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The House of Art

Modern Residences of Artists as the Subject and Space of Creation

Andrzej Pieńkos

The term «house of art» designates the cultural phenomenon and creative mode in modernity associated with an artist’s residence as his own creation and as his product of a need to create which is unfulfilled in the painter’s, writer’s or composer’s actual field. This book discusses the most important of these creations from the 18 th century to the beginning of the 20 th , including gardens as well as the artist’s space, broadly understood, annexed by his imagination. An artist’s shaping of his own residence was most commonly a secondary area of his creative work. The formula for a «house of art» is specific to the particular artist and does not have to fit within any given architectural or decorative style. It may conform to the traditions of a residence (artist’s palace, cottage etc), but most often it forms an individual case.


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Chapter 6:. A museum, a mausoleum, a reliquary of art, a temple of the artist


187 Chapter 6: A museum, a mausoleum, a reliquary of art, a temple of the artist The ceremonial public viewing of the body of the sculptor Vincenzo Vela in the centre of the grand hall of his house in Ligornetto, and the “coat of arms” composed of painting utensils hanging above the entrance to Jan Matejko’s neo- Renaissance house in Cracow (Fig. 119 and 120), as if inspired by Federico Zuc- cari in Florence, are two different yet equally characteristic symptoms of the transformation of the house of an artist into an object of cult433. These symptoms border on the grotesque, as do many other manifestations of the exaggerated Romantic ennoblement of art and its creators. This chapter attempts to trace the various forms of the sacralisation of an artist’s residence/place which could be observed in the 19th century. The earliest concepts of transforming the house of an artist into a museum or of instituting a museum that would be a tribute to a given creator appeared only a decade after the inception of ordinary museums of art in their mature form (the Louvre in Paris and the Museo Pio-Clementino in the Vatican are model examples of this category). Such sacralisation has a  distinct and well-known forerunner in the early modern period: Casa Buonarroti in Florence, which was turned into a monument to Michelangelo not long after his death.434 It was not an “artist’s house” in the modern definition of the term, yet because the building had been in Michelangelo’s...

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