A critical rethinking of the way canons are defined, constructed, dismantled, and revised. A century ago, all art was evaluated through the lens of European classicism and its tradition. This volume explores the foundations of the European canon, offers a critical rethinking of ancient and classical art, and interrogates the canons of cultures that have often been left at the margins of art history. It underscores the historical and geographical diversity of canons and the local values underlying them.
Twelve international scholars consider how canons are constructed and contested, focusing on the relationship between canonical objects and the value systems that shape their hierarchies. Deploying an array of methodologies—including archaeological investigations, visual analysis, and literary critique—the authors examine canon formation throughout the world, including Africa, India, East Asia, Mesoamerica, South America, ancient Egypt, classical Greece, and Europe. Global studies of art, which are dismantling the traditionally Eurocentric canon, promise to make art history more inclusive. But enduring canons cannot be dismissed. This volume raises new questions about the importance of canons—including those from outside Europe—for the wider discipline of art history.
Larry Silver is the Farquhar Professor, emeritus, of Art History at the University of Pennsylvania. Kevin Terraciano is professor of history and director of the Latin American Institute at the University of California, Los Angeles, and cofounder of the Getty Research Institute’s Digital Florentine Codex project.
“The concept of ‘the canon’ has long been a presence in the history of art and related disciplines in the Humanities. In recent years, questioning or dismissing ‘the canon’ has become an inescapable trope in many art historical and visual culture contexts, and this has been useful and thought provoking. The deep value of the essays gathered together by Silver and Terraciano, however, lies precisely in the extent to which they collectively complicate and problematize any future discussion of the term, its many frames of reference, its sources, histories, and purposes. This is critical given how frequently verbal sallies against ‘the canon’ are made both without reference to the complexities of what has been comprehended by the term, as if it were simple, unchanging and transparent, and as a substitute for thoughtful and necessary discussions about it. This is an essential volume for anyone interested art history, theory and criticism, and related fields.” --Joanne Pillsbury, The Metropolitan Museum of Art
“Canons and Values: Ancient to Modern offers an exciting mix of senior and new voices to challenge the traditional concept of the artistic canon as a stable system of values. With essays that collectively span a broad geographic and temporal range and approach the subject from many different perspectives, this volume importantly foregrounds the multiplicity of canons and their fundamental cultural dependency. Its global view points to the future of art history.”
—Elizabeth Hill Boone, Martha and Donald Robertson Chair of Latin American Art, Tulane University
“In the edited collection Canons and Values: Ancient to Modern, Larry Silver and Kevin Terraciano carried out significant research directions for the re-evaluations of traditions meant to reassess and reinforce the cultural heritage of the past.”
Sign up to the Yale newsletter for book news, offers, free extracts and more
Strictly Necessary Cookies
Strictly Necessary Cookie should be enabled at all times so that we can save your preferences for cookie settings.
If you disable this cookie, we will not be able to save your preferences. This means that every time you visit this website you will need to enable or disable cookies again.