Abstraction and Empathy: A Contribution to the Psychology of Style

Abstraction and Empathy: A Contribution to the Psychology of Style

Abstraction and Empathy: A Contribution to the Psychology of Style

Abstraction and Empathy: A Contribution to the Psychology of Style

Excerpt

Forty years have passed since the genesis of this work. Forty years during which it has proved its continually effective vitality by the incessant need for new editions.

I cannot help being aware of how much the publication of this doctorate thesis of a young and unknown student influenced many personal lives and the spiritual life of a whole era. Far beyond professional and national boundaries. It became an 'Open Sesame' for the formulation of a whole range of questions important to the epoch.

Looking back objectively, I am fully aware that the unusually wide influence exercised by this first work is to be explained by the conjunction, quite unsuspected by myself, of my personal disposition for certain problems with the fact that a whole period was disposed for a radical reorientation of its standards of aesthetic value. Unequivocal proof of the degree to which the times were ripe for such an exposition is provided by the immediacy with which its theories, which were concerned only with historical interpretation, were transposed so as to apply to contemporary movements in the artistic conflict. Thus at the time, without knowing it, I was the medium of the necessities of the period. The compass of my instinct had . . .

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