Starting from the observation of an interest in maps found in the work of Adam Milobedzki, this paper considers how mapping may be related to the concerns of the geography of art. The discussion of the geographical dimension of culture originated in antiquity, was revived in antiquity, and in more recent times was formulated into a discourse which explicitly called itself 'Kunstgeographie'. In Poland scholars such as Jan Bialostocki and Janusz St. Keblowski have discussed its themes. However, a concern with artistic geography was already initiated in the 'Krótka nauka Budownicza', as thematized by the words 'podlug nieba a zwyczaju Polskiego', which also provided the title for Milobedzki's 'Festschrift'. Mapping is frequently used as a metaphor, and in post-modern conceptualizations it has been employed to describe how various discourses are delineated. But maps also have a practical function: they are used as instruments to impose meaning on the world, whose geography they summarize and conceptualize. It was in this light that the originators of 'Kunstgeographie' deemed cartography one of their principal methods. Maps were to be used in the spatial location and delimitation of artistic phenomena. This was the belief of the geographer Hugo Hassinger, who coined the term 'Kunstgeographie'. Hassinger conceived of the idea of an atlas of art, which dream has been realized in the recent publication of an Atlas of World Art. This essay traces the treatment of mapping in the geography of art from early proponents of 'Kunstgeographie' such as Kurt Gerstenberg and Heinrich Glück through the discussions of J. Brutails, Reymond Rey, Stefan S. Komornicki, to its use in debates over 'Kunstlandschaften', its misuse by scholars of a nationalistic or Nazi bent, and its revival in post-war artistic topographies. It ends by posing problems that mapping, metaphorical and actual, now presents to art history.
Financed by the National Centre for Research and Development under grant No. SP/I/1/77065/10 by the strategic scientific research and experimental development program:
SYNAT - “Interdisciplinary System for Interactive Scientific and Scientific-Technical Information”.