On Connoisseurship, Art History, Infrastructure Conditionality





connoisseurship, art history, infrastructural conditionality, educational institution, academy


The text attempts to define the concept of connoisseurship («mysteztvoznavstvo») as both identified with and opposed to art history. Both categories are interdependent: a connoisseur produces knowledge, and an art historian reproduces and tests it. Here we focus on connoisseurship and art history as educational strategies that secure the reproduction of specialists in the respective fields. If art history is a  part of humanities with its clearly defined methodology and theory, then connoisseurship is a practical branch of knowledge essential to basic education. If the first aims to teach future scholars, the second is aimed at future managers of creative industries: cultural makers, museum workers, curators, etc. Obviously, the use of any educational concepts in local educational institutions is an acquired form of permissions and restrictions, which are censored by systemic self-reproduction, i.e., demonstrates infrastructural conditionality — a set of socio-psychological, political, and economic factors which bring the ideal type into reality. In other words, there is a grounded gap in the integrity of the educational program and its quality in a specific area. Internal institutional life is a kind of gestalt consisting of interests, agreements, competencies, productivity, methodological tradition, and adoption. That is, under certain external factors, the teaching method or subject changes to a balanced form of mutual existence and serves as a tool for self-preservation. At the same time, it activates a problem of the professional distinction between the planes of art history and connoisseurship. The joint opposition claims regression and stagnation in one case and revival and status subordination in the other. The difficulties of overcoming both are demonstrated through particular examples. Ideally art history is the field of production of texts that refer to socio-psychological, aesthetic, artistic, political, and economic contexts. This approach was partially emulated by connoisseurship and shaped its thesaurus.






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How to Cite

On Connoisseurship, Art History, Infrastructure Conditionality. (2023). Text and Image: Essential Problems in Art History, 2(14), 31-38. https://doi.org/10.17721/2519-4801.2022.2.03