By Catherine M. Soussloff

This can be the 1st booklet to investigate the artist's biography as a rhetorical shape and literary style instead of as an unassailable resource of truth and data.

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If the body is essential to the personal identity of the individual, as Bernard Williams argued, a name is essential to the representation of the body and the identity in historical discourse. " We should not forget the importance of naming the artist in other kinds of art historical discourse too, such as connoisseurship, attribution, and the definition of personal style. I have already explored the naming of Michelangelo, when I spoke about the self-representation of the artist at the beginning of this chapter.

Komar and Melamid, Self-Portrait. (By permission of the artists and Wadsworth Atheneum, Hartford, Connecticut) 24 / On the Threshold of Historiography in the biographical and autobiographical contexts, call attention to the usefulness of this book for the practitioner. Vasari, Komar and Melamid, and countless others constantly challenge us in what they make with the question: What is the artist? While this book may provide some responses to this provocative and important question, articulated by artists since the early Renaissance, it is not directly about the world of making and the contemporary artist, although they cannot be imagined without the philosophical and theoretical assumptions explored here.

In this book, I attempt to work at two levels: the historiographic methods and actual historical situation of the historian, and the representation of the artist in the biographical texts. 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.

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