Christopher S. Wood: Gombrich on the Pleasures and Perils of Circular Thinking

organized by Villa I Tatti – The Harvard University Center for Italian Renaissance Studies and the research group Rinascimento conteso of the Kunsthistorisches Institut in Florenz – Max Planck Institut

The Renaissance is a historiographical fable of the nineteenth century. Twentieth-century art history was shaped by various forms of dissatisfaction with the patterns and priorities it imposed. Few scholars, however, grasped the unresolved tension within the concept of Renaissance between an affirmative unrest (rebirth, a beginning) and the promise of closure through integration (the classic, an endpoint). Ernst Gombrich, unable to resist entering this conceptual whirlpool, produced the most ambiguous and radical account of the significance of Renaissance art, perhaps the only version we have that finally breaks with the nineteenth century.


Christopher Wood is Professor and Chair of the Department of German at New York University. From 1992 until 2014 he taught in the Department of History of Art at Yale University. At Harvard University he was a Jacob Wendell Scholar and a Junior Fellow of the Harvard Society of Fellows. In 2002 he was awarded a John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship and a NEH Rome Prize Fellowship to the American Academy in Rome. In fall 2004 he was Ellen Maria Gorrissen Fellow at the American Academy in Berlin. In 2011-12 he was a Member of the School for Historical Studies of the Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton; and a Senior Fellow at the Internationales Forschungszentrum Kulturwissenschaften, Vienna. He is a Member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

20 March 2017, 6:00pm

Istituto degli Innocenti

Sala Brunelleschi
Piazza della Santissima Annunziata
50121 Firenze


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