Indeed, arguably, it is precisely here that new paradigms are most urgently needed. Does baroque exhalt in the ineradicable character of antagonism? History is too readily mobilized for political ends. Resisting periodization assists in thwarting simple historicism.
Baroque as a non-objectivist mode might explore slippages between appearance and truth, deception and insight. On the other hand, it might reiterate these tropes precisely as a means to halt a rethinking of history and thus also of an opening of a different future. One needs only to consider the usefulness of baroque to the absolutists.
It is, rather, the untapped possibilities within baroque that can now be engaged.
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Baroque brings discrepancy and rupture, not simply harmony: This is not a question of linear time: Fold and scale are already at play and one is enfolded in what one studies: A serious engagement with history as a problem should prevent this from being a simply narcissistic matter. The fold involves the subject within materialist experience, but the matter or materiality extends beyond the subject. Do you use it? What do you see as its principal opportunities and traps?
As I argued there, after four centuries of nonlinear development across multiple boundaries among nations, ethnic groups, historical periods, and disciplines, we have to dispense with the notion of one single baroque, the property of segregated social groups and disciplines. Examples of neobaroque theoretical reconceptualizations of the baroque include: In short, the transhistorical and transcultural continuities of the baroque and neobaroque pose the problem of theorizing emergence and the phenomenon of re-origination.
Dynamic systems are those operating far from equilibrium, which have self-regulating mechanisms, multiple causality, and interactive feedback loops that allow the system to maintain itself in a dynamic state of balance.
Complexity or self-organization theory was first elaborated by chemist Ilya Prigogine and further developed by biologists Humberto Maturana, Francisco Varela, and Stuart Kauffman as well as sociologists such as Niklas Luhmann. For the past year I have been working on a research topic centered on early seventeenth-century Rome that bears directly on the construction of chronological turning points, specifically on the locus classicus for the transition from the Late Renaissance to the baroque in painting.
Soon, however, he directed his patronage to the new modern style exemplified in the work of Pietro da Cortona, whose bravura brushwork and dynamic compositions consisting of voluminous, dramatically foreshortened allegorical personifications and historical figures praising the Barberini family soon decorated the ceiling of the family palace. This shift has been relevant not only for the history of the arts and aesthetics but for studies on culture in general. Reasoning through anachronisms, and pointing out common forms and devices in objects pertaining to diverse periods and fields of knowledge, helps to intimately understand Seicento works while at the same time showing how and why they concern us.
That is the path I usually try take in my research about music, between semiotics and theory of arts. Coping with the impossible congruence of authors like Gesualdo, Monteverdi, Frescobaldi, Vivaldi, Bach and Leo without relying upon mere chronological labels late, early, full… does not seem so intriguing to the majority of scholars. Jens Baumgarten and Gabriela Siracusano.
It can be seen from either a historiographical or a theoretical or conceptual perspective.
This includes a distinct meaning of the term itself and its cultural implications and categories. The label is also important because it is, in our opinion, one of the founding terms of art history as a discipline. When teaching we characterize the baroque as a dazzling notion that everyone seems to agree upon spontaneously but one which, when one is asked to define it, leads to rich discussions and debates. One of my research fields is to analyze the different traditions of the baroque in Europe and Latin America — its differentiations and contradictions.
As for studies regarding the material dimension of Spanish American artistic production, it is worth saying that, although the art of Spanish, native, mestizo and creole artists may have displayed materials and techniques similar to those used on the Old Continent, they applied diverse and original strategies to create images seemingly quite different from those that, over time, came to be understood as baroque in the historiography.
As a seemingly universal stylistic phenomenon that connects the early modern, modern, and contemporary periods, the baroque shall be analyzed as a case and model of the globalization of art and art history. While focusing on Brazil, whose modern cultural identity is founded on the idea of the baroque, the cultural context of the baroque discourse will be extended to the spheres of influence of the early modern Portuguese and Spanish empires.
The exploration of local adaptations of architectural style and national myths of modernity, for example, can also be helpful.
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The transcultural approach to the baroque covers the cross-cultural impact of its style, the intercultural and local differentiation of its forms and meanings, its function as a means of cultural hybridization and amalgamation, and its uses as a means of national identity building.
The transhistorical approach points to the alleged historical transcendence and universality of the baroque style, as established by late nineteenth century art history, and aims at analyzing the ensuing ideological and aesthetic constructions of history in Latin America. The global baroque calls for an interdisciplinary method, including different fields of the humanities and social sciences such as economics and anthropology. This approach can facilitate the reevaluation not only of the relations between Christian colonizers and the indigenous communities, but also between the contemporary scholar and her objects of research, and offers alternative concepts to the dichotomy of center and periphery.
In order to deal with the complexity of a global baroque and avoid the perpetuation of national art-historical traditions and mythologies, it is necessary to compare Latin American baroque, for example, to Asian contexts, and to address the appropriation of the baroque in twentieth- and twenty-first-century art-historical and political discourses. The formation of an artistic system in the Americas and Asia, ensuing from dialogues and clashes between European models and local prescriptions, will be a major point of discussion.
The circulation of art objects, not only between European nations and their colonies, but also among the different colonial settings and between European countries themselves, will be taken into account. In recent years, a wide range of scholarship has re-engaged with the question of baroque and its histories, especially through the work of Walter Benjamin and Gilles Deleuze. How useful is this approach? What are its premises, its promises, and its strengths? What are its weaknesses and its limits? I read Klein alongside scholars from other disciplines such as Rolena Adorno, Inga Clendinnen, John Elliott, James Lockhart, Sabine MacCormack, Anthony Pagden, Eric Wolfe, and the French anthropologist Serge Gruzinski, another important writer for me because his work dealt with partial recovery of the culturally dispossessed at a time when the very different interpretative standards of George Kubler still dominated the art-historical discourse.
Benjamin helped me give voice to what is urgently at stake in the re-writing of art history. To be honest I am not yet familiar with studies in my research field that refer to Benjamin in this sense. Otherwise, if we understand the baroque as an epistemic structure, or a stylistic configuration crossing periods and forms of culture, there are many concepts propounded by Deleuze not only in his book on Leibniz that show an obvious efficacy if projected from the past time when they were created onto the contemporary, the scene of their applicability.
Benjamin views baroque allegory as a critical, de-mystifying mode of insight that shatters the false harmonies of the dominant modern ideology of progress. This is connected to the baroque cult of the ruin: Gabriela Siracusano and Jens Baumgarten. How does one write visually about the Brazilian baroque and the translational processes of theoretical concepts and therefore, implicitly, about the relations to the neobaroque?
And how does one create a baroque canon? In her works on the neobaroque, Ndalianis, a film, art, and cultural historian, compares the media and entertainment culture, especially since the s, with the so-called historical baroque of the seventeenth century. Paraphrasing Henri Focillon, she defines a trans-historical and -cultural baroque, namely a form that has dynamically and constantly shown its presence across the centuries, with varying degrees of intensity.
The moments of greatest intensity are those that interest her most. In her research she works predominantly with two concepts that are related to the trans-cultural concept of the neobaroque: This baroque created a fascination Faszinosum on the level of the cultural discourse as well that of cultural practice. Moser, in his cultural theoretic studies about the neobaroque, advances the hypothesis that the baroque was conceptualized as a rhetorical and aesthetic device puissance that was wielded differently in different media, as well as in distinct technical, political, and socio-economic contexts.
S. GRISWOLD MORLEY, PH. D.
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