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192 - Baxandall's Bridge and Charles IV's Prague: An Exercise in Architectural Intention

from Authors and Intentions

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  05 April 2013

Paul Crossley
Affiliation:
University of London
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Summary

MUCH RECENT WORK on the epistemology of art has centred on the mysteries of the creative process, which has come under critical scrutiny from psychologists, philosophers of aesthetics and the art historian. Does creativity in art call for special talents that distinguish the artist from the general run of human beings? Do ‘truly’ creative artworks add something of interest to the world – something above the routine and the derivative? Can the art historian dare to identify creativity in art with durable and constant appeal – or will s/he fall back on explanations of the creative in terms of the contingencies of social class, historical circumstance and gender difference?

Such questions raise special difficulties for the art historian, for whom the whole concept of agency has, in the last quarter century, become a battleground. The traditional, common-sense view that the meanings of works of art lie in the meanings given them by their creators can no longer be sustained. Psychoanalysis has confirmed what our experience tells us: that we have no means of knowing the inner complexities of our own psyche, let alone the inner experience of an artist and the ‘authentic’ meanings his work contains. Postmodernist deconstruction has alerted us to the ambiguities of the self and the complexities of self-expression by questioning the model of a stable consciousness and by situating meaning in a potentially endless process of ‘inter-textual’ signifying.

Type
Chapter
Information
Architecture and Interpretation
Essays for Eric Fernie
, pp. 192 - 220
Publisher: Boydell & Brewer
Print publication year: 2012

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