By Lisa Florman
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Extra info for Concerning the Spiritual—and the Concrete—in Kandinsky’s Art
Already with the romantic era, then, we witness the dissolution, and so the beginning of the end, of art. Not that buildings, sculptures, paintings, musical compositions, and poems wouldn’t continue to be produced. They would, but they would no longer function as the primary vehicle of spirit—which is to say that they would no longer serve as the place where humanity realized its deepest and most meaningful truths. That role was given over first to religion and finally to philosophy, from whose vantage point it could be seen that the history of art belonged not, ultimately, to art itself; instead it constituted only a moment (now passed) within the larger history of spirit.
As yet vague and undeveloped, with no sense of its own autonomy, spirit could express itself only indirectly; works of art could do nothing more than point to their spiritual content through their obdurate material form. This is presumably what Hegel has in mind when he refers to art’s earliest period as symbolic,7 and designates architecture as its predominant and most characteristic form. 8 FIGURE 1. Temple of Amen-Re, Karnak, Egypt, Dynasty XIX, ca. 1290–1224 BCE. © 2013 Robert Harding Picture Library Ltd.
I know it’s been a much longer haul than you originally anticipated. Valuable funding for some of the research and images for the book came from the Ohio State University College of the Arts and Sciences, and the Virginia Hull Research Award, as well as from the OSU History of Art Department. The support of all three was and is much appreciated. Over the decade or so that I’ve been working on this project, numerous family members and friends (in addition to those already mentioned) served as interlocutors or, just as importantly, offered their moral support.
Concerning the Spiritual—and the Concrete—in Kandinsky’s Art by Lisa Florman