Presentation, “Frustrated Austrians and Their Italian Art Bibliographies: Leopoldo Cicognara and Julius von Schlosser”

04.13.21 - 04.22.21

67th Annual Meeting, Renaissance Society of America, online

Analysis of two art bibliographies written a century apart – both composed in Italy by frustrated Austrians — underlines the constitutive role of bibliography.

Catalogo ragionato dei libri d’arte, published in 1821 by Leopolodo Cicognara, conveys his overriding concern with reclaiming Italy’s past glory. An enthusiast of the French Revolution, Cicognara was appointed President of the Venetian Academy of Fine Arts under Napoleon. He composed his bibliography during the Restoration period, in Habsburg Venice.

Julius von Schlosser composed “Über die ältere Kunsthistoriographie der Italiener” in an Italian resort in 1925, while chair of the “second” art history department at the University of Vienna. A citizen of the First Austrian Republic, Schlosser advocated Anschluss with Germany.

Comparing these works underlines divergent relationships to an Italian nation and to the discipline of art history – neither of which were fully formulated in Cicognara’s day, and both of which were sites of conflict in Schlosser’s.