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"North Atlantic" Art History and Its Alternatives
Atlas of the Iconic Turn
Erinnerungen
Series: Opaion, 4

Abstract

This study investigates the career of Carlo Antonio Procaccini, a member of one of the most prominent artistic families of the early Italian Seicento. Together with his brothers Camillo and Giulio Cesare, he was instrumental in establishing a famous workshop in Milan which played a fundamental role in the artistic renovation of the Borromean era. Celebrated by seventeenthcentury sources, Carlo Antonio’s career has been largely underestimated. The essay reaffirms his legacy as the most important North Italian landscape painter of the first three decades of the seventeenth century, highlighting how his art thrived in the uniqueness of the Milanese artistic environment, which was characterized by post-Tridentine reform and prosperity, Spanish patrons, and Northern European connections as well as artistic eclecticism.

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Abstract

The subject of this essay is Fritz Eisel’s mosaic Der Mensch bezwingt den Kosmos (Humanity Conquers the Cosmos), a frieze that has decorated the Potsdam data-processing center since its completion in 1972. Composed of 18 panels measuring ca. 3 × 3 m, this frieze is unusually large, yet in its ideological appropriation of science and technology it is a paradigmatic example of public art in the German Democratic Republic. Framed by textual references to Einstein and Marx, Eisel’s mosaic glorifies the progress of industry, agriculture, and administration, but first and foremost of aviation and space flight. This essay examines the mosaic in the context of the “scientific-technical revolution” officially proclaimed in 1964, and with a view to its site, which is fraught with historical implications.

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Abstract

At the beginning of the twentieth century, Germany moved to the institutional forefront of the art world. Through the creation of two museums, in Hagen and in Weimar, dedicated to contemporary avant-gardes in art, architecture, and design, the recently united nation propagated its claim for international leadership in the cultural sphere. Both establishments were the result of private initiatives of collectors who possessed great literary talent and artistic distinction and who were strongly opposed to the aesthetic ideals of the main arbiter of German taste, Emperor William II. This essay is the first comparative study of the museums in Hagen and Weimar, whose founders disagreed with developments in Darmstadt but were inspired by those in Hamburg and, to a lesser degree, in Krefeld. Analyzing their intellectual origins and historic development, the essay provides a comprehensive chronology as well as an articulate topography of early-twentieth-century German art institutions promoting cultural innovation.