Most importantly, his concept of Kunstwollen, prevented a mechanistic conception of the evolution of arts and architecture in history. The concept of Kunstwollen thus deserves inquiry even today, because it opened the door to a multicultural, secular and open minded conception of art history, perhaps for the first time in its history. This paper attempts to study Kunstwollen in two parts. The first tries to discuss the influences on Riegl in the formulation of this concept. An eminent researcher, scholar and professor at the Vienna Academy, the plethora of influences on Riegl and thus on the equally wide range of concepts in his work, can hardly be simplified in any way. However the undeniable influences of Hegel and Kant in the development of the idea of Kunstwollen is singled out for review.

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His dissertation was a study of the Jakobskirche in Regensburg , while his habilitation , completed in , addressed medieval calendar manuscripts. In Riegl accepted a curatorial position at the k. His first book, Altorientalische Teppiche Antique oriental carpets , grew out of this experience. In this work Riegl sought to refute the materialist account of the origins of decorative motifs from, for example, the weaving of textiles, a theory that was associated with the followers of Gottfried Semper.

Instead, Riegl attempted to describe a continuous and autonomous "history of ornament. Riegl seems to have conceived the Kunstwollen as a historically contingent tendency of an age or a nation that drove stylistic development without respect to mimetic or technological concerns.

Its proper interpretation, however, has itself been a subject of scholarly debate for over a century. In , on the basis of the Stilfragen, Riegl was awarded an extraordinarius position at the University of Vienna, where he began to lecture on Baroque art , a period that was at the time considered merely as the decadent end of the Renaissance. In these manuscripts Riegl attempted to chart the entire history of western art as the record of a "contest with nature.

In Riegl published a work that combined his interest in neglected, "transitional," periods with his endeavor to explain the relationship between style and cultural history. This took the form of a study of late antiquity. The two books, taken together, were among the first to consider the aesthetic characteristics of late antique art on their own terms, and not as representing the collapse of classical standards.

They also led to a controversy between Riegl and Wickhoff, on the one side, and Josef Strzygowski , on the other, concerning the origins of the late antique style. It has been argued, however, that the Kunstindustrie was conceived more as a philosophical justification of the concept of Kunstwollen than as a study of late antique art. Art expresses the way man wants to see things shaped or colored, just as the poetic Kunstwollen expreses the way man wants to imagine them.

Man is not only a passive, sensory recipient, but also a desiring, active being who wishes to interpret the world in such a way varying from one people, region, or epoch to another that it most clearly and obligingly meets his desires. The character of this will is contained in what we call the worldview again in the broadest sense : in religion, philosophy, science, even statecraft and law. Here Riegl began to develop a theory of "attentiveness" to describe the relationship between the viewer of a work of art and the work itself.

Riegl died from cancer three years later, at the age of Riegl had a robust following in Vienna, and certain of his students the so-called Second Vienna School attempted to develop his theories into a comprehensive art-historical method.

In certain cases, such as that of the controversial Hans Sedlmayr , this led to unrestrained formalism. Ernst Gombrich drew heavily on the Stilfragen, which he called "the one great book ever written about the history of ornament", [3] in his own study of The sense of order. Rank recognized the will-to-art as parallel to an idea he had been developing on creative urge and personality development.

Primitive, "ornamental" art, for example, uniquely represents a social belief in the abstract soul, and does not represent a lack of naturalism; it is an accurate presentation of the abstract in concrete form. Rank follows the development of art, which he believes contributes more than religion, in the humanization and concretization of the soul belief as classically displayed in nature and then man himself as the god. Wilhelm Worringer likewise mentions his debt to Riegl in terms of art theory, and what Worringer calls, "the urge to abstraction.

Clemena Antonova writes, "Worringer sides with Riegl in that relativist approach to art and maintains that, "what appears from our standpoint the greatest distortion, must have been, at the time, for its creator the highest beauty and expression of his artistic volition.

Swoboda, ed. Kain and D. Britt, tr. The following list includes only monographs, book-length works, and collections, arranged by date of publication. Museum Vienna, Altorientalische Teppiche Leipzig, Stilfragen Berlin, Kain, Problems of style Princeton, Ein orientalischer Teppich vom Jahre Berlin, Winkes, Late Roman art industry Rome, Forster and D. Die Entstehung der Barockkunst in Rom: Vorlesungen aus , ed. Burda and M. Swoboda Augsburg, Swoboda and O.

Jung, Historical grammar of the visual arts New York, Monographs[ edit ] M. Iversen: Alois Riegl: art history and theory Cambridge, Noever: A. Rosenauer and G. Wien, Podro: The critical historians of art New Haven, Farnham: Ashgate, Wood ed.

Richard Woodfield ed. Articles[ edit ] B. Eds Jenseits von Grenzen. Vienna , Michael Falser, "Zum Todesjahr von Alois Riegl. Ghilardi - F. Dilly, ed. Reprinted in H. Oberer and E. Verheyen, eds. Northcott and J. Rampley, "Subjectivity and modernism. Riegl and the rediscovery of the Baroque," in Richard Woodfield, ed. Rampley, "Art history and the politics of empire. Re-thinking the Vienna School," "Art Bulletin" Bauer et al.


Problems of Style: Foundations for a History of Ornament

Demonstrating an uninterrupted continunity in the history of ornament from the ancient Egyptian through the Islamic period, Riegl argued that the creative urge manifests itself in both "great art" and the most humble artifact, and that change is an inherent part of style. This thinking laid the groundwork for his famous concept of Kunstwollen, or artistic intention. We are made to feel that the issues he discussed mattered vitally to him; it was the very nature of art and its relation to human life that were at stake, art as an absolute necessity. Originally published in The Princeton Legacy Library uses the latest print-on-demand technology to again make available previously out-of-print books from the distinguished backlist of Princeton University Press. These editions preserve the original texts of these important books while presenting them in durable paperback and hardcover editions.



Gotilar Demonstrating an uninterrupted continuity in the history of ornament from the ancient Egyptians through the Islamic period, this treatise argues that art is completely independent probleme exterior conditions and is beyond individual volition. The second phase is the classical form of art in which the idea of humanity finds an adequate sensuous representation. The theory of the technical, materialist origin of the earliest off is usually attributed to Gottfried Semper. Please choose whether or not you want other users to be able to see on your profile that this library is a favorite of yours. Haely Yoon marked it as to-read Sep 21, The Stilfragen is divided into an introduction, which sets out the purpose of the work, and four chapters, each on a theme in the history of diegl style. Oenophile Dositheos marked it as to-read Oct 24, Priya marked it as to-read May 01, Amazon Giveaway allows you to run promotional giveaways in order to create buzz, reward your audience, and attract new followers and customers. First, the influence of Gottfried Semper and his emphasis on material, technique and function as the generator of arts and architecture is widely documented as the biggest influence of the initial period.


Alois Riegl


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