Hans Belting, Lecture and I Tatti Mongan Prize


Wednesday, September 25, 2013, 6:00pm to 7:00pm

Lino Pertile, director of Villa I Tatti, is pleased to announce that on 25 September, at 6:00 pm, Hans Belting will give a public lecture on " Inventing Painting as 'Art': A New Look at Giovanni Bellini ." On this occasion, Professor Belting will be presented with the I Tatti Mongan Prize.

Giovanni Bellini has been studied mostly for his iconography and his painting style but rarely for his place in the early history of the Venetian art collection, for which he developed the first ideas and ideals. Equally, he merits a new look with respect to the nascent concept of “Art” which, on the eve of the Giorgione generation, stands out for his personal preference  for lyrical  “vaghezza” and “fantasia” against the prevailing taste for narrative and drama. The lecture discusses Bellini's overlooked  allusions to, and sometimes quotations from, ancient and contemporary literature such as Virgil, Propertius, and Petrarch. He uses these as guidelines for the redefinition of painting as another form of poetry, and thus as “Art”. 

All are welcome to attend the lecture, free of charge, but RSVP following this link.

The I Tatti Mongan Prize is given to a distinguished scholar of Renaissance art or connoisseurship who carries into a new generation the qualities of imaginative scholarship, personal generosity, and devotion to the institutions of art history that were exemplified in their own generation by Agnes and Elizabeth Mongan. It was created to honor these two scholars, thanks to a generous gift from Melvin Seiden in 1986, and has been awarded to Sydney J. Freedberg (1988), Craig Hugh Smyth (1992), Ernst Gombrich (1996), Caroline Elam (2003), Paola Barocchi (2006), and Elizabeth Cropper (2011).

Hans Belting

Hans Belting is co-founder of the Hochschule für Gestaltung (School for New Media) at Karlsruhe, where he taught for ten years as professor of art history and media theory. Previously he held chairs of art history at the universities of Heidelberg and Munich. In the United States, he taught as visiting professor at Harvard University (1984), Columbia University (1989), and Northwestern University (2004). In 2003, he held the European Chair at the Collège de France and received an honorary degree from the Courtauld Institute. From 2004 to 2007, he acted as Director of the International Center for Cultural Science (Vienna). At present, he is advisor for the Global Art and the Museum project at the Center for Art and Media (ZKM), Karlsruhe. He is member of the American Philosophical Society, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the Medieval Academy of America, and the Academia Europea. In Germany, he was elected as member of the Orden Pour le Merite für Wissenschaften und Künste; in France, he was appointed Officier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres; in Hungary, he was elected as honorary member of the Academy of Sciences. Among his books, which have been translated in ten languages, are The End of the History of Art? (1987); Likeness and Presence. A History of Images Before the Era of Art (1994); The Invisible Masterpiece(2001); Bosch’s Garden of Earthly Delights (2003); Art History After Modernism (2003); Thomas Struth: Museum Photographs (2006); The Global Art World. Audiences, Markets, Museums (edited, with Andrea Buddensieg; 2009); Looking through Duchamp’s Door (2010), An Anthropology of Images(2011); Florence and Baghdad. Renaissance Art and Arab Science (2011); and The Global Contemporary and the Rise of New Artworlds (edited, with Andrea Buddensieg and Peter Weibel; 2013). His most recent book, a history of the face, will appear later this year.

Agnes and Elizabeth Mongan
Agnes Mongan (1905-1996) was a distinguished curator and connoisseur of drawings ranging from the Italian Renaissance to the nineteenth and twentieth centuries in France. She was a scrupulous scholar, an inspired teacher, and a person of integrity and generosity. Her love of the art of the past was complemented by a great appreciation of the art of her own century. Her path-finding career, unconventional for a woman in her time, included positions as Keeper, later Curator of Drawings at the Fogg Museum of Art at Harvard University, and culminated in the directorship of that museum from 1969 to 1971. Her retirement was honored by various visiting professorships and other forms of recognition including the Kress Professorship at the National Gallery of Art. She was one of the distinguished American art historians of the interwar and postwar decades.

Elizabeth Mongan (1910-2002) was a connoisseur of prints and drawings and the first curator of the Lessing J. Rosenwald collection, the finest collection of prints then in private hands. Over the years she helped to steer the collection in the direction of color prints from late-nineteenth and twentieth-century France as well as twentieth-century Germany. She wrote significant catalogs on Klee, Fragonard, Morisot, Daumier and Gauguin, as well as one on the pioneering exhibition in Chicago in 1941 on printmaking in the fifteenth century. She retired from the National Gallery in 1963 and taught art history at Smith College from 1969 to 1975.