More on the division of disciplines

"Whether or not the subject of a painting actually existed has no bearing on the painting itself." Really?

Tuesday’s meeting of “Problems in Early Christian Art” led to two fascinating developments. One was a classmate making the baldest, most militant statement I could imagine about enforcing the separation of Art History from History as a whole: “Whether or not the subject of a painting actually existed has no bearing on the painting itself.” I find that to be a truly remarkable statement on all sorts of levels.

Incidentally, this was the same person who told me, “You can’t do that,” when I attempted to relate what we were reading to St. Nectarios’ monastery, which makes the second development even more notable: after having told me last week that it was dangerous and problematic to try to apply Cormack’s line of questioning to a contemporary example, because “we cannot assume they are the same”, this student asked the professor at the end of this week’s class, “So, why is St. Nectarios’ monastery the same as everything else we’ve looked at?”



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