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I always believe that the best and most original scholarship is done on the boundary of a discipline eg where history meets art history, or where politics meets literature.

Having said that, it was almost impossible to find a supervisor for my master's thesis back in the 1970s. The History Department thought that history was what was found in documents, not in wanky objects like paintings, sculptures, pieces of architecture or smalls (eg textiles, silverware, treen etc). The Art History Department didn't mind me using court records, letters, government reports etc, but they didn't have the number of students or the finances to share a master's student with another department.

I wonder if university departments have broadened their thinking since.

H Niyazi

I must admit, I have always favoured pieces on art history that are presented in a strong historical context - this is why I prefer Schama, AGD and Wal Januszczak to commentaries by 'Critic' types like my over-eating compatriot Mr Robert Hughes.

I'm also becoming increasingly aware of classicists being nonplussed by the Renaissance. Where Vasari and Burckhardt insist that Ancient Rome was being reinvented, classicists such as Bettany Hughes call the Renaissance for what it is - an often inaccurate appropriation of Pagan symbolism to suit 15th Century personal and political aims. The fact that these juggernauts happened to have some unique image makers along for the ride was just a wonderful stroke of luck for having their names and faces forever immortalised rather than swept aside in the ever flowing current of history.

@Hels... I doubt it has changed. When it comes to the study of Humanities, cross departmental collaboration is not seen as viable. There are likely financial and political forces at play, but I'm glad we don't have that type of separation in the Sciences.

Kind Regards

Art History Today


I'd have to agree with H about the unlikeliness of working across disciplines on a humanities postgraduate course.

H- It seems to be the high profile media types who want to re-evaluate the renaissance. In renaissance art history, that esotericism centred on pagan mythology/rituals still prevails.

I wouldn't mind working with historians on art historical problems. In recent work on POussin, I got away from the pictures towards the historical tissue- documents, contracts, wills etc. So I think I do have one foot in the historical studies camp despite my training as an art historian.



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