How Bernard Bernson became the classic of art criticism?
This person lived almost whole century. And in itself became the epoch-making phenomenon in science about art.
Bernard Bernson as many unique people of the last one and a half centuries, was given birth within the Russian Empire (in one of towns near Vilna, in 1865) also went to America (ten-year-old it was taken away there by parents).
Here, in Boston, it found an opportunity to develop the abilities, to decide on interests and to choose to itself(himself) business for the rest of life. Learned the classic and modern languages - Hebrew, Arab, Latin, east, European. Very much was interested in Russia, acted as the researcher of the Russian literature.
In Boston, and then at Harvard university studied art history. In the same time, in 1880 - e years, met Isabella Gardner who was ready to spend huge money for drawing up own art gallery. From it - that the help also had an opportunity studied at lectures - painting works - to see in originals.
In the second half of decade, in 1887 - 1888, Bernson managed suit for himself a trip to Europe - for the beginning researcher of painting it was vital. Then its choice in art criticism was issued finally, from much one was chosen - painting of the Italian Renaissance.
The way of the art critic lay to Paris, in the well-known treasury - Louvre, with his Botticelli and Leonardo da Vinci. Then - there where professionals worked the highest level - to London and Oxford (we will remember, the Victorian England not only generated by then a prerafaelitizm (having based it on the perception of the early Renaissance), but also theoretically proved this current in painting).
In the searches Bernson, of course, could not bypass a cradle of that art which studied, - Italy. By bicycle he traveled all over the country - from one gallery to another, from the monastery to the monastery. It literally absorbed in itself(himself) impressions of meetings with pictures and frescos, but also fixed these impressions - in reproductions, sketches, filled a card file and library.
Italy, communication with painting works - and with the colleagues who are given by art critics of that time. And again England, then Scotland. There, in estates of the English nobility, family collections remained for descendants - and for completeness of research Bernson needed extremely to see everything, to imprint in memory.
It is necessary to understand what then was a situation with studying of ancient painting. The art criticism as science was in embryo. Art galleries, especially out of Italy, contained a set false “ Rafaelya “ and “ Leonardo “. Demand on “ names “ existed, it also defined the offer of fakes, and also desire to attribute “ great “ not attributed works, it is frequent - badly restored, or not restored at all.
As it is possible to give an example the fact from Bernard Bernson`s life. In 1895 in London the exhibition of the Venetian painting from private galleries was organized. From thirty three “ Titsianov “ Bernson as counterfeit excluded from the catalog thirty two. From eighteen “ Giorgione “ were deleted by it - all 18!
The art critic after the big account - the expert. So was earlier, so is and now. The expert before whose eyes there passed thousands of works of art in originals and reproductions (by the way, only the colleague can understand this terrible thirst of the art critic for the original, the original is necessary to the professional to understand work and the artist!) which is based, perhaps, on these impressions which are saved most up by memory more, than on formal knowledge of styles and eras.
And there is a formation of the scientist - the art critic - during accumulation of data on separate works and their authors, about “ handwriting “ them, about own style in style of an era. So there was an art critic and Bernson - in communication with painting works, in development of the scientific device. During knowledge and accumulation of experience he perfected the main tool - perfect sense of style. So it defined characteristics of painting of the Italian Renaissance, revealed feature of regional styles - “ " schools;: Venetian, Florentine, so-so - and North Italian.
Having realized one purpose - most fully to imagine heritage of the Italian Renaissance, Bernson realized also more considerable task. He constantly analyzed collected material. The index published in 1932 - 1936 - the " catalog became a result of this work; The List of the art Italian directors and their works with the indication of location “. Reprinting of it “ " index; in 1957 contained more than one thousand three hundred reproductions of pictures of artists of only one Venetian school (from Bernson`s photograph collection).
For the Russian reader Bernson - first of all the author three times the republished book “ Painters of the Italian Renaissance “. It is the magnificent book written clearly and passionately, entering the reader into a treasury of original art. To study the Italian painting by means of Bernson`s book - occupation not only enriching with knowledge and impressions, but also endowing the reader with joyful feeling of a meeting with good literature.
Bernard Bernson not in America where he was brought from Russia by parents, namely in Italy, in fact, found the homeland. In 1905 it got a country house And Tatti on the suburb of Florence. There he lived and worked. On the fees (and they, at a great demand on services of the professional in attribution of works of painting, were huge) he contained a country house, equipped it, created gardens on the project of the English architect. Here the researcher`s card files gathering decades, library, photograph collections were stored. Here he endured both the first, and second world wars. Respected by the local population “ doctor “ it was saved by local police from fascists.
Before death in 1959, together with all collections of documents and books, architectural constructions and gardens, Bernson gave this country house to Harvard. Now there is a Center of studying of the Italian Renaissance. Fifteen researchers from around the world have an opportunity to apply annually for grants of this Center for work on projects, the concerning different aspects of the Renaissance in Italy.