SIRACUSANO Gabriela Silvana
congresos y reuniones científicas
Matter as document of the past. Reflections between art history and chemistry
Buenos Aires
Conferencia; 9th Biennial International Conference of the Infrared and Raman Users Group; 2010
Institución organizadora:
Facultad de Ciencias Exactas y Naturales (UBA) y Infrared and Raman Group
On 22 November 1973, the art historian Ernst Gombrich pronounced the Roman Lecture “Art history and social sciences” at the Sheldonian Theatre in Oxford. In it, he exposed the tension in the game that involves the interaction between the history of art and the other social sciences in the interpretation and assessment of the works of art from the past. The problem of attributions and dates, the illusory reflection of the images within the economic and social conditions of production - which, as well stated, are distorted mirrors reflecting more our own way to address them or understanding them than the reliable image of past realities - the aesthetic elections of artists in the pursuit of aims and technical means that strengthen their function, the role of tradition and conventions in the construction of style, or the logic of the situations in the conformation and validation of the canon, were some of the topics related to the discipline of the history of art which Gombrich introduced to challenge to the spread of Marxists sociological art studies and to proclaim what we can notice as one of the boldest thesis of his career. That is: all social sciences should be prepared to act as servants of art history. To bring to memory such a statement, to extend it to all sciences, and eventually, to proclaim it in a forum in which chemists, physics, and conservators are present in the audience can result in an action quite risky and even dangerous to my person. However, I like challenges. I will try then to apply the same method that the former director of the Warburg Institute applied to sustain his thesis - i.e. to submit a set of conjectures to the game of the trial and error prioritizing the weigth of refutations – in order to test this statement in the framework of the practices that involves the meeting between the art history, chemistry and conservation.