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Additional info for Art History and Visual Studies in Europe: Transnational Discourses and National Frameworks
Even those art historians interested more in what we may call the aesthetic aspects or aesthetic value of art would not usually see their task in identifying a list of master models, but rather in describing the specific aesthetic quality of certain works, without indulging too much in questions of ranking. On the other hand, it cannot be disputed that aspects of ranking were and still are of considerable importance in the art world. Ulrich, ‘The Notion and Definition of the Canon’, in McDonald and Sanders, The Canon Debate, 21–35.
One of the first to address the issue was Ernst H. Gombrich. 16 Gombrich’s defence of the canon was directed against those unnamed social scientists (of Marxist persuasion) who, he thought, considered art history to be just another social science, or, at best, an ancilla sociologiae. The most obvious example might have been Arnold Hauser, whose Social History of Art Gombrich had reviewed in its English translation two decades earlier, but he might also have been aware of the interest of a younger generation of scholars who started in these years critically to rethink art history.
Kanon, Macht, Kultur: Theoretische, historische und soziale Aspekte ästhetischer Kanonbildungen (Stuttgart, 1998). 6 The history of the word is given by Herbert Oppel, ‘Kanon. 4 (1937). A thorough discussion of the problem can be found in Jan Assmann, Das kulturelle Gedächtnis: Schrift und politische Identität in frühen Hochkulturen (Munich, 1997) 103–29. See also Herbert Beck and Peter C. , Polyklet: Der Bildhauer der griechischen Klassik. Exhibition Catalogue Liebighaus, Museum alter Plastik Frankfurt am Main (Mainz, 1990); Hans von Steuben, ‘Der Doryphoros und der Kanon Polyklets’, Städel-Jahrbuch 15 (1996) 7–18; Thuri Lorenz, ‘Polyklet: die Geschichte vom “Kanon” ’, in Festschrift für Götz Pochat zum 65.