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3/2018

Articles

Michael Gubser

Riegl, Phenomenology, and the Ethics of Vision

Riegl, fenomenologie a etika vidění

pp. 146–157

This essay argues that the Austrian art historian Alois Riegl’s concern for the visuality and ethics of attention in The Group Portraiture of Holland (1902) anticipated ethical concerns prevalent in the nascent phenomenological movement, outlined first in the works of Franz Brentano, Max Scheler and Edmund Husserl, and later developed by Emmanuel Levinas and others. Furthermore, Riegl’s mechanics of visual attention, laid out in his analysis of the gaze and the glance in Dutch art, provides a useful tool for elaborating phenomenological notions of intersubjectivity and the recognition of the other. The essay concludes by considering the visual ethics of Levinas’ English translator Alphonso Lingis, who developed a phenomenology of encounters with strangers in devel- oping countries, and compares it with Riegl’s analysis of encounters with temporally foreign subjects in historical paintings.

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Michaela Ramešová

Portál do Staré sněmovny. K původu a povaze vzorů all’antica v huti Benedikta Rieda

Portal to Old Diet Hall. On the Origins and Character of All’antica Forms

pp. 158–174

The portals created by Benedict Ried’s lodge for the Vladislav Hall at Prague Castle ca. 1500 were the pioneer Bohemian works inspired by all’antica forms. The forms of the portals may, in fact, be associated with three European traditions (the so-called Romanesque, Gothic, and Renaissance). The portal to the Old Diet Hall is particularly revealing in this regard consisting of a ‘Renaissance’ edicule, an entablature, and a round pediment supported by columns with spiral mouldings. The attic bases are decorated with spurs typical of ‘Romanesque’ art. The twisted pilasters suggest a ‘Gothic’ design method. The interpretations of the portal also seem heterogeneous. Both the forms of the portal and their interpretations will make sense though, if the portal is compared with liturgical furnishings (all’antica tabernacles) rather than large-scale portals. All the portal features seem to complement each other then. The round pediment and spiral forms were frequent in Italian Quattrocento tabernacles. In the European tradition, they were used to designate sacred and memorable places. Similarly, spiral columns served to allude to Solomon’s Temple, i.e. the prototype of any Christian church, altar/tabernacle housing the Eucharist. The architecturally conceived perspectival tabernacle became prevalent in the Italian Quattrocento. If such a model was taken up to create the Old Diet Hall portal, it might explain why the edicules are set behind each other. It would not be a misinterpretation, but rather a literal application of what such a model suggested: a perspectival ‘breech’ of the wall. The twisted pilasters may be explained in a similar way. The solomonic fluting could be close to Ried’s aesthetic feel with its focus on the dynamic and elusive. In this way, Ried could see the all’antica forms as suitable to develop his own methods. The spurs were widespread in 15th century Venetian sculpture. Since the Adriatic rim was part of the Venetian Republic, and Matthias Corvinus had political ties with Dalmatia, the models from these regions could easily make their way to Hungary via Dalmatian stonecutters who worked for Corvinus in Buda, as attested by archival data. The Vladislav Hall façade capital with a well (one of Corvinus’ emblems) clearly shows stonecutters from Buda came to Prague.

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Hubert Guzik

Architecture and Public Opinion Polls in Czechoslovakia shortly af er the Second World War

Architektura a průzkumy veřejného mínění v Československu krátce po druhé světové válce

pp. 175–192

In 1945–1948, a period of hybrid democracy and building of the welfare state, Czech architects and planners began asking how ‘our workers’ actually want to live. To ascertain the opinions and preferences of future residents of planned mass housing developments, they began to use public opinion polls. In Czechoslovakia, these surveys were conducted less frequently and a few years later than in Great Britain, Scandinavia, or France. However, they still provide a noteworthy and relatively comprehensive source of information. Polls, carried out around the time of the Two-year Economic Plan (1947–1948), were seen by functionalists as a foundation of democratic legitimacy of their work, an element that placed architectural design in the very centre of the new popular rule. The inclusion of statistically processed requirements of ‘our workers’ into the design process corresponded to the then common perception of architecture as a scientific field, which was meant to build on collectively elaborated and objectified findings. Paradoxically, however, the voice of ‘our workers’ was often considered by expert circles to be not qualified enough, and therefore not binding. Experts believed that popular masses were incapable of understanding the long-term perspective of mass housing construction or the course of welfare state development in general. And therefore, the wishes of future residents were subjected to strict filtration — only some of them were seen by sociologists, architects and investors as justified. Poll results thus influenced the form of built houses only occasionally. For architects and planners, public opinion polls also revealed areas in which ‘our workers’ should be re-educated, fully in the spirit of the technocratic social engineering of early post-war years.

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Archives

Klára Benešovská

Kauza Václav Mencl: někdo musí z kola ven. Příspěvek k výuce dějin umění v letech 1938–1952

The Case of Václav Mencl: Someone Has to Get Out of the Way Contribution to the Teaching of Art History between 1938–1952

pp. 193–203

The article focuses on Václav Mencl (1905–1978) as a teacher at the Philosophical Faculty of Charles University in Prague, where he began working after his forced relocation from Bratislava in the spring 1939 after the establishment of the Slovak State. Mencl was allowed to transfer his venia docendi to Prague from the university in Bratislava, where, after gaining his habilitation in 1938, he had been expected to replace the recently deceased František Žákavec. He began giving lectures at the Institute of Art History in the winter semester of 1939. After the Germans closed the universities, Mencl, besides working at the Office for Historical Preservation at the Ministry of Education and National Awareness in Prague, concentrated on his studies and documentation of medieval architecture and on publishing his findings, just as he had been doing in Slovakia. In May 1945 he returned to teaching at the faculty again, giving lectures on the history of medieval architecture in Czechoslovakia and introducing students to working in the field. However, his popularity and initiatives did not appeal to the head of the institute, Antonín Matějček. These disagreements came to a head when Matějček tried to prevent the Mencls and some of his students from travelling to France by sending a letter to the Cultural Attaché of the French Embassy in Prague. The President of Czechoslovakia had awarded them with a scholarship for a study trip to France as a reward for preparing the exhibition Prague Castle in the Middle Ages. In his letter, Matějček acussed Mencl of accepting the trip against university regulations. The situation was cleared up in explanatory letters between the university, the Office of the President of Czechoslovakia, the French Embassy, and the Ministry of Education, and the expedition left for France in spring 1947. The time for revenge came after February 1948, when Matějček’s devoted communiist students Jaromír Neumann and Milena Jagrová wrote a negative review of Mencl’s book Czech Architecture of the Luxembourg Period, condemning it as ideologically unsound. Mencl left the university in 1952, but fortunately was able to continue working at the Office for Historical Preservation, and also with students till 1978.

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Retrospections

Rostislav Švácha

Sigfried Giedion a české ohlasy jeho díla

Sigfried Giedion and the Czech Response to His Work

pp. 204–209

Throughout its existence, the magazine Umění has published reviews in which Czech art historians introduce important art historical works from abroad to a Czech readership. These included a review of Sigfried Giedion’s Space, Time, and Architecture (1941), appearing in Umění in 1944, written by Erich Winkler, who was a pupil of Julius von Schlosser at the University of Vienna. Winkler’s review is surrounded by mystery. It came out during World War II, when the Czech lands were occupied by the Nazis, and references a book published in the United States, that is in the territory of the enemy. Moreover, the author was not a specialist in modern architecture. Winkler’s review is brief and does not describe the rich content of Giedion’s book in all its breadth; unfortunately, neither did the following Czech reviews of Space, Time, and Architecture from 1947 and 1948. Czech reviewers focused greater attention on Giedion’s older book Bauen in Frankreich (1928). In this book, Giedion, a pupil of Heinrich Wölfflin, introduced themes to the academic field of art history which were important for interwar avant-garde architecture. His idea that a central motivating force in the history of architecture is the history of construction systems especially interested Karel Teige, the leader of the Czech avant-garde, who sought to cooperate with Giedion through the international architectural organization CIAM. However, any deeper understanding between the two figures was prevented by Teige’s radical leftist beliefs and later by the political turmoil in Czechoslovakia in 1948. In the 1960s, the Brno art historian Václav Richter became interested in the book Space, Time, and Architecture. As in the case of Giedion, Richter followed the historical transformations of architectural space and proposed a parallel between the use of open space in modern architecture and the use of space in borrominian Baroque.

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Reviews

Jan Fiřt

Daniela Rywiková, Speculum Mortis

pp. 210–213

Kateřina Horníčková

Ondřej Jakubec, Kde jest, ó smrti, osten tvůj?

pp. 214–216

Jakub Bachtík

Petr Uličný (ed.), Architektura Albrechta z Valdštejna

pp. 216–221

Martina Bezoušková

Catherine Chevillot — Antoinette Le Normand-Romain (edd.), Rodin. Le livre ducentenaire

pp. 222–225

Miroslav Marcelli

Monika Mitášová (ed.), Vladimír Dedeček. Interpretácie architektonického diela

pp. 226–228

Annotations

pp. 229–232

Acquisitions of Art History Sources

pp. 233–237

Česká resumé / English Summaries

pp. 238–242