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Empathy, Form, and Space
Empathy, Form, and Space
Problems in German Aesthetics, 1873-1893
Introduction and translation by Harry Francis Mallgrave and Eleftherios Ikonomou
Essays by Robert Vischer, Conrad Fiedler, Heinrich Wülfflin, Adolf Göller, Adolf von Hildebrand, and August Schmarsow

Getty Research Institute
342 pages, 7 1/2 x 10 1/4 inches
13 b/w illustrations
ISBN 978-0-89236-260-8
hardcover, Out of Print  1994

"The clarity of the book's discussion of complex philosophical and psychological problems in our perception of form and space makes this title an excellent contribution to art studies."
The Art Book Review Quarterly


Artists and historians of the 1920s promulgated the notion that a major "break" separated the artistic theory and practice of their time from that of preceding decades. The belief in Modernism's essential theoretical innovations remains today, in some circles at least, a nearly intractable myth.

The critical introduction and six essays of this volume, most presented for the first time in English translation, provide an entirely new perspective on this issue. Written in the last three decades of the nineteenth century, these thematic probings by some of the finest minds of German aesthetics and art history define that moment at which the metaphysical and physiological problem of understanding form and space in the natural world gave way to the aesthetic problem of appreciating and exploiting pure form and pure space in painting, sculpture, music, and architecture--that is, abstractly. The possibility of a "science of art" (Kunstwissenschaft), together with the notion of "empathy" (Einfühlung), laid the intellectual foundation for much of the revolutionary artistic activity that followed and continue to have relevance for contemporary artistic discussion.

Harry Francis Mallgrave is the editor of architecture and aesthetics for the Getty Research Institute's Texts & Documents series and the Willard K. Martin Distinguished Visiting Professor at the University of Oregon. His most recent book, Gottfried Semper: Architect of the Nineteenth Century was published by Yale University Press.

Eleftherios Ikonomou teaches history and theory at the Architectural Association School of Architecture and the University of Westminster in London and is the Director of the Stiftung für griechische Kultur in Berlin.

This title is out of print. Please look for it at your local libraries and/or used bookstores.

Series: Texts & Documents

See: Contents