Book Store

The Vienna School of Art History

The Vienna School of Art History

The Vienna School of Art History

by Matthew Rampley

“Matthew Rampley’s recent study The Vienna School of Art History: Empire and the Politics of Scholarship, 1847–1918 presents an interesting corrective to simplistic definitions of ‘German art history,’ for it investigates the effects of a multilingual discipline upon institutional discourses. His arguments move the methodological problems analysed in Frank and Adler’s collection right into the heart of European politics by offering a thorough and sustained interrogation not of the methods per se, but of the relationship between the idea of scientific method and liberalism.”—Francesco Ventrella, Art History

“This is the most commendable art-historical text to come my way in a long time, a major intellectual achievement on all fronts. Very much to his credit, Rampley writes in gracefully lucid language, something that cannot be said about many scholars attracted to this material.”—Michael Yonan, Austrian History Yearbook

Matthew Rampley’s The Vienna School of Art History is the first book in over seventy-five years to study in depth and in context the practices of art history from 1847, the year the first teaching position in the discipline was created, to 1918, the collapse of Austria-Hungary. It traces the emergence of art history as a discipline, the establishment of norms of scholarly inquiry, and the involvement of art historians in wider debates about the cultural and political identity of the monarchy.

The so-called Vienna School plays the central role in the study, but Rampley also examines the formation of art history elsewhere in Austria-Hungary. Located in the Habsburg imperial capital, Vienna art historians frequently became entangled in debates that were of importance to art historians elsewhere in the Empire, and Rampley pays particular attention to these areas of overlapping interest. He also analyzes the methodological innovations for which the Vienna School was well known. Rampley focuses most fully, however, on the larger political and ideological context of the practice of art history—particularly the way in which art-historical debates served as proxies for wider arguments over the political, social, and cultural life of the Habsburg Empire.

296 pages
Penn State University Press, 2015
7 x 0.8 x 10 inches
ISBN 9780271061597
Austrian History, Art History 

$39.95 $39.95