Jonathan Gilmore
CUNY Graduate Center
It is a commonplace now among art historians that to say, with Ruskin, that an artist had an "innocent eye" was to give the artist an empty compliment. It would have been to say that the artist possessed something no one could possess, and that, if we follow E. H. Gombrich, the artist was not part of the history of art. Gombrich's goal was to show that the history of art was constituted by artists "making and matching" as they saw and represented more accurately the objects with which their predecessors were only dimly acquainted. So an artist with an "innocent eye" would stand outside of history, or at least outside of history as Gombrich tells it; the artist's work being irrreconcilable with the works that flanked it before and after
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DOI 10.2307/431735
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