Table of Contents
December 2014, Volume 96 Number 4
All interpretations of the celebrated Motya Youth, dating to about 480–450 BCE, have neglected the full significance of the five holes on the statue’s head, which were there since its discovery in 1979. A reinterpretation of the figure taking these holes into consideration points to its identity as an initiate of Apollo Karneios, shown at rest after having performed the dance in honor of the god. Art, history, and iconography combine to suggest that the figure may have been none other than Gelon, the tyrant of Syracuse, as a young man.
In about 1640, the Antwerp print publisher Johannes Galle reissued a sixteenth-century print series known as the Small Landscapes. He made several additions and changes to the original plates that fundamentally realigned the representational status of the original prints, reflecting and responding to contemporary perceptions of the countryside around Antwerp toward the end of the Eighty Years’ War. The changing functions and meanings of the prints when they appeared in this new historical context suggest the importance of a diachronic approach to the study of print publishing and print culture in the early modern period.
At the time of its revival in mid-nineteenth-century Austria, the Rococo style was suffused with often contradictory meanings. Regarded as both outdated and fashionable, Austrian and French, simple and pompous, superficial and full of spiritual value, it prompted musings on time, history, and national identity. Closely connected to both the decorative arts and the imagery of popular prints, paintings of the Rococo revival often evoked contemporary concerns about the commodification of art in the industrialized modern world. The ambiguous responses engendered by the Rococo gained special significance in the context of the political tension between Austria and Hungary.
Ad Reinhardt remains an active problem, as recent developments in his scholarship shed new light on earlier perplexities in his reception. Specifically the leftist materialist reading of Reinhardt’s “difficult” black square paintings (1960–67) as engaged in modernist negation needs to be pressed further. The series should be taken as an object lesson in Marxist dialectics where the play and reversal of the categories of alienated versus free activity in labor and work, identity versus nonidentity in the social object as exchange-value or usevalue, and art versus life within bourgeois aesthetics ultimately aim at a critical, materialist demystification of art.