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TIe SIape oJ Tine BenavIs on lIe Hislov oJ TIings I Oeovge KuIIev

Beviev I FvisciIIa CoIl


Avl JouvnaI, VoI. 23, No. 1 |Aulunn, 1963), pp. 78-79
FuIIisIed I College Art Association
SlaIIe UBL http://www.jstor.org/stable/774651 .
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the most
logical
order. Hence,
we have
long
passed
the
Parthenon,
and the
sculpture
of the
Mausoleum at Halicarnassus has been
put
aside
before it is revealed
(p. 119)
that battles of
Lapiths
and Centaurs, Greeks and Amazons,
are used to
symbolize
Greek victories over the
Persians. The student
busily gleaning
the visi-
ble and invisible characteristics of the
Baroque
is reminded
(p. 411)
that he will "be able
to
analyze
for himself the
profound
difference
between
Baroque
and Mannerism"
by
contrast-
ing
El Greco's Burial
of
Count
Orgaz
in its
chapel
in Toledo with Bernini's Cornaro Cha-
pel.
The alert teacher will
recognize
his cue.
The
expressive aspect
of architecture has
been
fully
stressed. That
form follows fancy
is the
impression
one receives from the sec-
tion which
impressively
delineates the charac-
ter of the Gothic. But
many
will be
disap-
pointed
not to find
any
section whatever of a
Gothic cathedral;
the blank area on
page
232
seems to be
crying
for one. Nor is there
any
diagram
of a
pointed, groined vault, always
so
messy
on the blackboard. Drastic
simplifica-
tion can be blamed for the inference that the
Parthenon was
originally "gleaming
white" and
presumably
still is.
Any
use of color in Greek
architecture remains
unsung.
Admirable indeed is the
policy
of
referring
only
to
examples
which are
illustrated,
but
this can also be a
trap.
The text almost seems
to
say
that the Gero crucifix in
Cologne
of
"c. 975-1000" was influenced
by figure 284,
the crucified Christ at
Daphni, usually
consid-
ered close to 1100 and dated "llth
century"
in
the
caption. Many
teachers
may
wish for a
more noticeable and extensive
chronological
scaffold,
unless
they
are in the habit of fur-
nishing
the class with a
simple syllabus
of un-
adorned facts
anyway.
More serious is the
problem
of Oriental art for those who feel that
it should be
meaningfully
treated in a
survey.
Is there a
paperback
that could be
procured
to fill in this
gap?
These
problems solved,
how-
ever,
it will be a
strong-willed
teacher indeed
who can resist the
temptation
to
try
out this
personable
and well trained
young
contestant
in the tournament of
golden
ideas.
EDWIN C. RAE
University of
Illinois
George
Kubler
The
Shape
of Time: Remarks on the
History
of
Things,
xii
+
136
pp.
New 'Haven: Yale University Press, 1962. $3.75
This
provocative essay
has a dual
aspect.
It
constitutes a
critique
of 20th
Century
art his-
torical
theory
and
methodology;
and it
pro-
poses,
as an
approach
to
remedying
the diffi-
culties discovered therein, a new attack on the
problem
of
describing
art historical
change,
of
delineating
"the
shape
of time." Professor Ku-
bler's studies, especially
in the areas of
Span-
ish architecture and
pre-
and
post-conquest
Latin American
art,
have
equipped
him to deal
knowledgeably
with art historical data. In for-
mulating
this thesis he draws also on archaeo-
logical data,
and in some measure on the his-
tory
of science, glottochronology,
mathematical
concepts
and
philosophical speculation
on the
nature of time. That he should have
paused
in his art historical studies to
develop
so en-
the most
logical
order. Hence,
we have
long
passed
the
Parthenon,
and the
sculpture
of the
Mausoleum at Halicarnassus has been
put
aside
before it is revealed
(p. 119)
that battles of
Lapiths
and Centaurs, Greeks and Amazons,
are used to
symbolize
Greek victories over the
Persians. The student
busily gleaning
the visi-
ble and invisible characteristics of the
Baroque
is reminded
(p. 411)
that he will "be able
to
analyze
for himself the
profound
difference
between
Baroque
and Mannerism"
by
contrast-
ing
El Greco's Burial
of
Count
Orgaz
in its
chapel
in Toledo with Bernini's Cornaro Cha-
pel.
The alert teacher will
recognize
his cue.
The
expressive aspect
of architecture has
been
fully
stressed. That
form follows fancy
is the
impression
one receives from the sec-
tion which
impressively
delineates the charac-
ter of the Gothic. But
many
will be
disap-
pointed
not to find
any
section whatever of a
Gothic cathedral;
the blank area on
page
232
seems to be
crying
for one. Nor is there
any
diagram
of a
pointed, groined vault, always
so
messy
on the blackboard. Drastic
simplifica-
tion can be blamed for the inference that the
Parthenon was
originally "gleaming
white" and
presumably
still is.
Any
use of color in Greek
architecture remains
unsung.
Admirable indeed is the
policy
of
referring
only
to
examples
which are
illustrated,
but
this can also be a
trap.
The text almost seems
to
say
that the Gero crucifix in
Cologne
of
"c. 975-1000" was influenced
by figure 284,
the crucified Christ at
Daphni, usually
consid-
ered close to 1100 and dated "llth
century"
in
the
caption. Many
teachers
may
wish for a
more noticeable and extensive
chronological
scaffold,
unless
they
are in the habit of fur-
nishing
the class with a
simple syllabus
of un-
adorned facts
anyway.
More serious is the
problem
of Oriental art for those who feel that
it should be
meaningfully
treated in a
survey.
Is there a
paperback
that could be
procured
to fill in this
gap?
These
problems solved,
how-
ever,
it will be a
strong-willed
teacher indeed
who can resist the
temptation
to
try
out this
personable
and well trained
young
contestant
in the tournament of
golden
ideas.
EDWIN C. RAE
University of
Illinois
George
Kubler
The
Shape
of Time: Remarks on the
History
of
Things,
xii
+
136
pp.
New 'Haven: Yale University Press, 1962. $3.75
This
provocative essay
has a dual
aspect.
It
constitutes a
critique
of 20th
Century
art his-
torical
theory
and
methodology;
and it
pro-
poses,
as an
approach
to
remedying
the diffi-
culties discovered therein, a new attack on the
problem
of
describing
art historical
change,
of
delineating
"the
shape
of time." Professor Ku-
bler's studies, especially
in the areas of
Span-
ish architecture and
pre-
and
post-conquest
Latin American
art,
have
equipped
him to deal
knowledgeably
with art historical data. In for-
mulating
this thesis he draws also on archaeo-
logical data,
and in some measure on the his-
tory
of science, glottochronology,
mathematical
concepts
and
philosophical speculation
on the
nature of time. That he should have
paused
in his art historical studies to
develop
so en-
compassing
a
theory
marks him as a
rarity
among
his
colleagues.
An acute awareness of
the need for hard
thinking
about the
larger
implications
of our
discipline
reveals itself in
every page
of his book and is one of its chief
values.
Too
briefly
it
may
be noted that Professor
Kubler is critical of:
1)
the
separation
of the
history
of art and the
history
of science and
proposes
that "a
rapprochement
between the
history
of art and the
history
of science can
display
the common traits of
invention, change
and obsolescence that the material works of
artists and scientists both share in
time"; 2)
all
cyclical
theories of cultural
change, espe-
cially
those
using
the
biological metaphor
of
life
stages
because
they
do not account for
the
purposeful
nature of artistic invention; 3)
the
biographical
and narrative
approaches
to
art
history
as
being unproductive
so far as re-
vealing
the most
significant
links between
artistic
productions; 4)
the
severing
of mean-
ing
and form which has resulted in exclusive
attention to the former
by iconologists
and to
morphology
and
style by
the formalists;
and
concomitantly,
and most
radically 5)
the con-
cept
of
style
as a means of classification.
"Style
is like a
rainbow,"
too illusive, ambiguous,
in-
clusive
and,
most
importantly,
static and there-
fore useless once the
object
is "restored to the
flow of time."
To summarize Professor Kubler's thesis is
nearly impossible
since the
essay
itself is more
in the nature of a
summary
than an exhaus-
tive
exposition
of a
very complex
set of
prop-
ositions. Moreover a
summary
cannot
possi-
bly convey
the
elegance
and
subtlety
of his
aesthetically very satisfying presentation.
Never-
theless here are what seem to be its bare bones:
Works of
art,
he
says,
like tools and inven-
tions are
(among
other
things) purposeful
sol-
utions to
problems.
Once the
problem
is iden-
tified, the various solutions
(the
form
class)
reveal themselves as related to one another in
a
temporal sequence
(formal
sequences).
Change
occurs in linked
sequences
or series
(depending
on whether viewed from within or
without, respectively)
and seems to
obey
"the
rule of series" although
interferences from
images
and
meaning may
distort the
process.
Within each
sequence, prime objects
and vast
replica
masses will be discovered. Prime ob-
jects,
described as inventions
possessing prime
traits
comparable
to mutant
genes,
are
capable
of
generating change
and result in a vast
rep-
lica-mass
(copies, variants, etc.)
which also
generate change through
minute variations.
The
propagation
of
things
is carried on
through
invention and
replication
in time. Du-
ration has different rates,
cuts into different
lengths,
and
displays
different kinds of
shapes.
Cultural
history
has
developed
no
adequate
theory
of time, but Professor Kubler
proposes
a distinction between fast and slow
happen-
ing. (Here
he makes valuable observations
about
types
of artistic careers as
they
interre-
late with societal
phases:
the full
range
of
artistic careers can unfold
only
under metro-
politan
conditions "when a wide selection of
active
sequences
is available, resulting
in 'fast
happening'."
At the other extreme slow
hap-
pening
or casual drift occurs in
provincial
or
tribal
settings
where
nonprofessionals
and arti-
sans
engage
in routine and
repetitive actions.)
compassing
a
theory
marks him as a
rarity
among
his
colleagues.
An acute awareness of
the need for hard
thinking
about the
larger
implications
of our
discipline
reveals itself in
every page
of his book and is one of its chief
values.
Too
briefly
it
may
be noted that Professor
Kubler is critical of:
1)
the
separation
of the
history
of art and the
history
of science and
proposes
that "a
rapprochement
between the
history
of art and the
history
of science can
display
the common traits of
invention, change
and obsolescence that the material works of
artists and scientists both share in
time"; 2)
all
cyclical
theories of cultural
change, espe-
cially
those
using
the
biological metaphor
of
life
stages
because
they
do not account for
the
purposeful
nature of artistic invention; 3)
the
biographical
and narrative
approaches
to
art
history
as
being unproductive
so far as re-
vealing
the most
significant
links between
artistic
productions; 4)
the
severing
of mean-
ing
and form which has resulted in exclusive
attention to the former
by iconologists
and to
morphology
and
style by
the formalists;
and
concomitantly,
and most
radically 5)
the con-
cept
of
style
as a means of classification.
"Style
is like a
rainbow,"
too illusive, ambiguous,
in-
clusive
and,
most
importantly,
static and there-
fore useless once the
object
is "restored to the
flow of time."
To summarize Professor Kubler's thesis is
nearly impossible
since the
essay
itself is more
in the nature of a
summary
than an exhaus-
tive
exposition
of a
very complex
set of
prop-
ositions. Moreover a
summary
cannot
possi-
bly convey
the
elegance
and
subtlety
of his
aesthetically very satisfying presentation.
Never-
theless here are what seem to be its bare bones:
Works of
art,
he
says,
like tools and inven-
tions are
(among
other
things) purposeful
sol-
utions to
problems.
Once the
problem
is iden-
tified, the various solutions
(the
form
class)
reveal themselves as related to one another in
a
temporal sequence
(formal
sequences).
Change
occurs in linked
sequences
or series
(depending
on whether viewed from within or
without, respectively)
and seems to
obey
"the
rule of series" although
interferences from
images
and
meaning may
distort the
process.
Within each
sequence, prime objects
and vast
replica
masses will be discovered. Prime ob-
jects,
described as inventions
possessing prime
traits
comparable
to mutant
genes,
are
capable
of
generating change
and result in a vast
rep-
lica-mass
(copies, variants, etc.)
which also
generate change through
minute variations.
The
propagation
of
things
is carried on
through
invention and
replication
in time. Du-
ration has different rates,
cuts into different
lengths,
and
displays
different kinds of
shapes.
Cultural
history
has
developed
no
adequate
theory
of time, but Professor Kubler
proposes
a distinction between fast and slow
happen-
ing. (Here
he makes valuable observations
about
types
of artistic careers as
they
interre-
late with societal
phases:
the full
range
of
artistic careers can unfold
only
under metro-
politan
conditions "when a wide selection of
active
sequences
is available, resulting
in 'fast
happening'."
At the other extreme slow
hap-
pening
or casual drift occurs in
provincial
or
tribal
settings
where
nonprofessionals
and arti-
sans
engage
in routine and
repetitive actions.)
A
description
of some of the
shapes
of
duration
(the morphology
of
duration)
fol-
lows. Continuous classes, arrested
classes,
ex-
tended
series, wandering series, guided
and
self-determining sequences
are some of the
varieties elaborated.
A crucial
aspect
of Professor Kubler's thesis
lies in his
conception
of the coexistence of
several formal
sequences
within one
object
and, it
follows,
within a
given present.
Each
may
have a different
systematic age. (System-
atic
age,
as
opposed
to absolute
age,
is de-
termined
by position early
or late in a formal
sequence.)
A
complex
form such as a
cathedral,
for
example,
will contain traits
belonging
to
different
sequences
and
having
different
sys-
tematic
ages.
Indeed
"every thing
is a com-
plex having
not
only
traits each with a dif-
ferent
systematic age,
but
having
also clusters
of
traits,
or
aspects,
each with its own
age,
like
any
other
organization
of
matter,
such as
a
mammal,
of which the blood and nerves are
of different
biological antiquity
....
There are obvious attractions in this thesis.
To return the
object
to the flow of time
rather than
confining
it to an
arbitrarily
static
category is,
in some
sense, every
conscientious
art historian's concern. To
re-conjoin
content
and form, purpose
and
product, utility
and
aesthetic
desirability,
are essentials to clear
thinking
about
objects
of art with which no
one should
quarrel.
The notion of
systematic
age
and the coexistence of traits or trait clus-
ters of
differing systematic ages
within a
single
object and,
in
greater complexity,
within a
given now, is a needed antidote to
currently
popular
"theories" of a unilinear
progressivism.
The
hope always lurking
between the lines
of Professor Kubler's book is that such a
study
of
change
as his will reveal an inherent struc-
tural
order, some kind of broad
patterns
of
change
which will allow a measure of
pre-
dictability
and control. This kind of
specula-
tion is attractive to the mind which seeks or-
der, and it is well
tempered
in this book
by
cautions that
empirical
evidence must be
given
priority
over theoretical abstractions.
Indeed,
Professor Kubler insists that he bases his
spec-
ulations on observation of
empirical
data.
There is some
ambiguity, however,
in this
regard.
At one
point
one
reads, "Sequence
classing
stresses the internal coherence of
events, all while it shows the
sporadic, unpre-
dictable and
irregular
nature of their occur-
rence,"
while
elsewhere, "The idea of seriation
also
presupposes
a structural order in the se-
quence
of inventions which exists
independ-
ently
of other conditions." But
"symbolic
clusters and visual
images
interfere with the
regular
evolution of the formal
system."
He is
attracted
by
the idea that the
regularity
of
change
in
languages
revealed
by
the branch of
linguistics
called
glottochronology,
is in some
degree paralleled
in the
history
of
things
and
suggests
that the latter lies somewhere between
linguistics
and
general history
as a
potential
predictive
science.
As one
attempts
to envision the
implications
of the thesis
guided by
Professor Kubler's il-
lustrations of its
workings,
some difficulities
arise which can
only
be hinted at here. How
does one
meaningfully identify
an artistic
prob-
lem (and thereby
reconstruct a form
class)
?
Among
the
totally
useless and beautiful
things,
A
description
of some of the
shapes
of
duration
(the morphology
of
duration)
fol-
lows. Continuous classes, arrested
classes,
ex-
tended
series, wandering series, guided
and
self-determining sequences
are some of the
varieties elaborated.
A crucial
aspect
of Professor Kubler's thesis
lies in his
conception
of the coexistence of
several formal
sequences
within one
object
and, it
follows,
within a
given present.
Each
may
have a different
systematic age. (System-
atic
age,
as
opposed
to absolute
age,
is de-
termined
by position early
or late in a formal
sequence.)
A
complex
form such as a
cathedral,
for
example,
will contain traits
belonging
to
different
sequences
and
having
different
sys-
tematic
ages.
Indeed
"every thing
is a com-
plex having
not
only
traits each with a dif-
ferent
systematic age,
but
having
also clusters
of
traits,
or
aspects,
each with its own
age,
like
any
other
organization
of
matter,
such as
a
mammal,
of which the blood and nerves are
of different
biological antiquity
....
There are obvious attractions in this thesis.
To return the
object
to the flow of time
rather than
confining
it to an
arbitrarily
static
category is,
in some
sense, every
conscientious
art historian's concern. To
re-conjoin
content
and form, purpose
and
product, utility
and
aesthetic
desirability,
are essentials to clear
thinking
about
objects
of art with which no
one should
quarrel.
The notion of
systematic
age
and the coexistence of traits or trait clus-
ters of
differing systematic ages
within a
single
object and,
in
greater complexity,
within a
given now, is a needed antidote to
currently
popular
"theories" of a unilinear
progressivism.
The
hope always lurking
between the lines
of Professor Kubler's book is that such a
study
of
change
as his will reveal an inherent struc-
tural
order, some kind of broad
patterns
of
change
which will allow a measure of
pre-
dictability
and control. This kind of
specula-
tion is attractive to the mind which seeks or-
der, and it is well
tempered
in this book
by
cautions that
empirical
evidence must be
given
priority
over theoretical abstractions.
Indeed,
Professor Kubler insists that he bases his
spec-
ulations on observation of
empirical
data.
There is some
ambiguity, however,
in this
regard.
At one
point
one
reads, "Sequence
classing
stresses the internal coherence of
events, all while it shows the
sporadic, unpre-
dictable and
irregular
nature of their occur-
rence,"
while
elsewhere, "The idea of seriation
also
presupposes
a structural order in the se-
quence
of inventions which exists
independ-
ently
of other conditions." But
"symbolic
clusters and visual
images
interfere with the
regular
evolution of the formal
system."
He is
attracted
by
the idea that the
regularity
of
change
in
languages
revealed
by
the branch of
linguistics
called
glottochronology,
is in some
degree paralleled
in the
history
of
things
and
suggests
that the latter lies somewhere between
linguistics
and
general history
as a
potential
predictive
science.
As one
attempts
to envision the
implications
of the thesis
guided by
Professor Kubler's il-
lustrations of its
workings,
some difficulities
arise which can
only
be hinted at here. How
does one
meaningfully identify
an artistic
prob-
lem (and thereby
reconstruct a form
class)
?
Among
the
totally
useless and beautiful
things,
ART JOURNAL XXIII 1 78 ART JOURNAL XXIII 1 78
need and
problem
must be
interpreted
to mean
the mode of
widening perception.
In this
event,
it would seem almost
hopeless
to reconstruct a
form class
except
in terms of traits or trait
clusters. A form class such as "the
portrayal
of
landscape"
which he
says
was the "one
problem"
of Lorrain and
Cezanne,
for ex-
ample,
is established in terms of
image.
But if
meaning
and
image
constitute interferences in
the
patterns
of
change hypothesized,
how can
he then
usefully designate
"the
portrayal
of
landscape"
as a form class?
A further
difficulty,
of which Professor Kub-
ler is
fully aware, lies in
identifying
the
prince
objects
in a series. It is not clear whether his
distinguishing
criterion for a
prime object
is
prime
aesthetic value (he instances the Parthe-
non, "prime"
because if its
many refinements,
and
Raphael's
Vatican
frescoes)
or the
pos-
session of some more
objective
characteristic
(the
"mutant
gene").
And can we reconstruct
a
sequence
in which the
key generators
of
change
are
prime objects
if we cannot find or
identify
these
objects?
Must we not then
again
refer to observable new or
repeated
traits as
they appear
in
temporal sequence?
And if we are reduced to
studying traits, or
clusters of traits wherever
they
occur
(i.e.
in
Professor Kubler's terms in
prime objects, or,
if these are lost to
view,
then in the
replica
mass)
are we not
arriving again
at an histor-
ical
concept very
close to that of
style
in some
of its more refined
interpretations?
And is the
study
of
style necessarily precluded by the
study
of formal
sequences?
Professor Kubler is
mainly concerned, it
seems to me,
with the
problems
of
describing
change
rather than with
explaining
it.
(And
any altering
of the methods at hand for achiev-
ing greater precision
or new truths in that
pursuit
are worth
striving for.) However,
at
many points
in this
fascinating exposition,
he
hints at
possible
answers to the more elusive
questions,
the
why
and how of
change.
Professor Kubler makes
proposals
rather
than
putting
forth adamant claims. It seems
almost certain that his book will evoke fruitful
thinking along productively
new lines.
PRISCILLA COLT
Dayton,
Ohio
Paul S.
Wingert
Primitive Art: Its Traditions and
Style,
xxii
+ 421
pp.,
126 ill.,
2
maps
New York: Oxford
University Press,
1962. $7.50
The name of Paul
Wingert
has
long
been
associated with the serious
study
of the art of
primitive peoples.
In fact within the
discipline
of art
history,
he could
rightly
be considered
as one of America's
major pioneers
in this area
of the visual arts. Such earlier works of his as
American Indian
Art,
A
Study of
the Northwest
Coast
(1949)
and Arts
of
the South
Pacific
Islands
(1953)
have come to be considered as
classics in this all too
neglected
field.
In the
present
work he has
sought
to
present
a broad treatment of the
primitive
art of Afri-
ca, Oceania,
and North America. He has di-
vided his text into three
major parts:
in the
first section,
"Art in the Life of Primitive Peo-
ples," he delves into such
problems
as "The
need and
problem
must be
interpreted
to mean
the mode of
widening perception.
In this
event,
it would seem almost
hopeless
to reconstruct a
form class
except
in terms of traits or trait
clusters. A form class such as "the
portrayal
of
landscape"
which he
says
was the "one
problem"
of Lorrain and
Cezanne,
for ex-
ample,
is established in terms of
image.
But if
meaning
and
image
constitute interferences in
the
patterns
of
change hypothesized,
how can
he then
usefully designate
"the
portrayal
of
landscape"
as a form class?
A further
difficulty,
of which Professor Kub-
ler is
fully aware, lies in
identifying
the
prince
objects
in a series. It is not clear whether his
distinguishing
criterion for a
prime object
is
prime
aesthetic value (he instances the Parthe-
non, "prime"
because if its
many refinements,
and
Raphael's
Vatican
frescoes)
or the
pos-
session of some more
objective
characteristic
(the
"mutant
gene").
And can we reconstruct
a
sequence
in which the
key generators
of
change
are
prime objects
if we cannot find or
identify
these
objects?
Must we not then
again
refer to observable new or
repeated
traits as
they appear
in
temporal sequence?
And if we are reduced to
studying traits, or
clusters of traits wherever
they
occur
(i.e.
in
Professor Kubler's terms in
prime objects, or,
if these are lost to
view,
then in the
replica
mass)
are we not
arriving again
at an histor-
ical
concept very
close to that of
style
in some
of its more refined
interpretations?
And is the
study
of
style necessarily precluded by the
study
of formal
sequences?
Professor Kubler is
mainly concerned, it
seems to me,
with the
problems
of
describing
change
rather than with
explaining
it.
(And
any altering
of the methods at hand for achiev-
ing greater precision
or new truths in that
pursuit
are worth
striving for.) However,
at
many points
in this
fascinating exposition,
he
hints at
possible
answers to the more elusive
questions,
the
why
and how of
change.
Professor Kubler makes
proposals
rather
than
putting
forth adamant claims. It seems
almost certain that his book will evoke fruitful
thinking along productively
new lines.
PRISCILLA COLT
Dayton,
Ohio
Paul S.
Wingert
Primitive Art: Its Traditions and
Style,
xxii
+ 421
pp.,
126 ill.,
2
maps
New York: Oxford
University Press,
1962. $7.50
The name of Paul
Wingert
has
long
been
associated with the serious
study
of the art of
primitive peoples.
In fact within the
discipline
of art
history,
he could
rightly
be considered
as one of America's
major pioneers
in this area
of the visual arts. Such earlier works of his as
American Indian
Art,
A
Study of
the Northwest
Coast
(1949)
and Arts
of
the South
Pacific
Islands
(1953)
have come to be considered as
classics in this all too
neglected
field.
In the
present
work he has
sought
to
present
a broad treatment of the
primitive
art of Afri-
ca, Oceania,
and North America. He has di-
vided his text into three
major parts:
in the
first section,
"Art in the Life of Primitive Peo-
ples," he delves into such
problems
as "The
need and
problem
must be
interpreted
to mean
the mode of
widening perception.
In this
event,
it would seem almost
hopeless
to reconstruct a
form class
except
in terms of traits or trait
clusters. A form class such as "the
portrayal
of
landscape"
which he
says
was the "one
problem"
of Lorrain and
Cezanne,
for ex-
ample,
is established in terms of
image.
But if
meaning
and
image
constitute interferences in
the
patterns
of
change hypothesized,
how can
he then
usefully designate
"the
portrayal
of
landscape"
as a form class?
A further
difficulty,
of which Professor Kub-
ler is
fully aware, lies in
identifying
the
prince
objects
in a series. It is not clear whether his
distinguishing
criterion for a
prime object
is
prime
aesthetic value (he instances the Parthe-
non, "prime"
because if its
many refinements,
and
Raphael's
Vatican
frescoes)
or the
pos-
session of some more
objective
characteristic
(the
"mutant
gene").
And can we reconstruct
a
sequence
in which the
key generators
of
change
are
prime objects
if we cannot find or
identify
these
objects?
Must we not then
again
refer to observable new or
repeated
traits as
they appear
in
temporal sequence?
And if we are reduced to
studying traits, or
clusters of traits wherever
they
occur
(i.e.
in
Professor Kubler's terms in
prime objects, or,
if these are lost to
view,
then in the
replica
mass)
are we not
arriving again
at an histor-
ical
concept very
close to that of
style
in some
of its more refined
interpretations?
And is the
study
of
style necessarily precluded by the
study
of formal
sequences?
Professor Kubler is
mainly concerned, it
seems to me,
with the
problems
of
describing
change
rather than with
explaining
it.
(And
any altering
of the methods at hand for achiev-
ing greater precision
or new truths in that
pursuit
are worth
striving for.) However,
at
many points
in this
fascinating exposition,
he
hints at
possible
answers to the more elusive
questions,
the
why
and how of
change.
Professor Kubler makes
proposals
rather
than
putting
forth adamant claims. It seems
almost certain that his book will evoke fruitful
thinking along productively
new lines.
PRISCILLA COLT
Dayton,
Ohio
Paul S.
Wingert
Primitive Art: Its Traditions and
Style,
xxii
+ 421
pp.,
126 ill.,
2
maps
New York: Oxford
University Press,
1962. $7.50
The name of Paul
Wingert
has
long
been
associated with the serious
study
of the art of
primitive peoples.
In fact within the
discipline
of art
history,
he could
rightly
be considered
as one of America's
major pioneers
in this area
of the visual arts. Such earlier works of his as
American Indian
Art,
A
Study of
the Northwest
Coast
(1949)
and Arts
of
the South
Pacific
Islands
(1953)
have come to be considered as
classics in this all too
neglected
field.
In the
present
work he has
sought
to
present
a broad treatment of the
primitive
art of Afri-
ca, Oceania,
and North America. He has di-
vided his text into three
major parts:
in the
first section,
"Art in the Life of Primitive Peo-
ples," he delves into such
problems
as "The
Artist; His Patron and Public," "The Need
for
Art," "Motivations," "Functions," and
"Meaning."
Under the title of "Artistic Tra-
ditions and
Styles"
he then considers the art
of
Africa,
Oceania and the American Indians.
In the "Conclusion" he discusses a number of
general
factors
relating
to
primitive
art and
our
contemporary understanding
and
appraisal
of it.
One of the first
problems
which
Wingert
at-
tempts
to solve is that of an
adequate
defini-
tion of the "Primitive Art." His solution, and
probably
the
only logical
one which
may
be
arrived
at,
is
simply
to define the term in a
rather
personal
manner: that is, as a
product
of
those ". .. cultures existent
largely
in those
parts
of the world
brought
to
light during
the
Age
of
Discovery
and the
subsequent expora-
tion."
(p. 8)
There is a
degree
of
logic
in so
restricting
the term, although
one is hard
put
to
explain why
the whole area of Paleolithic and
Neolithic art should be
thought
of as some-
thing quite
distinct. While there are certain
differences between Paleolithic and later Neo-
lithic art and that which
Wingert
wishes to
encompass within his definition, these art forms
still share more similar than dissimilar fea-
tures.
In his rebellion
against many writings
of the
late 19th and
early
20th centuries the author has
gone
overboard in
denouncing
those who have
given
too much attention to the ". .. theoreti-
cal
origin
and
relationships
of various
primi-
tive arts."
(p. 72-73)
Thus he tends to see in
primitive
art
unique qualities
which in truth
lie at the basis of all art. The art
produced by
primitive people
is neither more nor less". . .
characteristic and
expressive
of all the es-
sential features"
(p. 71-72)
of its
society
than
the arts
brought
forth
today
or in 15th
century
Italy.
Nor could it be
proved
that
primitive art
is
any
more involved in the
"Economic, social
and/or political
needs of the
community.
. ."
(p. 17)
than is the case in
any
other historic
period.
The
motivation,
functions and
meaning
of art
may appear
to be more hidden and more
subtle in the 20th
century,
but in fact the same
basic human drives seem to be
present regard-
less of the character and
complexity
of the
society.
When the author describes the
patron-
age
of the
primitive
artist as
coming
from
. the
elders, chiefs, priests,
or leaders who
directed or controlled the fundamental
aspects
of
life-religion,
social
relationships, economic
practices,
and
political
and
judicial controls"
(p. 18),
he could
just
as well be
discussing
the
patronage
of
Egyptian, Baroque
or even
contemporary
art.
This reviewer would also
question
the
great
importance
which the author
places
on
sculp-
ture, to the almost entire exclusion of other art
forms. A
good
index of this is the
plates,
116
out of 126 of which are
sculpture,
and the lack
of
any
architectural
examples
whatsoever.
Sculp-
ture
may
be more
"significant"
than other art
forms in the area of
Oceania, but the
complete
exclusion of the rock
drawings
of
Africa,
or of
those of the New
World, is
open
to severe
question.
In fact it would be difficult to show
that
sculpture
was at all the
major
art form of
the North American Indians; pottery, weaving
and even rock
drawings
were
probably
a more
conscious mode of visual
expression
than
sculp-
ture.
Artist; His Patron and Public," "The Need
for
Art," "Motivations," "Functions," and
"Meaning."
Under the title of "Artistic Tra-
ditions and
Styles"
he then considers the art
of
Africa,
Oceania and the American Indians.
In the "Conclusion" he discusses a number of
general
factors
relating
to
primitive
art and
our
contemporary understanding
and
appraisal
of it.
One of the first
problems
which
Wingert
at-
tempts
to solve is that of an
adequate
defini-
tion of the "Primitive Art." His solution, and
probably
the
only logical
one which
may
be
arrived
at,
is
simply
to define the term in a
rather
personal
manner: that is, as a
product
of
those ". .. cultures existent
largely
in those
parts
of the world
brought
to
light during
the
Age
of
Discovery
and the
subsequent expora-
tion."
(p. 8)
There is a
degree
of
logic
in so
restricting
the term, although
one is hard
put
to
explain why
the whole area of Paleolithic and
Neolithic art should be
thought
of as some-
thing quite
distinct. While there are certain
differences between Paleolithic and later Neo-
lithic art and that which
Wingert
wishes to
encompass within his definition, these art forms
still share more similar than dissimilar fea-
tures.
In his rebellion
against many writings
of the
late 19th and
early
20th centuries the author has
gone
overboard in
denouncing
those who have
given
too much attention to the ". .. theoreti-
cal
origin
and
relationships
of various
primi-
tive arts."
(p. 72-73)
Thus he tends to see in
primitive
art
unique qualities
which in truth
lie at the basis of all art. The art
produced by
primitive people
is neither more nor less". . .
characteristic and
expressive
of all the es-
sential features"
(p. 71-72)
of its
society
than
the arts
brought
forth
today
or in 15th
century
Italy.
Nor could it be
proved
that
primitive art
is
any
more involved in the
"Economic, social
and/or political
needs of the
community.
. ."
(p. 17)
than is the case in
any
other historic
period.
The
motivation,
functions and
meaning
of art
may appear
to be more hidden and more
subtle in the 20th
century,
but in fact the same
basic human drives seem to be
present regard-
less of the character and
complexity
of the
society.
When the author describes the
patron-
age
of the
primitive
artist as
coming
from
. the
elders, chiefs, priests,
or leaders who
directed or controlled the fundamental
aspects
of
life-religion,
social
relationships, economic
practices,
and
political
and
judicial controls"
(p. 18),
he could
just
as well be
discussing
the
patronage
of
Egyptian, Baroque
or even
contemporary
art.
This reviewer would also
question
the
great
importance
which the author
places
on
sculp-
ture, to the almost entire exclusion of other art
forms. A
good
index of this is the
plates,
116
out of 126 of which are
sculpture,
and the lack
of
any
architectural
examples
whatsoever.
Sculp-
ture
may
be more
"significant"
than other art
forms in the area of
Oceania, but the
complete
exclusion of the rock
drawings
of
Africa,
or of
those of the New
World, is
open
to severe
question.
In fact it would be difficult to show
that
sculpture
was at all the
major
art form of
the North American Indians; pottery, weaving
and even rock
drawings
were
probably
a more
conscious mode of visual
expression
than
sculp-
ture.
Artist; His Patron and Public," "The Need
for
Art," "Motivations," "Functions," and
"Meaning."
Under the title of "Artistic Tra-
ditions and
Styles"
he then considers the art
of
Africa,
Oceania and the American Indians.
In the "Conclusion" he discusses a number of
general
factors
relating
to
primitive
art and
our
contemporary understanding
and
appraisal
of it.
One of the first
problems
which
Wingert
at-
tempts
to solve is that of an
adequate
defini-
tion of the "Primitive Art." His solution, and
probably
the
only logical
one which
may
be
arrived
at,
is
simply
to define the term in a
rather
personal
manner: that is, as a
product
of
those ". .. cultures existent
largely
in those
parts
of the world
brought
to
light during
the
Age
of
Discovery
and the
subsequent expora-
tion."
(p. 8)
There is a
degree
of
logic
in so
restricting
the term, although
one is hard
put
to
explain why
the whole area of Paleolithic and
Neolithic art should be
thought
of as some-
thing quite
distinct. While there are certain
differences between Paleolithic and later Neo-
lithic art and that which
Wingert
wishes to
encompass within his definition, these art forms
still share more similar than dissimilar fea-
tures.
In his rebellion
against many writings
of the
late 19th and
early
20th centuries the author has
gone
overboard in
denouncing
those who have
given
too much attention to the ". .. theoreti-
cal
origin
and
relationships
of various
primi-
tive arts."
(p. 72-73)
Thus he tends to see in
primitive
art
unique qualities
which in truth
lie at the basis of all art. The art
produced by
primitive people
is neither more nor less". . .
characteristic and
expressive
of all the es-
sential features"
(p. 71-72)
of its
society
than
the arts
brought
forth
today
or in 15th
century
Italy.
Nor could it be
proved
that
primitive art
is
any
more involved in the
"Economic, social
and/or political
needs of the
community.
. ."
(p. 17)
than is the case in
any
other historic
period.
The
motivation,
functions and
meaning
of art
may appear
to be more hidden and more
subtle in the 20th
century,
but in fact the same
basic human drives seem to be
present regard-
less of the character and
complexity
of the
society.
When the author describes the
patron-
age
of the
primitive
artist as
coming
from
. the
elders, chiefs, priests,
or leaders who
directed or controlled the fundamental
aspects
of
life-religion,
social
relationships, economic
practices,
and
political
and
judicial controls"
(p. 18),
he could
just
as well be
discussing
the
patronage
of
Egyptian, Baroque
or even
contemporary
art.
This reviewer would also
question
the
great
importance
which the author
places
on
sculp-
ture, to the almost entire exclusion of other art
forms. A
good
index of this is the
plates,
116
out of 126 of which are
sculpture,
and the lack
of
any
architectural
examples
whatsoever.
Sculp-
ture
may
be more
"significant"
than other art
forms in the area of
Oceania, but the
complete
exclusion of the rock
drawings
of
Africa,
or of
those of the New
World, is
open
to severe
question.
In fact it would be difficult to show
that
sculpture
was at all the
major
art form of
the North American Indians; pottery, weaving
and even rock
drawings
were
probably
a more
conscious mode of visual
expression
than
sculp-
ture.
Throughout
the
text, almost as a
reoccurring
leitemotiv, Wingert
raises the
question
of form
versus
content, and he
firmly
attaches himself
to those who insist that the
"significance"
of a
work of art can
only
be
comprehended
when
one understands its associated elements. The
social, religious,
and
political information
which
may
be extracted from a work of art is
tremendous in
scope
and
depth,
but these ele-
ments are
marginal
to the
purely
aesthetic. It
is the aesthetic form which establishes an ob-
ject
as a work of
art; and it is this feature
which should be of
major concern,
if not the
total
concern,
of the art historian.
DAVID GEBHARD
University of California,
Santa Barbara
James Walter Graham
The Palaces of Crete, xiv
+
69
pp., 153 ill.
Princeton: Princeton
University Press, 1962. $7.50
Cretan
palaces have been much like the
weather; everyone talked about them but no-
body
did
anything
about them.
Despite
the fact
that
they,
more than
any
other
feature, epit-
omized the first
European civilization and in-
dicate the
power
and wealth of its
rulers, no
thorough
architectural
study
of them was made
before Graham undertook one
during
the last
decade. Six articles
published in the American
Journal
of Archaeology
between 1956 and
1961
presented various
special aspects
of his
work, which are
again published here in less
technical form and as
part
of a
comprehensive
account of Minoan architecture. A brief consid-
eration of the
geography
and
history
of
Crete,
as well as of the nature of its inhabitants in
Minoan
times, forms the
background
to the
architectural account. The latter
begins
with a
description
of the three
major palaces-Knos-
sos, Phaistos and Mallia-and then of minor
palaces,
such as at Gournia and
Hagia Triadha,
villas and houses.
Based on this
descriptive
material are the
special
studies of various
elements, beginning
with the central court of the
palace, which was
the
"organizing
nucleus of the
plan." Graham
argues convincingly
that the bull
games
were
held in the court. An examination of the res-
idential
quarters follows, and it is
gratifying
to see that Graham does not use the term
"megaron"
for the characteristic
large
hall.
The so-called "lustral chambers" are shown to
have served
largely
as
bathrooms, though
Gra-
ham admits the
possibility
of occasional use
for lustral
purposes.
Toilet rooms have been
identified in all the
palaces
and in several
houses as well.
Turning
to a consideration of
the
public apartments, large reception
halls are
shown to have been in the
upper floor, usually
approached by
a
grand
staircase. The
banquet
hall was also in the
upper storey,
with the
kitchen
nearby
in the floor below. This
ground
floor was
given
over
largely
to storerooms and
workrooms, the former
usually
under the
great
halls of the state
apartments. But the
ground
floor also contained cult
rooms, usually
the
"Pillar
Crypt"
and associated
rooms, and
guest
suites.
Getting
down to
details,
the next
chapters
consider the materials and construction of
Minoan
buildings, the use of windows and
doors and the systems of lighting and ventila-
Throughout
the
text, almost as a
reoccurring
leitemotiv, Wingert
raises the
question
of form
versus
content, and he
firmly
attaches himself
to those who insist that the
"significance"
of a
work of art can
only
be
comprehended
when
one understands its associated elements. The
social, religious,
and
political information
which
may
be extracted from a work of art is
tremendous in
scope
and
depth,
but these ele-
ments are
marginal
to the
purely
aesthetic. It
is the aesthetic form which establishes an ob-
ject
as a work of
art; and it is this feature
which should be of
major concern,
if not the
total
concern,
of the art historian.
DAVID GEBHARD
University of California,
Santa Barbara
James Walter Graham
The Palaces of Crete, xiv
+
69
pp., 153 ill.
Princeton: Princeton
University Press, 1962. $7.50
Cretan
palaces have been much like the
weather; everyone talked about them but no-
body
did
anything
about them.
Despite
the fact
that
they,
more than
any
other
feature, epit-
omized the first
European civilization and in-
dicate the
power
and wealth of its
rulers, no
thorough
architectural
study
of them was made
before Graham undertook one
during
the last
decade. Six articles
published in the American
Journal
of Archaeology
between 1956 and
1961
presented various
special aspects
of his
work, which are
again published here in less
technical form and as
part
of a
comprehensive
account of Minoan architecture. A brief consid-
eration of the
geography
and
history
of
Crete,
as well as of the nature of its inhabitants in
Minoan
times, forms the
background
to the
architectural account. The latter
begins
with a
description
of the three
major palaces-Knos-
sos, Phaistos and Mallia-and then of minor
palaces,
such as at Gournia and
Hagia Triadha,
villas and houses.
Based on this
descriptive
material are the
special
studies of various
elements, beginning
with the central court of the
palace, which was
the
"organizing
nucleus of the
plan." Graham
argues convincingly
that the bull
games
were
held in the court. An examination of the res-
idential
quarters follows, and it is
gratifying
to see that Graham does not use the term
"megaron"
for the characteristic
large
hall.
The so-called "lustral chambers" are shown to
have served
largely
as
bathrooms, though
Gra-
ham admits the
possibility
of occasional use
for lustral
purposes.
Toilet rooms have been
identified in all the
palaces
and in several
houses as well.
Turning
to a consideration of
the
public apartments, large reception
halls are
shown to have been in the
upper floor, usually
approached by
a
grand
staircase. The
banquet
hall was also in the
upper storey,
with the
kitchen
nearby
in the floor below. This
ground
floor was
given
over
largely
to storerooms and
workrooms, the former
usually
under the
great
halls of the state
apartments. But the
ground
floor also contained cult
rooms, usually
the
"Pillar
Crypt"
and associated
rooms, and
guest
suites.
Getting
down to
details,
the next
chapters
consider the materials and construction of
Minoan
buildings, the use of windows and
doors and the systems of lighting and ventila-
Throughout
the
text, almost as a
reoccurring
leitemotiv, Wingert
raises the
question
of form
versus
content, and he
firmly
attaches himself
to those who insist that the
"significance"
of a
work of art can
only
be
comprehended
when
one understands its associated elements. The
social, religious,
and
political information
which
may
be extracted from a work of art is
tremendous in
scope
and
depth,
but these ele-
ments are
marginal
to the
purely
aesthetic. It
is the aesthetic form which establishes an ob-
ject
as a work of
art; and it is this feature
which should be of
major concern,
if not the
total
concern,
of the art historian.
DAVID GEBHARD
University of California,
Santa Barbara
James Walter Graham
The Palaces of Crete, xiv
+
69
pp., 153 ill.
Princeton: Princeton
University Press, 1962. $7.50
Cretan
palaces have been much like the
weather; everyone talked about them but no-
body
did
anything
about them.
Despite
the fact
that
they,
more than
any
other
feature, epit-
omized the first
European civilization and in-
dicate the
power
and wealth of its
rulers, no
thorough
architectural
study
of them was made
before Graham undertook one
during
the last
decade. Six articles
published in the American
Journal
of Archaeology
between 1956 and
1961
presented various
special aspects
of his
work, which are
again published here in less
technical form and as
part
of a
comprehensive
account of Minoan architecture. A brief consid-
eration of the
geography
and
history
of
Crete,
as well as of the nature of its inhabitants in
Minoan
times, forms the
background
to the
architectural account. The latter
begins
with a
description
of the three
major palaces-Knos-
sos, Phaistos and Mallia-and then of minor
palaces,
such as at Gournia and
Hagia Triadha,
villas and houses.
Based on this
descriptive
material are the
special
studies of various
elements, beginning
with the central court of the
palace, which was
the
"organizing
nucleus of the
plan." Graham
argues convincingly
that the bull
games
were
held in the court. An examination of the res-
idential
quarters follows, and it is
gratifying
to see that Graham does not use the term
"megaron"
for the characteristic
large
hall.
The so-called "lustral chambers" are shown to
have served
largely
as
bathrooms, though
Gra-
ham admits the
possibility
of occasional use
for lustral
purposes.
Toilet rooms have been
identified in all the
palaces
and in several
houses as well.
Turning
to a consideration of
the
public apartments, large reception
halls are
shown to have been in the
upper floor, usually
approached by
a
grand
staircase. The
banquet
hall was also in the
upper storey,
with the
kitchen
nearby
in the floor below. This
ground
floor was
given
over
largely
to storerooms and
workrooms, the former
usually
under the
great
halls of the state
apartments. But the
ground
floor also contained cult
rooms, usually
the
"Pillar
Crypt"
and associated
rooms, and
guest
suites.
Getting
down to
details,
the next
chapters
consider the materials and construction of
Minoan
buildings, the use of windows and
doors and the systems of lighting and ventila-
79 Book Reviews 79 Book Reviews 79 Book Reviews