The Barbarian Invasions: A Genealogy of the History of Art
Authors: Michaud, Eric
Publisher: MIT Press
Synopsis: How the history of art begins with the myth of the barbarian invasion—the romantic fragmentation of classical eternity.
The history of art, argues Éric Michaud, begins with the romantic myth of the barbarian invasions. Viewed from the nineteenth century, the Germanic-led invasions of the Roman Empire in the fifth century became the gateway to modernity, seen not as a catastrophe but as a release from a period of stagnation, renewing Roman culture with fresh, northern blood—and with new art that was anti-Roman and anticlassical. Artifacts of art from then on would be considered as the natural product of “races” and “peoples” rather than the creation of individuals. The myth of the barbarian invasions achieved the fragmentation of classical eternity.
This narrative, Michaud explains, inseparable from the formation of nation states and the rise of nationalism in Europe, was based on the dual premise of the homogeneity and continuity of peoples. Local and historical particularities became weapons aimed at classicism's universalism. The history of art linked its objects with racial groups—denouncing or praising certain qualities as “Latin” or “Germanic.” Thus the predominance of linear elements was thought to betray a southern origin, and the “painterly” a Germanic or northern source. Even today, Michaud points out, it is said that art best embodies the genius of peoples. In the globalized contemporary art market, the ethnic provenance of works—categorized, for example, as “African American,” “Latino,” or “Native American”—creates added value. The market displays the same competition among “races” that was present at the foundation of art history as a discipline.
Watch the power of
Lightsail in action
SUPPORT GROWING READERS
Immediately Engage Students
Simple intuitive design has classrooms reading within minutes.
Exponentially Grow Reading Time
Students love the LightSail experience and naturally spend more time reading.
Accelerate Literacy Development
Students reading 25 minutes a day on LightSail are seeing 2+ years of Lexile growth in a single year.
LightSail Education is a comprehensive LexileⓇ and standards-aligned,
literacy platform and digital
library. Including multimodal learning functionality and featuring books from leading publishers,
holistically assesses and nurtures each student on their reading and writing-to-learn journey,
elementary, middle, and high school.
Quick & Easy LightSail Tips to Help Prepare Students for Spring Testing
Believe it or not, test prep season is upon us. With just a few adjustments to your normal LightSail reading block, you can use our platform to help students prepare… Read more
From Powwows to Potlatches: Creating a Native American Themed Unit in Rosen-LightSail
November was Native American Heritage Month. Did you know that more than five million people of Native American decent currently live in the United States? The U.S. is home to… Read more
Celebrating Hispanic Heritage & Culture
At Rosen-LightSail, we are committed to celebrating diversity everyday. From September 15th – October 15th, we specifically celebrate National Hispanic Heritage Month by recognizing the contributions of Hispanic and Latinx… Read more
*LightSail offers a 2,000 or a 6,000 title bundle with its student subscriptions. Other titles are available
for individual purchase.