Histoire de la critique d’art
The ancient Greeks never practiced art criticism, but simply described paintings and admired their natural aspect. Vasari and his colleagues set the bases with their lives of the artists. But the golden age of art criticism can be found in Paris Salons, with Diderot, and Baudelaire, and the Goncourt brothers. The renewal was very obvious at the beginning of the 20th century, with writings by Fénéon, Apollinaire, or gifted dilettantes such as Blaise Cendrars. This book can be read by one and all due to its 150 entries –and not 50, as the title of the collection pretends, in other words three books for the price of one!- and traces an efficient chronology. It allows us to dig out certain characters unfairly forgotten by the cultivated public, such as Lionello Venturi and Michel Georges-Michel (died at the age of 102 in 1985!) who controlled the situation at the time of Montparnos. The book also sheds light on interesting persons such as d’Annunzio, Rilke or Sâr Péladan. In face of such culture, one regrets the lack of an index, which could have been very useful, and the choice of stopping in 1945. Art critics have certainly lost some of their initial characteristics today, as it is squeezed between journalism and poetry – but the contributions from the Marxist school or Clement Greenberg’s formalism deserve to be mentioned. Maybe in the next volume?
Review published in the newsletter #504 - from 1 March 2018 to 7 March 2018