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Title: Towards the Construction of an Artistic Canon: Publishing Painting in England, c. 1660-1760s
Author: Hsieh, Chia-Chuan
ISNI:       0000 0000 4681 3526
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2008
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This thesis aims to describe the construction of an artistic canon through the publishing of painting in England from the late seventeenth to the mid-eighteenth century, and to explain how this canon was crucial to the shaping of artistic culture. This period has been identified as one which saw the growth of interest in the visual arts, involving the emergence of the art market, an art public, and art institutions. However, the formation of the system of values which supported and shaped this emerging artistic culture has not yet been clarified. This thesis highlights the phenomenon of 'publishing painting' from the late seventeenth century onwards, arguing that the various types of publications- reproductive prints, catalogues, art treatises, periodical essays, newspaper advertisements, dictionaries or encyclopaedias, etc. helped to shape a particular view of painting and to construct an artistic canon: a process of establishing a common system of pictorial values and a common belief in artistic standards. The 'artistic canon' described in this thesis is not a canon of English art, but rather a matter of what the eighteenth-century English art public regarded as representing the canon of European painting. I first examine attitudes towards the usefulness of prints in facilitating the study of painting and the arguments for publishing paintings then in private ovmership. From this follows an exploration of the development of reproductive printmaking, focusing on the publication of certain history and landscape paintings and the relationship between this and the formulation of artistic ideas. The latter part of the thesis considers the 'theoretical', 'critical', and 'historical' constructions of the value of painting: as a particular visual language, a domain of taste, and an epitome of civilisation. I argue that this artistic canon profoundly influenced eighteenth-century views of what constituted the excellence and value of painting and its role in society. Moreover, it provided a basis for formulating art-historical narratives, which in turn offered a framework for conceptualising the early development of English painting.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available