Orient oder Rom
The Silesian-born art historian Josef Strzygowski (1862–1941) was a controversial scholar in his own time and remains a problematic figure in the historiography of art. His acrimonious disputes with his contemporaries divided the art history department at the University of Vienna. He was also anti-Semitic, regarding late antique art as decadent and the Middle Eastern influences he discerned in it as pernicious. Nevertheless, he was one of the earliest art historians to step outside the Eurocentric mainstream and travel to remote locations to study artworks almost unknown in the West. In this short, provocative study, originally published in 1901 following a visit to the royal museum in Berlin, he argued that early medieval art and architecture owed as much to the Middle East as to ancient Greece and Rome. Each chapter focuses on a particular early Christian site or artefact, with detailed analysis, illustrations, and comparisons with other works.