 1759), 21.
68Ibid., 15-16.
Antiquarianism 541

associated with Winckelmanncould also be named.69Enough may however

alreadyhave been presentedto suggest that much of the novelty attributedto
Winckelmannis actuallyenvisionedby earlierfigures.The evidence presented
here also suggests that a revision of interpretationswhich hypothesize a rup-
ture between the supposedly modem pursuitsof the eighteenth century,spe-
cifically its presumedrevolutionin historiography,and earlierforms of schol-
arship,includingantiquarianismand encyclopedism,is in order.70
What then was distinctive about Winckelmann'saccomplishment?Like
many other apparentinnovators,he created an attractivecombinationout of
alreadyexistingconceptsandmethods.He provideduseful compendiaof monu-
ments and objects. He offered a comprehensiveaccount that connected them
by historicalnarrativein a universalframework(accordingto the standardsof
the time). He set his discussion of monumentsand objects underthe rubricof
art,accordingto the redefinitionof the artisticand the aesthetic,as effected in
the eighteenthcenturyby such thinkersas the Abbe Dubos and Baumgarten,
with whose work he was familiar.The power of Winckelmann'swriting, espe-
cially in the vernacular,in comparisonwith otherwriterson similartopics has
also often been acknowledged,andit would seem thathis eloquencewas some-
thing else that made his approachaccessible. The combinationof these fea-
tures, ratherthan the originality of many of his ideas about historiography,
especially in regard to method or treatmentof subject matter,is among the
elements which make Winckelmanndistinctive.
In any event, Winckelmanncame on the scene at a moment that had been
well preparedfor him in Germanyas elsewhere. This circumstancealso helps
account for the generally favorablereceptionhis writings received in his own
time, andthatas a consequenceestablishedhis fame in laterages. It is therefore
not a postmoder urge to deny Winckelmannauthorialoriginalitybut a desire
to offer a fuller and more balanced story that calls attentionto the need for
furtherreconsiderationof the significance of the so-called antiquariantradi-
tion. Suchreconsiderationnot only helps fill in a chapterin the historyof schol-
arship but creates a firmer foundationon which his own contributionto the
origins of discussions of the history of art,and more generallyto the supposed
eighteenth-centuryrevolutionin historiography,can be assessed.


69 "BeforeWinckelmann:Towardsthe
Origins of the History of Art."
70See HenningWrede,"DieEntstehungderArchaologieunddas Einsetzenderneuzeitlichen
in Geschichtdiskurs,2, AnfdngemodernenhistorischenDenkens, ed.
WolfgangKiittler,Jom Riisen, and ErnstSchulin (Frankfurta. M., 1994), 95-119.

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