Article cover
Renaissance Patterns


Heinrich Wölfflin’s Classic Patterns of the Renaissance

Christine Tauber

Published online:

04 Mar 2024



This essay examines Heinrich Wölfflin’s patterns of judgement in his pioneering art-historical study Classic Art, first published in 1899. By using the anti-historicist concept of the “classic”, he systematically withdraws the art of the High Renaissance from historical change in order to erect it as a protective shield against the transience of unclassic modernism and contemporary life. This proto-structuralist act of creating order by means of pattern comparisons in the timeless realm of beauty conceives the art historian as both an intellectual aristocrat with artistic ambitions and a conservator of the eternities of classic art.

Other articles in this issue:

Zeitschrift für Kunstgeschichte Issues

Volume 87 (2024)
Volume 86 (2023)
Volume 85 (2022)
Volume 84 (2021)
Volume 83 (2020)
Volume 82 (2019)
Volume 81 (2018)
Volume 80 (2017)
Volume 79 (2016)

Get instant, unlimited access to this journal

Related titles

Would you like to receive monthly information about new publications and events?


Deutscher Kunstverlag

Genthiner Straße 13

10785 Berlin

+49 (0)30 / 27 90 76 - 0

Neumarkter Straße 28

81673 München