worringer abstraction and empathy summary

… the basic purpose of my essay is to show that this modern aesthetics, which proceeds from the concept of empathy, is inapplicable to wide tracts of art history. He notes that throughout history, that has always been the case: representational art existing side by side with abstraction. Hulme and Wyndham Lewis and his lesser known book on Egyptian art is remarkably consonant with much of what Lewis was arguing about art in the 20s and 30s. The value of a line, of a form consists for us in the value of the life that it holds for us. Having slipped down from the pride of knowledge, man is now just as lost and helpless vis-a-vis the world-picture as primitive man, once he has recognized that ‘this visible world in which we are is the work of Maya, brought forth by magic, a transitory and in itself unsubstantial semblance, comparable to the optical illusion and the dream, of which it is equally false and equally true to say that it is, as that it is not’ (Schopenhauer, Kritik der Kantisehen Philosophie). […].

The prevailing attitude at that time was that abstract art deserved less respect than representational art. To employ an audacious comparison: it is as though the instinct for the ‘thing in itself were most powerful in primitive man. We added something to our world that was not previously there. All abstraction, Worringer believes, is an expression of that same impulse, to reconcile our fearful mortal existence with something unknowable: the spirit. For here the last trace of connection with, and dependence on, life has been effaced, here the highest absolute form, the purest abstraction has been achieved; here is law, here is necessity, while everywhere else the caprice of the organic prevails. The happiness they sought from art did not consist in the possibility of projecting themselves into the things of the outer world, of enjoying themselves in them, but in the possibility of taking the individual thing of the external world out of its arbitrariness and seeming fortuitousness, of eternalizing it by approximation to abstract forms and, in this manner, of finding a point of tranquillity and a refuge from appearances. Em Worringer trata-se de um movimento pendular que vai do "realismo", o qual ele compreende. Even after we learn to copy reality in our drawings, we still maintain that original urge to scribble. Customer Book Reviews.

Most critics, teachers, and curators believed that only artists who did not have the competency to perfectly copy nature turned to abstraction. Abstraction and Empathy book.

With “Abstraction and Empathy,” Worringer endowed abstract artists with the confidence to continue their avant-garde pursuits by successfully arguing that abstraction is equal in meaning and value to realistic art. To enjoy aesthetically means to enjoy myself in a sensuous object diverse from myself, to empathize myself into it.

Abstraction and Empathy: A Contribution to the Psychology of Style: Wilhelm Worringer: 8580000887006: Books - Amazon.ca A scribble does not mimic reality so much as it expresses a feeling; a compulsion; a type of energy. not characterized, as in the need for empathy, by an urge to alienate oneself from individual being, but as an urge to seek deliverance from the fortuitousness of humanity as a whole, from the seeming arbitrariness of organic existence in general, in the contemplation of something necessary and irrefragable. Worringer foi um dos primeiros filósofos a valorizar os aspectos abstratos da arte. They turned away from it simply because they were searching for different, truer ways of expressing themselves. Hilton Kramer s introduction considers the influence of Worringer s thesis and places his book in historical context.". Natural beauty is on no account to be regarded as a condition of the work of art, despite the fact that in the course of evolution it seems to have become a valuable element in the work of art, and to some extent indeed positively identical with it. Worringer does not write about the connection between visual art and music, but he does address how abstraction relates to spirituality in general. Abstraction and Empathy also has a sociological dimension, in that the urge to create fixed, abstract, and geometric forms is a response to the modern experience of industrialization and the sense that individual identity is threatened by a hostile mass society. And he addresses the biases that people had towards abstract art at the turn of the 20th Century. I will always look at empathizing differently from this point on. . Not that primitive man sought more urgently for regularity in nature, or experienced regularity in it more intensely; just the reverse: it is because he stands so lost and spiritually helpless amidst the things of the external world, because he experiences only obscurity and caprice in the inter-connection and jilux of the phenomena of the external world, that the urge is so strong in him to divest the things of the external world of their caprice and obscurity in the world-picture and to impart to them a value of necessity and a value of regularity. O fundamento teórico, comum a vários filósofos, é aquele de uma teoria pendular como esboçada magistralmente por Heinrich Wölfflin ao situar a história da arte e a " Kunstwollen" (vontade da arte) como um movimento pendular que vai da Forma Clássica à Forma Barroca, sucessivamente. “Abstraction and Empathy” and its philosophies may not help explain to skeptics the meaning of any one particular abstract artwork, but it can help explain the source of the will humans have towards abstraction, by framing it as a method of representing the objective world in a more spiritual way. Just a moment while we sign you in to your Goodreads account.

In Worringer's first book, the widely read and influential Abstraction and Empathy, he divided art into two kinds: the art of abstraction (which in the past was associated with a more 'primitive' world view) and the art of empathy (which had been associated with realism in the broadest sense of the word, and which was dominant in European art since the Renaissance).

[…], Now what are the psychic presuppositions for the urge to abstraction? Following the Austrian art historian Most of the biggest names in early abstraction—from Kandinsky to Malevich to Picasso to Mondrian to Georgia O’Keefe—were spectacularly adept at naturalistic painting. October 1st 1997 in the constitution of the absolute artistic volition, and bears outward fruit in the work of art, to be exact in the style of the latter, the specific nature of which is simply the specific nature of the psychic needs. They were an attempt at transcendence. We contemplate its qualities. By the feeling about the world I mean the psychic state in which, at any given time, mankind found itself in relation to the cosmos, in relation to the phenomena of the external world. For here the last trace of connection with, and dependence on, life has been effaced, here the highest absolute form, the purest abstraction has been achieved; here is law, here is necessity, while everywhere else the caprice of the organic prevails. Refresh and try again. Humans know we are part of the natural world, and yet we are compelled to renounce it because it disagrees with our needs for endurance, safety, and control.

It holds its beauty only through our own vital feeling, which, in some mysterious manner, we project into it. We now know that is demonstrably not the case. Mechanical forces are natural forces. The Pyramids o the ancient Egyptians are not primitive forms created by artisans who lacked the talent to copy nature. There is nothing like reading a history or biography book and being so completely transported to another time and place that you find... Wilhelm Worringer s landmark study in the interpretation of modern art, first published in 1908, has seldom been out of print. Starting from the notion that beauty derives from our sense of being able to identify with an objec, Wilhelm Worringer s landmark study in the interpretation of modern art, first published in 1908, has seldom been out of print. Their most powerful urge was, so to speak, to wrest the object of the external world out of its natural context, out of the unending flux of being, to purify it of all its dependence upon life, i.e. Thus the urge to abstraction stands at the beginning of every art and in the case of certain peoples at a high level of culture remains the dominant tendency, whereas with the Greeks and other Occidental peoples, for example, it slowly recedes, making way for the urge to empathy. He gives us language to help us talk about our intuition that there are some mysteries about this life and this universe that cannot be unraveled. Thus the various gradations of the feeling about the world can be gauged from the stylistic evolution of art, as well as from the theogony of the peoples. Increasing spiritual mastery of the outside world and habituation to it mean a blunting and dimming .of this instinct. It would be a history of the feeling about the world and, as such, would stand alongside the history of religion as its equal. We run our finger over the imprint made by the pen; we smell the ink; we flip the page over and notice the translucency of the paper, how the color of the ink changes when viewed from this side. Its profound impact not only on art historians and theorists but also for generations of creative writers and intellectuals is almost unprecedented. For anyone interested in understanding how spirituality came to be associated with abstract art, “Abstraction and Empathy: Essay in the Psychology of Style” (1907), by Wilhelm Worringer, is an essential read.


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