The 8th of June is the day when the father of Art History was murdered in 1768. Joachim Winckelmann was the man who in the 1750’s made the distinction between different styles and periods of Greek sculpture which became the methodology of Art History. He was enormously influential and though the discipline has moved on a bit, there are still times when we all need to consider what came before what and how to categorise something. In more general terms, Winckelmann noted that ‘Art is the daughter of pleasure’ which leaves lots of other relations to think about.
He is buried outside the Cathedral of Trieste, where I have been researching a new course for our adult clients. It is an excellent city and well worth a visit, especially if you admire Italy in all its wonderful variety. It’s a truly magnificent place, in a wonderful, calm position right at the top of the Adriatic with mountains behind it on land that was once the only port for the Austro-Hungarian Empire.
Winckelmann was 50 when he was murdered, probably amidst a struggle in a bungled theft of some medals. His assailant was hanged a month later. His legacy is perhaps the strong assertion that beauty is formed by unity and simplicity. (Discuss.. ?)