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Canons and Values: Ancient to Modern

Edited by Larry Silver and Kevin Terraciano


A century ago, all art was evaluated through the lens of European classicism and its tradition. This volume explores the foundations of the European canon, offers a critical rethinking of ancient and classical art, and interrogates the canons of cultures that have often been left at the margins of art history. It underscores the historical and geographical diversity of canons and the local values underlying them.

Twelve international scholars consider how canons are constructed and contested, focusing on the relationship between canonical objects and the value systems that shape their hierarchies. Deploying an array of methodologies—including archaeological investigations, visual analysis, and literary critique—the authors examine canon formation throughout the world, including Africa, India, East Asia, Mesoamerica, South America, ancient Egypt, classical Greece, and Europe.

Global studies of art, which are dismantling the traditionally Eurocentric canon, promise to make art history more inclusive. But enduring canons cannot be dismissed. This volume raises new questions about the importance of canons—including those from outside Europe—for the wider discipline of art history.

Larry Silver is the Farquhar Professor, emeritus, of Art History at the University of Pennsylvania. Kevin Terraciano is professor of history and director of the Latin American Institute at the University of California, Los Angeles, and cofounder of the Getty Research Institute’s Digital Florentine Codex project.

“In the edited collection Canons and Values: Ancient to Modern, Larry Silver and Kevin Terraciano carried out significant research directions for the re-evaluations of traditions meant to reassess and reinforce the cultural heritage of the past.”
—Livia Stoenescu, Seventeenth-Century News

336 pages
7 x 10 inches
31 color and 58 b/w illustrations, 1 table
ISBN 978-1-60606-597-6

Getty Publications
Imprint: Getty Research Institute
Series: Issues & Debates