Hubert Damisch

Hubert Damisch is Emeritus Professor of the History and Theory of Art at the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales, Paris. Over the course of a long and distinguished career, he has held posts at Cornell University, Columbia University, and the Center for Advanced Studies in the Visual Arts, Washington. He is the author of The Origin of Perspective, The Judgment of Paris, Skyline: The Narcissistic City, and A Theory of Cloud: Toward a History of Painting.

  • Noah's Ark

    Noah's Ark

    Essays on Architecture

    Hubert Damisch and Anthony Vidler

    From Noah's Ark to Diller + Scofidio's “Blur” Building, a distinguished art historian maps new ways to think about architecture's origin and development.

    Trained as an art historian but viewing architecture from the perspective of a “displaced philosopher,” Hubert Damisch in these essays offers a meticulous parsing of language and structure to “think architecture in a different key,” as Anthony Vidler puts it in his introduction. Drawn to architecture because it provides “an open series of structural models,” Damisch examines the origin of architecture and then its structural development from the nineteenth through the twenty-first centuries. He leads the reader from Jean-François Blondel to Eugène Viollet-le-Duc to Mies van der Rohe to Diller + Scofidio, with stops along the way at the Temple of Jerusalem, Vitruvius's De Architectura, and the Louvre. In the title essay, Damisch moves easily from Diderot's Encylopédie to Noah's Ark (discussing the provisioning, access, floor plan) to the Pan American Building to Le Corbusier to Ground Zero. Noah's Ark marks the origin of construction, and thus of architecture itself. Diderot's Encylopédie entry on architecture followed his entry on Noah's Ark; architecture could only find its way after the Flood.

    In these thirteen essays, written over a span of forty years, Damisch takes on other histories and theories of architecture to trace a unique trajectory of architectural structure and thought. The essays are, as Vidler says, “a set of exercises” in thinking about architecture.

    • Paperback $30.95 £24.00
  • The Origin of Perspective

    The Origin of Perspective

    Hubert Damisch

    In part a response to Panofsky's Perspective as Symbolic Form, The Origin of Perspective is much more. In France it is considered one of the most important works of art history to have appeared in the last twenty years. With the exception of Michel Foucault's analysis of Las Meninas, it is perhaps the first time a structuralist method such as the one developed by Claude Lé©-Strauss in The Way of the Masks has been thoroughly and convincingly applied to Western art. The task Damisch has set for himself is to refute both the positivist critics, whose approach makes up the bulk of perspective studies and is based on a complete repression of Panofsky's early work, and the current pseudo-avant-gardist position (whether in the field of cinema studies or in literary criticism), which tends to disregard facts and theoretical analysis. Damisch argues that if a theoretical analysis of perspective is possible, using all the tools of structuralist semiotics, it is only possible in the context of a close look at its appearance in history, beginning with the details of the "invention" of perspective.

    • Hardcover $75.00
    • Paperback $40.00