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The Myth of the Renaissance in Nineteenth-Century Writing$
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J. B. Bullen

Print publication date: 1994

Print ISBN-13: 9780198128885

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198128885.001.0001

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The Genesis of the Renaissance Seroux d’Agincourt

The Genesis of the Renaissance Seroux d’Agincourt

(p.27) 2 The Genesis of the Renaissance Seroux d’Agincourt
The Myth of the Renaissance in Nineteenth-Century Writing


Oxford University Press

The expansiveness of Voltaire and the scholarship of Edward Gibbon came together in an art-historical context in the work of a writer far less well known than either of them: Jean-Baptiste Seroux d’Agincourt. Although d’Agincourt is also less well known than his illustrious predecessor Johann Winckelmann, it was in the scheme which d’Agincourt adopted for a comprehensive history of Western art that the Renaissance makes its first tentative appearance. Seroux d’Agincourt’s debt to French Enlightenment historiography and to the work of Gibbon was extensive, but his primary source of inspiration was the work of Winckelmann. Winckelmann constructed a synthetic account of ancient art from its origins to its decline through a series of four periods — an archaic period, an early classical period, a late classical period, and a period of imitation and decline. Seroux d’Agincourt realized that Winckelmann’s method might be extended into more recent periods of art history.

Keywords:   Renaissance, Johann Winckelmann, history, art, historiography

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