Henry Colburn deposited A Brief Historiography of Parthian Art, from Winckelmann to Rostovtzeff in the group Classical archaeology on Humanities Commons 9 months ago
The early history of the study of Parthian art may be profitably divided into three overlapping phases. The first phase, ‘Ordering’, begins with Johann Joachim Winckelmann’s dismissive assessment of Parthian art, at this point known mainly from coins, as derivative and barbaric. The second phase, ‘Exploration’, begins in the mid-nineteenth century with the advent of archaeological excavation in Mesopotamia and the documentation of rock reliefs and architectural remains in Persia by travellers such as Flandin and Coste. The third phase, ‘Grand Narratives’, occurs primarily in the 1930s, when the first major efforts to synthesize Parthian art were undertaken by Arthur Upham Pope, Ernst Herzfeld, Neilson Debevoise and Michael Rostovtzeff. While Pope and Herzfeld treated Parthian art as a nadir between the Achaemenid and Sasanian Empires, a view adopted in many subsequent studies, Debevoise and Rostovtzeff considered it to be a vibrant and original phenomenon.