Johann Joachim Winkelmann T-shirt

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Reflections on the Paintings and Sculpture of the Greeks by Johann Joachim Winkelmann
Hyperallergic's Art Library Series

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Designed by Peter Rentz

Johann Joachim Winckelmann‘s first English translation of his writings, including his masterpiece Geschichte der Kunst des Alterthums (“The History of Art in Antiquity”), which was published in 1764, kicks off this series.

Winckelmann (often written Winkelmann) is considered the father of modern art history and his work on Ancient Art was the first to define the art of a civilization around the notions of organic growth, maturity, and decline — a staple of modernist histories.

Long understood to be gay (at least as gay as an 18th C. librarian of the Vatican library could be, which is pretty gay) Winckelmann was openly in same-sex relationships during his life in Rome. His life was cut short when he was murdered in a hotel room on his way from Vienna to Rome … some say trick gone bad, others say it was a simple robbery. Either way it makes for an interesting — if tragic — story.

The first English (and French) translations of Winckelmann’s works were done by Swiss/British painter Henry Fuseli.