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Theory reception: Panofsky, Kant, and disciplinary cosmopolitanism

Author(s): Mark A. Cheetham

Journal: Journal of Art Historiography
ISSN 2042-4752

Volume: 1;
Start page: 1-MAC/1;
Date: 2009;
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Keywords: Kant | Panofsky | cosmopolitanism | universality of art

One of the most prominent philosophical legacies in the historiography of art history is Erwin Panofsky’s debt to Immanuel Kant. Structurally and thematically, Panofsky imports philosophy, embodied by Kant, into the body of the younger discipline. I will argue that it is Kant’s vision of cosmopolitanism that governs the relationships between philosophy and art history for Panofsky. What I call "theory reception” – how Panofsky received Kant and how art history in the U.S.A. received Panofsky, however much he may have downplayed the theoretical aspects of his later work - was in part determined, as it often is, by political factors. I will also ask what would it mean for art history to be cosmopolitan now? To approach these questions, we need to move away from both art history and philosophy to study the re-engagement with the term cosmopolitan in other contemporary discourses.

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