By Lisa Florman
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Additional info for Concerning the Spiritual—and the Concrete—in Kandinsky’s Art
Whereas in painting the content is subjectivity, more precisely the inner life inwardly particularized, and for this very reason the separation in the work of art between its subject and the spectator must emerge and yet must immediately be dissipated because, by displaying what is subjective, the work, in its whole mode of presentation, reveals its purpose as existing not independently on its own account but for subjective apprehension, for the spectator. . e. 9 In its presentation of a space that was only apparently three-dimensional—that existed only through and for human consciousness—romantic painting was to be seen, Hegel argued, as a direct manifestation of spirit’s increasing inwardness and autonomy.
Painting of this sort, Kandinsky held, would in every way be music’s equal where the expression of subjective inwardness was concerned. Interestingly, his argument seems in many ways anticipated by a passage in the Aesthetics where Hegel discusses the development of painterly sfumato: This magic of the pure appearance of color has in the main only appeared when the substance and spirit of objects has evaporated and what now enters is spirit in the treatment and handling of color. 30 No doubt, in saying as much, Hegel hoped to prepare the next transition in his narrative of the romantic arts by suggesting that the use of sfumato by Leonardo and his contemporaries reflected painting’s own aspirations toward the condition of music.
Brigid in particular helped me to see several important aspects of my argument whose full weight I had not quite caught, and Hal pointed me to the essay on Hegel and Kandinsky by Jean-Joseph Goux that importantly shaped my conclusion. A number of colleagues at Ohio State University, both past and present, also contributed enormously to this book, often in ways difficult to measure. No doubt my deepest debt is to Stephen Melville, whose frequent talks with me about Hegel (and all manner of other things) I miss more than I can say.
Concerning the Spiritual—and the Concrete—in Kandinsky’s Art by Lisa Florman