ALEJANDRO MARTÍNEZ (scientific edition)
History of the Arts among the Ancients by Johann Joachim Winckelmann. Work translated from German into French and from French into Spanish in 1784 and illustrated with some notes by Diego Antonio Rejón de Silva, Académico de Honór de la Real de San Fernando.
Real Academia de Bellas Artes de San Fernando
235 × 165 mm
The translation by Diego Antonio Rejón de Silva, whose manuscript has been deposited in the Archive-Library of the Royal Academy of Fine Arts of San Fernando since 1797 and which we are now finally publishing, plays an important role in this account. Both this author’s efforts to make Winckelmann’s text accessible to a wider public and the fact that his efforts were cut short represent equally interesting and, in a certain sense, complementary aspects of the complex framework in which Enlightenment thought was forged, showing that there is something refractory between Spain and the aesthetic and political ideals represented by this author at the end of the 18th century.
His reception in Spain has not been evaluated in depth until recently. A challenge that is beginning to bear fruit, mainly after the holding of the congress El legado de Winckelmann en España/Das Vermächtnis von Johann Joachim Winckelmann in Spanien held at the Real Academia de Bellas Artes de San Fernando in October 2011. His imprint has been sought in his relations with Spaniards living in Rome and in the presence of his works in public and private libraries in Spain at that time, but also in the general context of the reception of the classical world in the theory of the Fine Arts and, most especially, through Anton Raphael Mengs. However, and even if we believe it to be a conditioning factor in Reflections on Beauty and Taste in Painting, it is worth asking: was Mengs’s success an obstacle to the publication of his admired friend’s work, or should we consider other reasons in the content of his ideas or, at least, in the context in which they were received in post-1789 Europe?
The purpose of this edition is to make Rejón de Silva’s publishing project accessible, thus contributing to the body of literary sources of the period for the analysis of neoclassical reception in Spain. From it we can deduce aspects derived from the exercise of translation as an aesthetic and political response on the part of the person who undertakes it. A particular “aesthetics of translation” that could well help us to better understand the reception of Johann Joachim Winckelmann in Spain during the Enlightenment. Published by the Real Academia de Bellas Artes de San Fernando, the scientific edition of this work is the work of Alejandro Martínez Pérez (PhD student in the Department of History and Theory of Art at the Universidad Autónoma de Madrid), with the collaboration of Bárbara Avezuela Aristu, Susana Delgado Ibáñez and Cristina Martínez Delgado in the edition, design and revision.
More information on the RABASF website