The Nazarenes: Romantic Avant-Garde and the Art of the Concept

Hardcover | April 23, 2015

byCordula Grewe

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In The Nazarenes, Cordula Grewe presents a timely revisionist account of the Nazarenes, a group of early nineteenth-century German artists who have been occasionally reviled, but more often ignored, in the history of modern art. Viewing critically the effects of a century of skeptical Enlightenment and decades of political revolution, the Nazarenes committed themselves to a reenchantment of the modern world and a revitalization of contemporary art through a return to the plainspoken piety and stylistic simplicity of medieval and early Renaissance art. The Nazarene style soon became commonplace across Europe and the United States, and its popularity in Bible illustrations and devotional print culture continues today. Despite, or perhaps because of, this success, modern accounts have commonly dismissed this art as hackneyed, kitsch, or hopelessly conservative. Grewe argues that such dismissal overlooks the complexity and quintessential modernity of the Nazarenes’ revivalism. Exploring the Nazarenes’ vanguard beginnings, Grewe considers their intellectualized approach to art and art-making in the context of the longer history leading up to conceptual art. Tracing what Grewe calls the Nazarenes’ “art of the concept,” a phrase that instructively labels an encompassing history in which to situate the origins of the conceptual art movement, The Nazarenes reveals an alternative side of modernity, one manifested in a historicism born from religious revival, a side well explored in the fields of history and sociology but, until now, largely ignored by art historians.

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From the Publisher

In The Nazarenes, Cordula Grewe presents a timely revisionist account of the Nazarenes, a group of early nineteenth-century German artists who have been occasionally reviled, but more often ignored, in the history of modern art. Viewing critically the effects of a century of skeptical Enlightenment and decades of political revolution, ...

Cordula Grewe teaches art history at the University of Pennsylvania.

other books by Cordula Grewe

Painting The Sacred In The Age Of Romanticism
Painting The Sacred In The Age Of Romanticism

Hardcover|Oct 28 2009

$202.65 online$236.14list price
Format:HardcoverDimensions:400 pages, 10.26 × 9.32 × 1.25 inPublished:April 23, 2015Publisher:Penn State University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0271064145

ISBN - 13:9780271064147

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Extra Content

Table of Contents

Contents

List of Illustrations

Acknowledgments

A Note on the Text

Introduction

Part 1 The Nazarene Resurrection

1 Secession

2 Collectivism

3 Avant-garde

Part 2 The Nazarene Creed

4 Reflection

5 Art

6 Historical Symbolism

7 Hieroglyph

8 Nature

9 Appropriation

10 Objectified Subjectivity

11 Emulation and Epigonality

12 Coda: Anamnestic Totalization

Part 3 The Nazarene Divide

13 Toward a Naturalist Idealism

14 The Word Made Flesh

15 Portraiture as History

Conclusion

Notes

Bibliography

Index

Editorial Reviews

“The product of searching analysis as well as passionate advocacy, this study is a revelation. Cordula Grewe encompasses the whole field of Nazarene activity, from vast fresco paintings to intimate portraiture and sublime landscape lithography. There can no longer be any justification for neglecting this prescient ‘art of the concept.’”

—Stephen Bann, University of Bristol