Birth of a New Discipline. Weitzann, Toesca, Salmi: The Path Splits

Massimo Bernab˛
Birth of a New Discipline. Weitzann, Toesca, Salmi:
The Path Splits
The article deals with the origins of the methodological
divergences between the approach to book illumination
which prevailed particularly in German, American, and
French studies and, in contrast, the Italian approach. On
one side, the German archaeologists and art historians
Otto Jahn, Carl Robert, and, later, Adolf Goldschmidt
prepared the grounds for studying miniatures as text illustrations,
by investigating the Tabulae Iliacae and Odysseace,
the Homeric bowls and the Medieval manuscripts
of Terence and other classical authors. Their methodology
was adopted in the University of Princeton by Charles
R. Morey and Albert M. Friend and was codified by the
German art historian Kurt Weitzmann when he moved to
the United States and published Illustrations in Roll and
Codex in 1947. On the other side, Italian studies in book
illumination were dominated by a formalistic approach,
which was rooted in Croce's aesthetics. After the end of
the Second World War, Italian art historian Mario Salmi
promoted an exclusively stylistic approach to miniatures,
when he organized the Mostra Storica Nazionale della
Miniatura (1953-1954), published the Storia della miniatura
italiana (1955), and edited the facsimile volume of
the Syriac Rabbula Gospels in the Biblioteca Medicea
Laurenziana in Florence (1959). Nevertheless, a number
of Italian art historians (as Pietro Toesca and Carlo Bertelli)
strongly disagreed with Salmi.


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Massimo Bernab˛ Birth of a New Discipline. Weitzann, Toesca, Salmi: The Path Splits
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