Presidential Lecture Series
spacer spacer Svetlana Alpers



Books by Alpers on reserve in the Lane Room, Green Library Bing Wing

The art of describing: Dutch art in the seventeenth century, University of Chicago Press, 1983.

See accompanying essay .
See excerpts.

Bialostocki, Jan, Art bulletin, v.67 (Sept. 1985) p.520-6.
De Jongh, E. de, Simiolus, v.14:1 (1984) p.51-9.
Gaskell, Ivan, Oxford art journal, v.7:1 (1984) p.57-60.
Glynne, Jonathan, Art history, v.7 (June 1984) p.247-52.
Gombrich, Ernst, New York review of books, v.30 (10 Nov. 1983) p.13-17.
Grafton, Anthony and Thomas DaCosta Kaufmann, Journal of interdisciplinary history, XVI:2 (Autumn 1985) p.255-65.
Marmer, Nancy, Art in America, v.72 (Sept. 1984) p.23-5, 27.
Schama, Simon, New republic (14 May 1984) p.25-31.
Stumpel, Jeroem, Burlington magazine, v.126 (Sept. 1984) p.580-1.

Rembrandt's enterprise: the studio and the market, University of Chicago Press, 1988.

See accompanying essay.
See excerpts.

Bal, Mieke, Art bulletin, v.72 (March 1990) p.138-43.
Carrier, David, Journal of aesthetics and art criticism, v.46 (Summer 1988) p.521-2.
Ford, Charles, Oxford art journal, v.12:1 (1989) p.55-7.
Nash, John, Art history, v.12 (June 1989) p.233-40.
Sutton, Peter C., Burlington magazine, v.131 (June 1989) p.428-30.

Tiepolo and the pictorial intelligence (with Michael Baxandall), Yale University Press, 1994.

See accompanying essay.

Carrier, David, Journal of aesthetics and art criticism, v.53 (Fall 1995) p.438-40.
Honour, Hugh, New York review of books, v.42 (19 Oct. 1995) p.17.
Rosand, David, Times literary supplement, no.4801 (7 April 1995) p.12.

The making of Rubens, Yale University Press, 1995.

See accompanying essay.
See excerpts.

Rosenthal, Lisa, Oxford art journal, v.19:2 (1996) p.102-5.
Woodall, Joanna, Art history, v.19 (March 1996) p.134-40.

Other works by Alpers

"Ekphrasis and aesthetic attitudes in Vasari's Lives," Journal of the Warburg and Courtauld Institutes, v.23 (1960) p.190-215.

An attempt to improve understanding of Vasari's approaches to art through a close examination of his use of verbal descriptions of particular works. Alpers argues that these descriptions are examples of ekphrasis, a late antique rhetorical device for the description and praise of people, places, buildings, and works of art.

"Manner and meaning in some Rubens mythologies," Journal of the Warburg and Courtauld Institutes, v.30 (1967) p.272-95.

Investigation of "iconographic problems" and "stylistic peculiarities" in a series of paintings by Rubens from 1611-17 of mythological subjects. Alpers finds that the potential drama of the paintings' subject matter has been vitiated by Rubens's attempts to give them allegorical meaning.

The decoration of the Torre de la Parada, Phaidon, 1970. (Corpus Rubenianum Ludwig Burchard; pt. 9)

Monograph tracing the history of Rubens's commission to plan the decoration of a hunting lodge of Philip IV of Spain, along with a catalogue raisonné, which attempts to record Rubens's sketches and the paintings that were actually executed by other artists according to his program, and indicate what became of them after the collection was dispersed, sometime around 1700.

"Describe or narrate? A problem in realistic representation," New literary history, v.8 (1976-77) p.15-41.

An examination of occurrences of description, rather than the prevailing mainstream concern with action and narration, in the painting of certain seventeenth- and nineteenth-century artists, such as Caravaggio, Velazquez, and Courbet.

"Is art history?" Daedalus, v.106:3 (Summer 1977) p.1-13.

Applauds progressive art historians' focus on individual art works and groups of works instead of the periods/styles that preoccupied art history scholars of the previous era. "It is the work of art itself, not a history or sequence of works, which is seen as a piece of history."

"Seeing as knowing: a Dutch connection," Humanities in society, v.1 (1978) p.147-73.

In a juxtaposition of modern arguments over the interpretation of images with her ideas about the descriptive function of seventeenth-century Dutch pictures, Alpers works through some of the concepts regarding the nature of representation that became the basis of her book, The art of describing.

"Style is what you make it: the visual arts once again," in The concept of style, ed. by Berel Lang, University of Pennsylvania Press, 1979, p.95-117 (Revised and expanded ed., Cornell University Press, 1987).

A discussion of art historians' preoccupation with style and the leveling effects that result from its tendency to divert attention from the idiosyncrasies of individual artists and to favor Renaissance and post-Renaissance art of the West over all other kinds.

"Art history and its exclusions: the example of Dutch art," in Feminism and art history: questioning the litany, ed. by Norma Broude and Mary D. Garrard, Harper & Row, 1982, p.183-99.

Alpers explains why she feels more oppressed as a Northern art specialist than as a female art historian—oppressed by Italian Renaissance painting and its promoters and interpreters, from Alberti, Vasari, and Michelangelo through Wölfflin and Panofsky.

"Interpretation without representation, or, the viewing of Las Meninas," Representations, v.1:1 (1983) p.31-42.

Iconography's search for meaning "beyond or beneath the surface of a picture" misses the point in the case of Velázquez's painting, which, Alpers argues, is the result of the artist's desire to combine two different modes of representation: the traditional "window on the perceived world," and, in addition, "a surface onto which an image of the world casts itself, just as light focused through a lens forms a picture on the retina of the eye."

Works About Alpers on reserve in the Lane Room, Green Library Bing Wing

Honig, Elizabeth Alice, "An enterprise of describing? Svetlana Alpers' art historical strategies," Theoretische Geschiedenis, v.17:1 (1990) p.33-44.

Other Works About Alpers

Schoch, Russell, "California Q&A: a conversation with Svetlana Alpers," California monthly, (Sept. 1988) p.12-13, 16


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