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Quatremère de Quincy's Moral Considerations on the Place and Purpose of Works of Art

Introduction and Translation

Antoine Chrysostome Quatremère de Quincy

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Geisteswissenschaften, Kunst, Musik / Kunst


Antoine Chrysostome Quatremère de Quincy (1755-1849) was the most important Neoclassical

art historian in the generation after Johann Joachim Winckelmann (1717-1768). It is difficult

now to appreciate his importance, due in part to the lack of translations of his 21 published

books: three were rendered into English in the 19th century, and one in the 21st. The Moral

Considerations has long been considered the most shattering polemic against public museums

ever written. But I will show that Quatremère’s polemic was aimed, not against museums per se,

but rather against the imperialist and secularist curatorial purposes of Parisian museums in the

age of Revolution. His Neoclassical commitments maintained the centrality of religion, and of

incarnation, to any proper understanding of the place and purpose of the fine arts.

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