Anthony CutlerChercheur invité

Mai - Juillet 2021

Anthony Cutler, Evan Pugh Professor of Art History, emeritus, was educated at Trinity College, Cambridge where he received his B.A. with honours (1952-55) and M.A. (1960). He received his Ph.D. from Emory University in 1963. Among many fellowships, he has been the Gennadius Fellow at the American School of Classical Studies at Athens. Cutler was Resident in Art History at the American Academy in Rome (1992) and Senior Fellow at the Center for Advanced Study in the Visual Arts, National Gallery of Art (1999-2000). In 2001-2002, he won the Humboldt Research Prize and was a Guggenheim Foundation Fellow from 2002-2003. From 2011-2012, Cutler was Slade Professor of Fine Art at Oxford University. His first book was Leo Allatios: The Newer Temples of the Greeks (1969). In 1985 he published The Craft of Ivory and in 1994 The Hand of the Master (Princeton University Press). In addition, he has published more than 150 papers in scholarly journals. Cutler's recent research focuses on the history of collecting of late antique, Byzantine and medieval ivory carvings.  

Publications (selected)

  • Transfigurations. Studies in the Dynamics of Byzantine Iconography, The Pennsylvania State University Press, University Park, 1976 
  • The Craft of Ivory. Sources, Techniques and Uses in the Mediterranean World, A.D. 200-1400, Dumbarton Oaks, Washington, D.C., 1985
  • The Hand of the Master.  Craftsmanship, Ivory, and Society in Byzantium (9th-11th Centuries), Princeton University Press, Princeton, N.J., 1994 
  • The Empire of Things: Gifts and Gift Exchange across Byzantium, the Early Muslim World and Beyond, Oxford University Press, (in preparation)

Research project

In the course of the last forty years I have autoptically examined and extensively published on almost all known late antique and Byzantine ivory carvings. Inter alia, the results of this work allow one to postulate the links, technical and chronological, between these specimens, and to trace their history, both as material objects and in terms of their provenances. What is needed now is to correlate this evidence with the testimony in early modern printed sources for their acquisition, possession, exchange, transfer and scholarly study.

Records of this sort are to be found in the carteggi not only of such famous antiquaries as Anton Francesco Gori (1699-1757) but of his teacher and contemporaries, such as Filippo Buonarroti, Scipione Maffei and Sebastiano Donati. Some of these were incorporated by Giovan Battista Passeri in a posthumous supplement (1759) to Gori's Thesaurus, and are nominally accessible online. But the quality of reproduction leaves much to be desired, obscuring both details of carving in the original ivories and misreadings of the engravers that in themselves document early modern attitudes towards antiquity. The passion for ivory in the early modern era is ultimately the ethos that concerns me.