By Catherine M. Soussloff
This is often the 1st booklet to research the artist's biography as a rhetorical shape and literary style instead of as an unassailable resource of truth and information.
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Additional info for Absolute Artist. The Historiography of a Concept
I take Antonio Manetti's Life of Filippo Brunelleschi to be the first text in the genre of the biography of the artist because it can be characterized by models, topics, tropes, and structure that pertain uniquely to the genre. 1 The Life of Brunelleschi contains virtually all of the elements that can be associated with the better-known biographies by Vasari of a century later. Given the linguistic and literary characteristics of the genre, its models, and the role of the artist in society in the Early Modern period, the investigation of the topics found in the biographies of artists must range across the entire period of the Renaissance (ca.
1 When Giorgio Vasari wrote the earliest series of artists' Lives (1550, 1568) in a commonly spoken language, the Tuscan vernacular, he wanted to use whatever he could find in the way of firsthand accounts by artists in his history. 2 In the more recent past, since the formation of the discipline of art history in the nineteenth century, autobiographical writings by artists have been used by the interpreters to discuss or discern intention as it appears to be evidenced in the work. They have used the autobiography and the interview, along with other "documents," to discern meaning in the work of art.
What are the interpretations of the artist that have appeared or resulted from these contexts? ) the idea of "the artist" is already part of this discursive history; (3) historians who have addressed the image of the artist rely on this history often without adequate theorization to refer to what I call here the absolute artist in order to locate their historiographic tradition; and (4) I become implicated in the history as I interpret it. On the Threshold of Historiography I 25 These assumptions point to the centrality of discourse, writing, and genre, or of the impetus to view the discursive problem generically.