Institut für Kunstgeschichte
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D - 80798 München
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The Image of the Master: Concepts of Training and Mastery in European and Chinese Art Theory, 1000 - 1600 C.E.
The project is concerned with a transcultural critique of the paradigm of the artist-master as a figuration of individual exceptionality in artistic cultures of China and Europe between 1000 and 1600. The representation of mastery, in this context, is understood in its dual sense as the visual portrait of a ‘master’ – a strong tradition in both Chinese and European painting – and in a wider sense as a topos of literary, historical and art theoretical writing that was central to both cultures’ conceptualization of tradition and innovation. Focused on ‘training’ and ‘mastery’ as idioms of artistic self-cultivation, the project assesses and compares a discourse on ‘talent’ as the biographical configuration in which each culture negotiated individual exceptionality and its relation to previous generations. Discussing the notion of artistic mastery as historiographic figuration for the production of social memory, stylistic repetition, and future projection of an aestheticized past, the project develops a critical framework that discursively links and questions chronotopical concepts of art history configured in Chinese and European art theory.