The arena in which a buyer seeks to acquire, either directly or through an agent, a particular work of art for reasons of aesthetics, connoisseurship, investment, or speculation. The historical beginnings of the art market lie in patronage. With the growth of Collecting for aesthetic and worldly motives rather than religious ones came a corresponding growth in dealing, with the dealer acting as middleman as the number of artists and collectors increased and spread geographically. The dealer, often an artist, discovered and promoted other artists and persuaded collectors to buy at a price determined by him. His role was strengthened by the 16th-century distinction between artist and artisan and the concept of a Masterpiece. This precept, allied to a growing antiquarian interest, reinforced the position of the dealer as arbiter of taste, and his status was further enhanced as great collections were amassed and disposed of in the 16th and 17th centuries. During this period collecting became popular with the middle classes and the art market expanded accordingly; the sale of art by ...
revised by Natasha Degen
(b Dysart Castle, Kilkenny, March 12, 1685; d Oxford, Jan 14, 1753).
Irish bishop, philosopher, writer, collector, and traveller of English descent. He established the basis of his reputation as a philosopher while still a Fellow of Trinity College, Dublin, with An Essay towards a New Theory of Vision (Dublin, 1709) and the Principles of Human Knowledge (Dublin, 1710), in which he introduced his theory that material reality exists only in as much as it can be perceived by the mind, and that God is the omnipresent perceiver and the originator of our sense experiences. Early in 1713 he visited England. There he met the writers Joseph Addison, Jonathan Swift, and Alexander Pope; with their help and encouragement, by October he had arranged to travel as chaplain to Charles Mordaunt, 3rd Earl of Peterborough on his embassy to Sicily; but Berkeley only reached Tuscany on this occasion. He returned to Italy in 1716, however, as tutor to St George Ashe, son of the Bishop of Clogher. Over the next four years Berkeley conducted his frail pupil on what was an exceptionally extensive (and intensive) Italian tour for the time. Though underestimated in the history of aesthetics, Berkeley’s value to art history lies largely in what he recorded in his travel journals and letters home from Italy. Cumulatively these represent a fascinating landmark in the history of taste and indicate how successfully a truly independent mind can resist the pressure to conform to contemporary opinion. In early ...
Michelle P. Brown
(b Brighton, July 16, 1867; d Kew, May 1, 1962).
English museum curator and collector. He was the son of a coal merchant and in 1884 joined the family firm, where he remained until the end of 1891. He had early on been attracted by the aesthetics and politics of the Arts and Crafts Movement and the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood, and had met and assisted such figures as John Ruskin, William Morris and Octavia Hill (1838–1912). His role as secretary to the Kelmscott Press (1892–8) fostered a particular love of books. From 1900 to 1904 he was in partnership with the process-engraver Sir Emery Walker (1851–1933). As a private collector of printed books and manuscripts and as director (1908–37) of the Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge, Cockerell was responsible for developing this area of study, as well as other aspects of medieval and Renaissance art. In 1908 he organized the first major exhibition of illuminated manuscripts at the Burlington Fine Arts Club, also editing the catalogue. He subsequently published a number of scholarly works. As both a curator and a collector of manuscripts he did much to influence British bibliophily, ranking alongside the bibliophiles Eric Millar and Henry Yates Thompson (...
Act of assembling groups of objects. Any account of collecting works of art has to cover a very wide field of enquiry. Its history is often obscure and complicated, and many issues such as aesthetics, finance, psychology, and indeed the definition of the phenomenon must also be considered, including how culturally widespread collecting is. It can be identified in most of the great civilizations throughout history, from China and Japan to the Islamic and Western worlds, and in each instance there are many features in common. Although some of the general points made in this article apply to all forms of collecting, it concentrates on the example provided by the West. Collecting in other civilizations is discussed under the appropriate geographic or cultural headings. There are also sections discussing collecting in most modern country surveys.
In any discussion of collecting, one of the first problems to be dealt with is that of evidence: what did a particular collection contain, when, and where? Most collections, however painstakingly built up, are dispersed after the death of the collector, sometimes in spite of the conditions of a bequest. The important collection of paintings and sculpture of ...
Enrico Castelnuovo, Jaynie Anderson, Stephen B. Little, Christine M. E. Guth, S. N. Chaturvedi, and Anna Tummers
Term given to the technique or art of recognizing works of art. In the Western world this particularly involves the evaluation, distinction, and appreciation of the work’s quality and, above all, the ability to determine the time and place of its execution and, as far as possible, the identity of the artist. A lack of signatures, precise documentation, and other information concerning most figurative works has meant that the establishment and development of criteria and classification and thus the practice of attribution have been highly dependent on the development of collecting and of an art market. Connoisseurship is not an exclusively Western phenomenon, however: it has evolved alongside the development of collections of art in such countries as China, where the role of the connoisseur was established as early as the Bronze Age.
In the earliest literature on the history and appreciation of art, dating to Classical times and then the Renaissance (...
(b London, Feb 26, 1670/1; d Naples, Feb 15, 1713).
English philosopher, aesthetician and patron. Shaftesbury has been described as the first great aesthetician that England produced, and his writings were both original and influential. His education was entrusted to the philosopher John Locke, who had him instructed in Greek and Latin from an early age. So quickly and thoroughly did he learn these languages that by the age of 11 he could read and discuss the Classics, an interest he was always to maintain. During his three years of travel in Holland, France and Italy he learnt French and developed his taste for modern and Classical sculpture, architecture, painting and music. He served in Parliament for three years and succeeded to the earldom and a seat in the House of Lords in 1699. Shaftesbury’s interest in art and aesthetics developed considerably in his final years, after he moved to Naples for his health in 1711.
Shaftesbury’s dialogues, letters and miscellany do not form a systematic doctrine, for he despised philosophical systems; rather they stand as elegantly composed and passionate topical essays. His posthumously published treatises on art, ...
(b Freiberg, Moravia [now Příbor, Czech Republic], May 6, 1856; d London, Sept 23, 1939).
Austrian psychoanalyst and collector. After studying at the University of Vienna and working first in histology, then in neurology, he spent the winter of 1885–6 in the clinic of the great French pathologist, Jean-Martin Charcot (1825–93). From Charcot Freud learnt that every hysterical symptom is ideogenic, in other words an idea plays a crucial part in its genesis. The bodily extent of the symptom corresponds not to any neuro-physiological unit but to what the idea denotes, and the symptom may be alleviated through talking out the idea, for example under hypnosis. The pathogenic idea is invariably unconscious, or inaccessible to consciousness. Over the years Freud, while maintaining a clinical practice in Vienna, elaborated and transformed this hypothesis, and out of it psychoanalytic theory emerged.
First, Freud extended the scope of the hypothesis from symptoms to bungled actions, slips of the tongue, dreams, jokes, and eventually the neurosis. Secondly, he recognized that the idea, originally held to be the core of a memory, represented a desire. Thirdly, Freud concluded that the idea was unconscious because the mind had defended itself against something unacceptable. For many years he equated defence with repression but he then admitted other mechanisms of defence, such as projection, introjection, denial and splitting. Fourthly, Freud identified the desires that provoked repression as being, ultimately, infantile and sexual. Having conceded infantile sexuality he gradually worked out an account of psychosexual development, consisting of the oral, anal, phallic and genital stages, complicated by regression. Freud’s theory of the ‘Oedipus complex’, a crucial occurrence in this development, postulated that the child, seeking the undivided sexual attentions of one parent, comes to desire the annihilation of the other, and its ‘dissolution’ through the introjection of the hated, hence feared, parent, led to a greater attention to the structure and internal functioning of the mind. In ...
(b Wormsley Grange, Hereford & Worcs, Feb 11, 1751; d London, April 23, 1824).
English writer, connoisseur and collector (see fig.). He was the son of a clergyman from a wealthy dynasty of iron-masters. His father died in 1764, and shortly afterwards he inherited a considerable estate from his uncle, which ensured his financial independence. He was a sickly child and was educated at home, becoming well versed in Classical history, Latin and Greek. In 1772 he travelled in France and Italy and was abroad again in 1776, touring Switzerland with the landscape painter John Robert Cozens. The following year he travelled to Sicily on an archaeological expedition taking with him the painters Philipp Hackert and his pupil, the amateur artist Charles Gore (1729–1807). Knight kept a detailed journal (Weimar, Goethe- & Schiller-Archv) illustrated by his companions and on his return to England commissioned Cozens and Thomas Hearne to paint watercolours (London, BM) from Hackert’s and Gore’s sketches (London, BM). It seems probable that the journal was intended for publication and that the expedition may have had an entrepreneurial aspect, as archaeology was a fashionable subject and the Sicilian sites largely unexplored....
(b Banaras [now Varanasi], Nov 7, 1892; d 1980).
Indian collector and writer. He is best known for his monumental collection of Indian art at the Bharat Kala Bhavan in Varanasi. Every piece reflects his highly developed sense of aesthetics, discriminating taste and in-born connoisseurship. The collection spans a very wide range of Indian art and (mainly Hindi literary) documents, local culture etc. Rai Krishnadasa’s early career was as a Hindi author, but he motivated Moti Chandra, Anand Krishna, N. C. Mehta and others in the study of Indian painting and introduced many of them to Indian art in general. Such art historians as William George Archer and Mildred Archer (see Archer family §(1)) took up laconic statements made in Bharat Ki Chitrakala. Later scholars, such as Stuart Cary Welch, Robert Skelton, Milo C. Beach and Wladimir Zwalf, drew inspiration from him. Rai Krishnadasa was the first to establish that Hamza cloth painting originated under Akbar (...
Jeffrey Abt, Katherine Stadtmiller, and Helen Searing
Institution primarily for the preservation, display, and study of works of cultural interest, but increasingly characterized by a broader range of social functions. The origins of the modern museum can be traced to Classical times. It was only after the Renaissance, however, that it came to be regarded as a vital public institution. Although museum history has traditionally been surveyed in the context of the history of Collecting and of the temporary Exhibition, the substantial growth in knowledge of each topic warrants their separate treatment. Architecturally, this institutional history has been accompanied by the development of an important building type. More detailed studies of major individual museums may be found under the headings for the cities in which they are located, while national historical overviews are contained within country and regional survey articles.
Jeffrey Abt, revised by Katherine Stadtmiller
Mouseion (Gr.), the etymological root of ‘museum’, was the term for ...
(b Plympton, Devon, July 16, 1723; d London, Feb 23, 1792).
English painter, collector and writer. The foremost portrait painter in England in the 18th century, he transformed early Georgian portraiture by greatly enlarging its range. His poses, frequently based on the Old Masters or antique sculpture, were intended to invoke classical values and to enhance the dignity of his sitters. His rich colour, strong lighting and free handling of paint greatly influenced the generation of Thomas Lawrence and Henry Raeburn. His history and fancy pictures explored dramatic and emotional themes that became increasingly popular with both artists and collectors in the Romantic period. As first president of the Royal Academy in London, he did more than anyone to raise the status of art and artists in Britain. His Discourses on Art, delivered to the students and members of the Academy between 1769 and 1790, are the most eloquent and widely respected body of art criticism by any English writer.
Although Reynolds’s father, a fellow of Balliol College, Oxford, and master of Plympton Grammar School, had intended that his son train as an apothecary, Joshua chose instead to seek fame as a painter. In ...
(b London, Feb 8, 1819; d Brantwood, Cumbria, Jan 20, 1900).
English writer, draughtsman, painter and collector. He was one of the most influential voices in the art world of the 19th century. His early writings, eloquent in their advocation of J(oseph) M(allord) W(illiam) Turner and Pre-Raphaelitism and their enthusiasm for medieval Gothic, had a major impact on contemporary views of painting and architecture. His later and more controversial works focused attention on the relation between art and politics and were bitter in their condemnation of what he saw as the mechanistic materialism of his age.
Ruskin was the only child of prosperous Scottish parents living in London: his father was a wine merchant, his mother a spirited Evangelical devoted to her husband and son. Ruskin had a sequestered but happy childhood. He became an accomplished draughtsman (taught by Copley Fielding and James Duffield Harding) and acquired, through engravings encountered in Samuel Rogers’s poem Italy (1830), an early enthusiasm for Turner’s art. He was also an eager student of natural science, particularly geology. He travelled with his parents, seeing Venice for the first time in ...