Arthur Kingsley Porter Prize
The Arthur Kingsley Porter Prize was established in 1957, in memory of a founding member of the CAA and one of the first American scholars of the discipline. This award seeks to encourage high scholarly standards among younger members of the profession. The prize is awarded for a distinguished article published in The Art Bulletin during the previous calendar year (2015 for the 2016 award) by a scholar of any nationality who is under the age of thirty-five or who has received the doctorate not more than ten years before acceptance of the article for publication.
The jury selected Douglas Brine’s article, “Van Eyck, Canon Joris van der Paele, and the Art of Commemoration,” due to its exemplary “holistic” methodology. Brine’s writing is lucid and his organization of argument is straightforward. Noteworthy is the range of evidence the author brings forth. He provides, transcribed in appendices, documents of 1434 and 1443 that clearly support his thesis concerning the original function and physical context of the painting. He employs the result of x-ray examination analyzing its inscriptions, and he closely analyzes the verisimilitude of detail and its visual impact. He uses patterns of patronage, specifically of canons, in the culture under study to effectively support the case for the primarily commemorative function of the painting. He introduces numerous comparative examples (in stone, metal, and paint) of artworks that filled the same commemorative function near burial sites. Due to the reuse of the fifteenth-century work as an altarpiece in the late sixteenth century, the painting has often been treated as such in the literature. Brine’s study firmly establishes the original religious setting and primary function of Van Eyck’s painting within St. Donatian’s in Bruges, and implicitly opens up the question as to whether other paintings have been similarly misunderstood.
Jury: Diana Gisolfi, Pratt Institute, chair; Partha Mitter, University of Sussex, emeritus; and Lauren Hackworth Petersen, University of Delaware.
One of CAA’s longest-running awards, the Porter prize has been awarded to superb articles in Western European art and architecture but has increasingly recognized a wider range of topics (in American, Chinese, Japanese, and Assyrian art) since the 1990s. Past winners include three-time winner Irving Lavin (1960, 1963, and 1970) and, most recently, Marnin Young, Fabio Barry, and Elizabeth Marlowe. Of special note is the 1967 Porter given to Linda Nochlin for her article “Gustave Courbet’s Meeting: A Portrait of the Artist as a Wandering Jew.”
Read a list of all winners of the Arthur Kingsley Porter Prize from 1958 to the present.
CAA will begin accepting nominations for the 2016 awards in the spring. Please review the guidelines to familiarize yourself with the nomination process and to download, complete, and submit the requested materials.