Social History of Art

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Mentors, Web Designer, Self-Portraits

Jan Bialostocki, Sydney Freedberg, James Ackerman, Konrad Oberhuber, RB

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Jan Bialostocki, Sydney Freedberg, James Ackerman, Konrad Oberhuber, RB
taken on the steps of the Fogg Museum in 1977 or 1978 / Freedberg (tan raincoat) was an old-school connoisseur and formalist - at a time when I was an old school iconographer with an interest in formal analysis as a writing and looking exercise. My first undergraduate paper in Art History was written at Kenyon in 1972 on Pontormo's frescoes at the Certosa di Galluzzo, The only thing I could find on Pontormo then was Freedberg's "Painting of the High Renaissance in Rome and Florence." I was captivated by his artificial writing style and spent three years imitating it when writing formal analysis papers. These efforts culminated in a NYU paper on Bronzino - written in pure Freedbergian - which I submitted as a writing sample in my application to Harvard. As I told Sydney in a letter two weeks before he died, I was his student long before I met him and I retained much of value from his writing and teaching long after my path diverged into social art history. By the time of this photo, Konrad was my adviser - note his left hand - and Jim Ackerman a second mentor (behind Freedberg). When Jan Bialostocki (left) came to give a lecture, I volunteered to pick him up at the airport. / Photo: RB
Posted by Robert Baldwin on October 10, 2010 Full Size| Slideshow