Stephen Bann

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Stephen Bann CBE, FBA (born Manchester, England, 1942) is the Emeritus Professor of History of Art at the University of Bristol. He attended Winchester College and King's College, Cambridge, attaining his PhD in 1967.

He was subsequently appointed Professor of Modern Cultural Studies at the University of Kent at Canterbury, and later appointed to the Chair in History of Art at Bristol in 2000. He was made a Fellow of the British Academy in 1998, and named a CBE in 2004.


Stephen Bann's work has been influential in focusing scholarly attention toward connections between the history of art and visual culture. The Clothing of Clio (1984), The Inventions of History (1990) and Romanticism and the Rise of History (1995) are concerned in particular with the deepening consciousness of history particular to the 19th Century. The examples that Bann takes are explained by him not from a reductive art historical perspective, but through acknowledgement of such examples' location in a broader, metahistorical network. Visual sources, sometimes even unlikely or fragmentary ones, are valued by the author as still points of reference: “a visual example provides a support for the exegesis that the reader (spectator) can follow in a directly participatory way. Its very self-contained nature (as opposed to an extract from a text) enables it to generate cross-references as well as to provide a field for practical analysis” (Romanticism and the Rise of History).

Bann's notion of...
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