Art history needs no “reason” or “justification” any more than do other historical pursuits. What history studies is the past of humanity out of which, no matter how distant, our own humanity has been generated in an uninterrupted, endless causal chain. In the study of the links that constitute this chain there is not only the explanation of what we have come to be and how, but the opportunity to relive some portions of past time, experiencing them profoundly in the mind and spirit, knowing through the historian’s powers of resurrection the events and actors of the past.

“Ordinary” history, made out of that which verbal information can transmit and verbal description recreate of the past, differs in a crucial sense from art history in the nature of the evidence that art history uses. Political events, sociological forms, or the circumstances of an economy have...


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