The notion of revisionist art history raises eyebrows. All too often it means resurrecting figures forgotten for very good reasons or forcing well-established notions through a wringer of modish theory. But when art historical revisionism—or any other kind —is driven by a quest for expanded understanding rather than by a desire for novelty, it can usefully disrupt entrenched habits of thought. It can make us consider, instead of the obvious, predictable aspects of an artist’s work or a period, fascinating zones of untidy, overlapping slippage and cross-fertilization. Intelligent revisionism can correct inaccuracies and make us see the celebrated and the familiar in fresh ways. Witness this Fall’s ambitious exhibition at the Palazzo Grassi—a persuasive argument for reexamining even the most well-studied evidence. “Il Rinascimento a Venezia e la pittura del Nord ai tempi di Bellini, Dürer,...

 
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