In the Footsteps of Winckelmann: Vernon Lee in the Roman Galleries at the Fin de Siècle
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Violet Paget (1859-1935), publishing under the pseudonym ‘Vernon Lee’, wrote more than 40 books on aesthetics and the spirit of place. Resident in Italy for the major part of her life, she frequently found her subject matter in Italian art and literature of the past, whether that of Antiquity, the Renaissance or the eighteenth century. This essay discusses her dialogue with the eighteenth-century German antiquarian Johann Joachim Winckelmann (1717-1768) whose writings on ancient sculpture in uenced more than a century of European archaeological and art historical literature. In Lee’s early writings of the 1880s Winckelmann features as an authoritative voice of the past on the encounter between the living body and mind of the spectator-critic and the cold, immobile marble of ancient sculpture. Winckelmann’s subjective descriptions of sculpture provoked Lee into thinking about the interrelationship between word and image, past and present, with Rome as a cosmopolitan palimpsest of history as a natural backdrop. Her early essays revisit Winckelmannian sites like the Villa Albani and the Vatican as part of her formative education as an art critic, and the essay uncovers this early stage in Lee’s career.
|Book series||Analecta Romana Instituti Danici|
|Publication status||Published - 28 Dec 2016|