Meaning of Modern Art

Northwestern University Press, 1979 - 166 Seiten
That modern art is different from earlier art is so obvious as to be hardly worth mentioning. Yet there is little agreement as to the meaning or the importance of this difference. Indeed, contemporary aestheticians, especially, seem to feel that modern art does not depart in any essential way from the art of the past. One reason for this view is that, with the exception of Marxism, the leading philosophical schools today are ahistorical in orientation. This is as true of phenomenology and existentialism as it is of contepmorary analytic philosophy. As a result there have been few attempts by philosophers to understand the meaning of the history of art--an understanding fundamental to any grasp of the difference between modern art and its predecessors.

Art expresses an ideal image of man, and an essential part of understanding the meaning of a work of art is understanding this image. When the ideal image changes, art, too, must change. It is thus possible to look at the emergence of modern art as a function of the disintegration of the Platonic-Christian conception of man. The artist no longer has an obvious, generally accepted route to follow. One sign of this is that there is no one style today comparable to Romanesque, Gothic, Renaissance, or Baroque. This lack of direction has given the artist a new freedom. Today there is a great variety of answers to the question, "What is art?" Such variety, however, betrays an uncertainty about the meaning of art. An uneasiness about the meaning of art has led modern artists to enter into dialogue with art historians, psychologists and philosophers. Perhaps this interpretation can contribute to that dialogue.--Excerpted from the author's preface

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Ausgewählte Seiten


Christian Backgrounds
a The Cartesian Tradition
The Beautiful and the Sublime
The Search for the Interesting
Negation Abstraction and Construction
The Demonization of Sensuousness
The Search for Immediacy
The Veil of Isis
Art and Psychoanalysis
The New Realism
Realism and Kitsch
Beyond Modern Art

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Seite 4 - ... go back to the Reason-Principles from which Nature itself derives, and, furthermore, that much of their work is all their own; they are holders of beauty and add where nature is lacking. Thus Pheidias wrought the Zeus upon no model among things of sense but by apprehending what form Zeus must take if he chose to become manifest to sight.
Seite 5 - Our interpretation is that the Soul — by the very truth of its nature, by its affiliation to the noblest Existents in the hierarchy of Being — when it sees anything of that kin, or any trace of that kinship, thrills with an immediate delight, takes its own to itself, and thus stirs anew to the sense of its nature and of all its affinity.
Seite 5 - But what must we do? How lies the path? How come to vision of the inaccessible Beauty, dwelling as if in consecrated precincts, apart from the common ways where all may see, even the profane?

Über den Autor (1979)

Karsten Harries is Howard H. Newman Professor of Philosophy at Yale University.

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