The late 1830s witnessed the near-simultaneous announcement of two inventions that would redefine the relationship between art and industry in the decades to follow: word of the first photographic processes reached the international scientific community from France and England, while the innovation of electrotyping (a method of metal casting using electricity) was ultimately credited as an achievement of Prussian engineering.
This lecture explores the profound consequences these technologies had on the definition and perception of sculpture in the late nineteenth century. In an age of mass reproduction, what hold did historical sculptural monuments have on bodily integrity, and could they still be relied upon to convey ideas about the past into present experience?
Megan R. Luke is an associate professor in the Department of Art History at the University of Southern California and Professor and Chair of Modern and Contemporary Art at the Kunsthistorisches Institut, Universität Tübingen.
This free lecture is held in conjunction with the exhibition Wonder and Wakefulness: The Nature of Pliny the Elder. A reception will follow. Cosponsored by the Department of Classics and the Media Studies program at Cornell University.
Above, at left: Buster de Milo, ca. 1932. American actor Buster Keaton posing as the Venus de Milo with a hat, a sheet, and boots in a promotional portrait. (Photo: Hulton Archive/Getty Images)