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The Insistence of Art

Aesthetic Philosophy after Early Modernity

Paul A. Kottman

Publication Year: 2017

Philosophers working on aesthetics have paid considerable attention to art and artists of the early modern period. Yet early modern artistic practices scarcely figure in recent work on the emergence of aesthetics as a branch of philosophy over the course the eighteenth century. This book addresses that gap, elaborating the extent to which artworks and practices of the fifteenth through the eighteenth centuries were accompanied by an immense range of discussions about the arts and their relation to one another. Rather than take art as a stand-in for or reflection of some other historical event or social phenomenon, this book treats art as a phenomenon in itself. The contributors suggest ways in which artworks and practices of the early modern period make aesthetic experience central to philosophical reflection, while also showing art’s need for philosophy.

Published by: Fordham University Press

Cover

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Title Page, Copyright

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pp. i-iv

Contents

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pp. v-vi

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Introduction. The Claim of Art: Aesthetic Philosophy and Early Modern Artistry

Paul A. Kottman

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pp. 1-30

Considering the attention paid to artists from the early modern period by philosophers working in what we now recognize as “aesthetics,” considering the extent to which artworks and practices of the fifteenth through the eighteenth centuries were accompanied by an immense range of discussions about the arts and their relation to one another, and considering above all the sheer breadth and scope of the artistic achievements in the period, it is striking that so little recent effort has been made to understand the connection between early modern artistic practices and the emergence...

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1. Allegory, Poetic Theology, and Enlightenment Aesthetics

Victoria Kahn

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pp. 31-54

Included in Giovanni Pietro Bellori’s Lives of the Modern Painters, Sculptors, and Architects (1672) is an engraving of an allegorical figure of “wise imitation” (imitatio sapiens), which Stephen Halliwell has described in the following way: “Classically draped and seated inside an architectural perspective, [she] self-admiringly gazes into a mirror, symbol of her own idealized potential, but simultaneously treads resolutely on an unprepossessing ‘ape,’ traditional metaphor for the debasement of mimesis into the empty simulation of a world of vulgarly reflective surfaces.”1 This allegorical figure...

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2. Object Lessons: Reification and Renaissance Epitaphic Poetry

Rachel Eisendrath

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pp. 55-76

In this essay I explore how early modern artworks, both visual and verbal, anticipate Theodor W. Adorno’s concerns with reification in aesthetics.1 Focusing in particular on epitaphic poetry, I argue that early modern art provides a kind of “unconscious” history of reification during a period in Europe that was, in Adorno’s view, pivotal in the development of reification.

Adorno’s well-known claim that “all reification is forgetting”2 can be understood in at least two overlapping senses: one, that reification forgets whatever does not fi t into the conceptual categories of instrumental...

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3. How Do We Recognize Metaphysical Poetry?

Andrew Cutrofello

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pp. 77-90

Metaphysical poetry, which once seemed obsolete, lives on because the moment to realize it was missed. Or so T. S. Eliot might have written, had he written in the style of Adorno.1 Eliot believed that metaphysical poetry, which seemed obsolete to Dryden and Johnson, lived on because the moment to bring it back within the “main current” of English literature was missed when Keats and Shelley died young.2 In his 1921 review of Herbert Grierson’s anthology Metaphysical Lyrics and Poems of the Seventeenth Century, Eliot ...

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4. Literature, Prejudice, Historicity: The Philosophical Importance of Herder’s Shakespeare Studies

Kristin Gjesdal

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pp. 91-115

It is a commonly held that philosophical hermeneutics—hermeneutics as a theory of understanding and method of interpretation—develops as part of romantic philosophy and its reaction to the ahistorical thinking of the Enlightenment.1 In the following I take issue with this assumption. I suggest that hermeneutics, as a modern philosophical discipline, is solidly planted within the Enlightenment tradition in German eighteenth- century philosophy. This is particularly clear in the early work of Johann Gottfried Herder. In his early work, Herder articulates a hermeneutic...

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5. Reaching Conclusions: Art and Philosophy in Hegel and Shakespeare

Paul A. Kottman

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pp. 116-139

In what might be called the epilogue to his lectures on fine art, and immediately after naming Shakespeare in conclusion, G. W. F. Hegel addressed his audience directly. Echoing Prospero’s valediction at the end of The Tempest, Hegel declared:1

Now, with the development of the kinds of comedy we have reached the real end of our philosophical inquiry. We began with symbolic art where personality struggles to find itself as form and content and to become objective to itself. We proceeded to the plastic...

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6. “All Art Constantly Aspires to the Condition of Music”—Except the Art of Music: Reviewing the Contest of the Sister Arts

Lydia Goehr

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pp. 140-169

W. J. T. Mitchell opens his essay “Going Too Far with the Sister Arts” by noting Emerson’s remark “that [in Mitchell’s words] the most fruitful conversations are always between two persons, [and] not three.”1 Mitchell uses this remark to explain why, when the sister arts have “set out to argue,” poetry and painting have “held the stage,” leaving the art of music “something of an outsider to the conversation.” Mitchell explains music’s outsider status in two ways: that music has renounced the contested “territory” of poetry and painting, of “reference, representation...

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7. The Beauty of Architecture at the End of the Seventeenth Century in Paris, Greece, and Rome

Maarten Delbeke

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pp. 170-193

The emergence of the notion of beauty in French architectural discourse in the second half of the seventeenth century invigorated a debate about a set of closely related topics, such as the place of architecture among the arts of imitation, the authority of models provided by antiquity and nature, and the legitimacy of aesthetic judgments. This essay looks at a number of related contributions to this debate and distinguishes two approaches: one that sought to identify an “idea” of beauty, governing all the arts and based...

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8. Strokes of Wit: Theorizing Beauty in Baroque Italy

Jon R. Snyder

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pp. 194-226

Few, if any, artistic and cultural movements in the West have been contested as bitterly and for as long as the Baroque. There is little agreement among scholars over what it was, and even the source of the term “Baroque” today remains uncertain. What is beyond controversy is the fact that, in the first half of the eighteenth century, critics began to apply this term pejoratively to works of seventeenth-century anticlassicism, especially those from Italy.1 Throughout the 1600s well-heeled foreigners flocked to the peninsula to revere its antiquities, explore its cities, admire its landscapes, and absorb...

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9. Goya: Secularization and the Aesthetics of Belief

Anthony J. Cascardi

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pp. 227-256

A great many accounts of Goya’s career begin with an outline of his beginnings as a young painter in Zaragoza under the tutelage of José Luzán, his travels to Italy, and his subsequent return to Spain, where he enjoyed the support of his brother-in-law Francisco Bayeu, in Zaragoza and in Madrid. In Madrid, the neoclassicist painter Antón Raphael Mengs, then official court painter, reigned supreme in the world of official art and served as the de facto arbiter of taste. These early years are treated primarily for their biographical interest, and with but a few exceptions (including some...

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10. Remembering Isaac: On the Impossibility and Immorality of Faith

J. M. Bernstein

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pp. 257-288

Secular modernity is in retreat, its ideals, ends, and fundamental forms of self-understanding under a constant barrage of interrogation and challenge. Correspondingly, the goods of religion, the inevitability of political theology, and the necessity of faith are being offered a late veneer of legitimacy, a guilt-ridden acknowledgment that their intended destruction at the hands of rational modernity has been somehow undeserved. This reevaluation of religious modes of thought strikes me as deeply mistaken, a work of self-hatred and self-repudiation, as if secular modernity...

List of Contributors

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pp. 289-292

Index

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pp. 293-298


E-ISBN-13: 9780823275823
E-ISBN-10: 0823275825

Page Count: 304
Publication Year: 2017

OCLC Number: 976138473
MUSE Marc Record: Download for The Insistence of Art