3 S03 Essay

1561 words - 7 pages

This book my Millard Meiss is addressing an area of study that is lacking. This text while informative is difficult to follow and the puts a lot of pressure on the reader to connect the dots. The content of the early renaissance can often be a difficult time in art history to nail down and discuss just because it is on the cusp of the late medieval and the renaissance itself. As any time of transition it can be difficult to understand what is happening in the world of art but may have been more convincing if he had placed this Tuscan period within the context of Europe as a whole at the time .This text by Millard Meiss helps the audience contextualize what was was happening in Italy after the black death and in doing so we understand the art world that much better. That being said the way in which Miess goes about making the argument that the art of this time is regressive, is problematic. In response to the question posed by this assignment how effective in my view is Millard Meiss’s argumentation? I am coming from the stand point that his argument is not effective. His argument is problematic because it is unclear, difficult to follow, lacks cohesion, and puts too much work on the reader. These elemental issues with his writing and argumentation are what in my view render the argument Millard Meiss is trying to make ineffective throughout his text “Painting in Florence and Siena after the Black Death”.
Furthermore, one of the major issues with the argument that Meiss is making in this text are the grand stylistic generalizations to help support his argument. Within art history as a discipline stylistic generalizations are used as a way to help us keep the often confusing and difficult to nail down world of art in order. This is a notion that simultaneously helps and hinders art history as a discipline. While these stylistic categories give the discipline structure, these so called styles never exist in isolation. With analysis and study of any work it is clear that there is really no such thing as one style present in any one work. Artists are influenced by conventions of the time, the patrons and the traditions of subject matter. Without at least mentioning that this is sentiment of style and it’s less rigid framework is the issue for me as a reader because it does not allow for further interpretation. Meiss seems to be very selective about what he is trying to say and therefore selective about what information he is sharing with the readers. This helps make his argument in the text seem solid alone but with knowledge of art history it is clear how selective Meiss has been in constructing this text.
In addition, in “Painting in Florence and Siena after the Black Death”, Meiss seems to just bunch works under these umbrellas of style. In particular in the introduction Meiss refers to style in Florence as being Giottesque or anti- Giottesque in terms of style , which is difficult because defining an era by the style of one artist is nearly...

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