The Art Bulletin, December 2014

Posted in journal articles, reviews by Editor on January 31, 2015

The eighteenth century in The Art Bulletin:

The Art Bulletin 96 (December 2014)


• Cheng-hua Wang, “Whither Art History? A Global Perspective on Eighteenth-Century Chinese Art and Visual Culture,” pp. 379–94.


The Chang Gate (left), 1734, and Three Hundred and Sixty Trades (right), woodblock prints produced in Suzhou, ink and colors on paper; each is 43 x 22 inches (Hiroshima: Umi-Mori Art Museum)

Here, I endeavor to engage the global turn by exploring the connectedness of the world in art that drew China and Europe together in the eighteenth century. My main purpose is to highlight the new scholarship on the art and visual culture of the High Qing dynasty (ca. 1680s–1795). These recent studies reveal that the extent to which the globalized situation was engaged in the art production of the High Qing court and local societies far exceeds previous expectations. Notwithstanding the revered legacy of traditional research on Sino-European artistic interactions of the early modern period, it did not pay much attention to the multiple routes, channels, and contact zones within a global context, nor did it make in-depth explorations into the agency of the Qing emperors, painters, printmakers, and consumers on the issue of how Qing art adopted European styles. Consequently, these new lines of thought have, on the one hand, increased the importance of the comparatively marginal subfield of early modern Sino-European artistic interactions in the studies of Chinese art and, on the other, generated a major revision—not merely a fine-tuning—of the dominant narrative of High Qing art and visual culture (379) . . .

• Nóra Veszprémi, “The Emptiness behind the Mask: The Second Rococo in Painting in Austria and Hungary,” pp. 441–62.


József Borsos, The Morning after the Masquerade (Girls after the Ball) 1850 (Budapest, Hungarian National Gallery)

At the time of its revival in mid-nineteenth-century Austria, the Rococo style was suffused with often contradictory meanings. Regarded as both outdated and fashionable, Austrian and French, simple and pompous, superficial and full of spiritual value, it prompted musings on time, history, and national identity. Closely connected to both the decorative arts and the imagery of popular prints, paintings of the Rococo revival often evoked contemporary concerns about the commodification of art in the industrialized modern world. The ambiguous responses engendered by the Rococo gained special significance in the context of the political tension between Austria and Hungary.


• Rebecca Zorach, Review of Andrea Feeser, Maureen Daly Goggin, and Beth Fowkes Tobin, eds., The Materiality of Color: The Production, Circulation, and Application of Dyes and Pigments, 1400–1800 (Ashgate, 2012); and Jeffrey Jerome Cohen, ed., Prismatic Ecology: Ecotheory beyond Green (University of Minnesota Press, 2013), pp. 489–91.

• Brian Kane, Review of Whitney Davis, A General Theory of Visual Culture (Princeton University Press, 2011), pp. 491–93.

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