The Substitution Principle Revisited

Source: Notes in the History of Art 37 (3):150-157 (2018)
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In their Anachronic Renaissance, Alexander Nagel and Christopher Wood identify two principles upon which, in fifteenth-century Europe, a work of art might establish its validity or authority: substitution and performance. It has become established wisdom that the dual schema of substitution and performance follows Hans Belting's dualism of the medieval cult of the image and the modern aesthetic system of art. This, I submit, is not just a mistake, but also prevents from evaluating one of the book's most ambitious contributions to art-historical theory on its own merits. An analysis of the structure of the claims made by Nagel and Wood brings to light that the two concepts—substitution and performance—do not play the same role as the conceptual pair of Bild and Kunst in Belting's influential work.
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Archival date: 2019-10-01
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