Classical antiquities and fine art

Among the first to emphasise the importance of such details, and to provide line drawings of those which they considered to be the most significant, were the Englishman, Sir Joseph Arthur Crowe and the Italian, Giovanni Battista Cavalcaselle.

Portrait of Sir J A Crowe
  • Portrait of Sir Joseph Arthur Crowe (1877) by Louis Kulitz
Photo of G B Cavalcaselle
  • Photograph of Giovanni Battista Cavalcaselle
Drawing from Crowe's publication
  • Drawing from Crowe and Cavalcaselles' publication

Trained in draughtsmanship, they used line drawings to identify and commit to memory individual styles. Their New History of Painting in Italy and The Early Flemish Painters: Notices of their Lives and Works appeared in 1850s when Cavalcaselle was in London, working at the National Gallery.

When this museum opened in 1838 interest in a national collection of paintings and drawings grew, and the British monarchy's German lineage encouraged close relations with German scholars, who were the leading art historians and classical archaeologists of the time. Gustav Waagen's account of art treasures in Britain, for example, was published when the National Gallery opened. Waagen's book inspired a younger German archaeologist, Adolf Michaelis, to prepare an extensive catalogue of the country's classical sculpture, later published as Ancient Marbles in Great Britain.

Michaelis dedicated his book to the director of the National Gallery. Its first director, Sir Charles Eastlake, had also enlisted the services of the German dealer and art historian Otto Mündler who is said to have inspired the Italian Giovanni Morelli (1816-1891) to develop a new method of studying paintings, a method which would later be used for pottery by classical archaeologists.

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