Before Cortés: Sculpture of Middle America by Elizabeth Kennedy Easby, John Frederik Scott

By Elizabeth Kennedy Easby, John Frederik Scott

The process pre-Hispanic or, because it is often known as, pre-Columbian paintings, has come complete circle in our personal 20th century. It surprised the Spanish conquistadors 400 fifty years in the past, and, whilst first noticeable via eu audiences, it evoked the spontaneous admiration and lavish compliment of such Renaissance figures as Dürer, Cellini, and Peter Martyr, an Italian cleric who wrote the 1st historical past of the hot global. yet all too quickly it lapsed as artwork in Europe, to proceed there purely as exotica in a few princeling's Wunderkammer and nonetheless later in museums narrowly limited to ethnology and anthropology.

It is just within the usa that this artwork has been integrated within the collections of the main major fine-arts museums and began to be well-known by means of a couple of graduate faculties of artwork and artwork background in our universities—a twentieth-century improvement of rather constrained popularity. We on the Metropolitan are actually proud to provide it with different nice paintings of the world.

Like the lads of the Renaissance, the founding fathers of this Museum paid excessive tribute to the traditional artwork of the recent international, which they felt was once neither "savage" nor "barbarian," yet confirmed "a cultivation of the affection of good looks, measured by means of an self reliant usual which, besides the fact that unique from ours, however proves the presence of highbrow and artwork loving races of men." a few positive works have been obtained and exhibited in short, however the profound knowledge and farsightedness of the founding fathers have been quickly forgotten whilst every one of these treasures have been lent in other places (as anthropological or ethnographic material), and acquisition stopped. even if, long ago twenty years the pendulum has swung again, with overseas personal loan exhibitions from Colombia and Guatemala and the reciprocal mortgage contract with Mexico, the good exhibition of masterpieces from The Museum of Primitive paintings final yr, the new enrichment of our collections via vital presents from Mr. and Mrs. Nathan Cummings, Mrs. Harold L. Bache, and Mrs. Jacob Kaplan, and, after all, the actually awesome contract with the Honorable Nelson A. Rockefeller and The Museum of Primitive paintings less than which the wonderful number of that museum will come to the Metropolitan in its entirety upon crowning glory of the recent wing to accommodate it.

With the production of a brand new division of Primitive artwork and the current exhibition we've not basically come complete circle yet greater than redeemed a pledge made in our Annual file for 1883, in which the President, John Taylor Johnston, said: "The antiquities of our personal continent may still shape a favourite characteristic in an American Museum, and we're charged with a different accountability to make right here a Museum of previous American paintings for the research of yankee students in addition to students from abroad."

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Looking within, he sees the whole universe reflected in images which reproduce, not only the objects themselves, but even the spaces between them with wonderful accuracy. Yet this does not exhaust the capacity of memory, for it contains also Few thinkers have pondered more deeply on the problems of memory and the soul than Augustine, the pagan teacher of rhetoric whose conversion to Christianity is recounted in his Confessions. In the wonderful passage on memory in that work one gains, I think, quite strongly the impression that Augustine's was a trained memory, trained on the lines of the classical mnemonic.

Many proofs could be given as to how this classification was universally accepted. iZ The powerful alliance between the two works was still in operation when the first printed edition of Ad Herennium appeared at Venice in 1470; it was published together with the De inventione, the two works being described on the tide-page in the traditional way as Rhetorica nova et vetus. The importance of this association for the understanding of the mediaeval form of the artificial memory is very great. For Tullius in his First Rhetoric gave much attention to ethics and to the virtues as the 'inventions' or 'things' with which the orator should deal in his speech.

But Philostratus in his account of the memory of the leading sage, or Magus, of Neopythagoreanism—Apollonius of Tyana—brings in the name of Simonides. ' From that time on he resolved to be mute, and did not speak at all, though his eyes and his mind took in everything and stored it away in his memory. ' Apollonius's studies with the Brahmin were very abstruse, and particularly directed towards astrology and divina'» Philostratus and Eunapius, The Lives of the Sophists (Life of Dionysius of Miletus), trans.

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