The Sense of Form in Art: A Comparative Psychological Study

By H. Wolfflin; Alice Muehsam et al. | Go to book overview

III. THE WHOLE AND ITS PARTS

THE INDIVIDUAL PARTS of a painting, like those of a building, are expected to form an integral whole; and this is a requirement to which both Italians and Germans would have agreed in principle. But the concept of integrality is different for each. In its strictest sense, it is valid only for Italian art. Alberti uses the word "composizione" to denote the making of a picture from single figures, he also employs the term for the formal totality of a head or a body, a perfectly logical use according to the meaning the word had for him. The decisive factor is the extent to which a feeling exists that self-sufficient parts can join to form a unity that is complete in itself and has the quality of inevitability.

Unified formal organization and regulated order have already been discussed, and it may appear as if nothing essentially different needed to be added. However, though the chapters partially overlap (integrality presupposes regulated order), the concept of the whole and the relation of the parts to the whole still contain something new; and the word "inevitability" takes on a deeper meaning. Regularity of sequence and harmony of form can exist without resulting in an integral whole, for formal uniformity is not identical with unity. A regular tree-lined avenue is uniform, but whether the arbored walk as such is a unity, i.e., an entity complete and perfect in itself, remains another question.

This self-sufficient perfection was precisely the aim of Italian art. It was perceived in the works of Antiquity, and Alberti's definition of beauty (inspired by Vitruvius) is entirely in the Antique spirit. He defines beauty as a formal unity in which not even the smallest part may be changed, added, or omitted without detriment to the whole.1 Only an Italian could have said this in the fifteenth

____________________
1
L. B. Alberti, de re aedificatoria lib. VI (at the beginning). ". . . ut sit pulchritudo quidem certa cum ratione concinnitas universarum partium in eo cujus sint: ita ut addi aut diminui aut immutari possit nihil quin improbabilius reddat."

-119-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
The Sense of Form in Art: A Comparative Psychological Study
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page 1
  • Preface 3
  • Contents 7
  • List of Illustrations 8
  • Introduction 13
  • I. Form and Contour 21
  • Ii. Regularity and Order 87
  • Iii. the Whole and Its Parts 119
  • Iv. Relaxed Tension 150
  • V. Grandeur and Simplicity 166
  • Vi. Types and Generality 180
  • Vii. the Relief Conception 190
  • Viii. Clarity and the Subject in Art 202
  • Conclusion 224
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this book
  • Bookmarks
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
/ 232

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.