J.J. Winckelmann (1717-1768). Monumenti antichi inediti. Storia di un’opera illustrata. History of an Illustrated Work
edited by Stefano Ferrari and Nicoletta Ossanna Cavadini
Skira, Geneva-Milan, 2017
24 x 24 cm, pp. 352
CHF 36.- / Euro 36
To mark the 300th anniversary of the birth of Johann Joachim Winckelmann (1717-68) – one of the finest scholars of classical culture, theorist and the father of the discipline of art history – the catalogue and exhibition explore his penultimate printed work titled “Monumenti antichi inediti”.
To date the work has been little studied, because it was considered incomplete, yet it is fundamental to understanding the world of classical antiquity. For the first time the author significantly inserted no fewer than 208 illustrations of the ancient “monuments”, describing them in an absolutely innovative vision that combined descriptions and depictions (all published in the catalogue). The catalogue presents both the first edition of 1767, the Neapolitan reprint of 1820-23 and the Roman edition of 1821 with Stefano Raffei’s addenda, as well as the preparatory manuscripts, twenty matrices, fourteen proof prints, portraits of Winckelmann, paintings and archaeological relics, together with a documentary section.
Though his premature death prevented Winckelmann from completing his work, its principal continuers, from Seroux d’Agincourt to Leopoldo Cicognara, Luigi Rossini and Giovanni Volpato, considered the “Monumenti antichi” a true model for the divulgation of art history.