The representation of general art history in the nineteenth century is the centre of attention of this essay. It examines, in particular, the structural characteristics from 1845 to 1856 of Denkmaler des Kunst (Monuments of Art), a collection of engravings which constitutes the visual supplement to the first text of general art history, Handbuch der Kunstgeschichte (1841-42) by Franz Kugler. The impact of this largely neglected pictorial 'atlas', early on metaphorized as a 'museum'. is connected to comparable visual regimes of a later date, especially Malraux's photographic 'museum without walls', but also Warburg's Memory Atlas, the open-ended possibilities of the post-photographic practices and the web. Intersected is an argument with Danto's Hegelian 'end of art' thesis, ushering in a more closely contextualized reading of the 'end' of art history from a contemporary, media-saturated viewpoint. It all begins, and ends, with Warhol's postmodern version of Raphael's vision: the Sistine Madonna.
2001. Vol. 24, no 4, 552-577 p.