Walter Benjamin The Work of Art in the Age of …

Preziosi, Donald, "Art as History: Introduction" in (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1998), p. 24, notes the reliance of Winckelmann on copies. For the influence of Winckelmann on Kant, see Christian Helmut Wenzel, (Oxford: Blackwell Publishing, 2005), pp. 73-75. Kant, of course, never left Knigsberg, so he was most likely largely dependent on reproductions for his remarks on the visual arts. That he bases much of his aesthetics on nature only further undermines Benjamin's case.

Walter Benjamin's The Work Of Art in the Age ..

study on Walter Benjamin’s ”the work of art in the age of mechanical reproduction”

study on Walter Benjamin’s ”the work of art in the age …

In his doctoral dissertation, Benjamin argues that the philosophicalrelationship between the Idea of art and particular artworks posited inRomantic aesthetics must be understood in relation to Fichte'stheory of reflection. This sought to ground the possibility of acertain and immediate type of cognition without recourse to theproblematic notion of an intellectual intuition. For Fichte, reflectionindicates the free activity of consciousness taking itself as its ownobject of thought: its capacity for thinking of thinking. In doing so,the initial form of thinking is transformed into its content. In suchreflection, thought seems capable of immediately grasping itself as athinking subject and therefore of possessing a certain kind ofimmediate and foundational knowledge. Although Benjamin introduces anumber of specific criticisms of Fichte's philosophical positionin his dissertation, he nonetheless values the Fichtean concept ofreflection for providing the epistemological foundation of FriedrichSchlegel's and Novalis' understandings of the metaphysicalfunction of art criticism. Some scholars have, however, questioned theaccuracy of Benjamin's interpretation of Fichte's conceptof reflection and the importance he accords to it in Romanticepistemology (Bullock 1987, 78–93; Menninghaus 2005, 29–44).

of Walter Benjamins The Work of Art in ..

Benjamin, "The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction," 224-225, 235. 245, note 5. The allusion to the Kantian intuitions of space and time in this note which Benjamin makes in his note confuses the issue, because Benjamin's ambition to historicize perception is quite alien to Kant's transcendentalism.

Benjamin, "The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction," 220.
Benjamin, "The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction," 220.

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We can understand this pronouncement and its implications better if we descend to the Hall Napoleon and make our way into the adjoining Carrousel du Louvre. This space is, of course, a shopping mall. The inverted pyramid which we encounter between the entry to the Louvre and the Virgin store features in ; the film version's assignment of a crucial role to Leonardo's works in a narrative that combines conspiracy theory and New Age religiosity demonstrates Benjamin's limitations as a prophet not only of the future of the museum work of art but also of the motion picture. Yet success in prophecy, as was noted at the beginning of this article, can hardly be accounted as the sole or even main criterion for the evaluation of Benjamin's essay. Instead, as we stand in this new arcade of twenty-first century consumer capitalism, we can best evaluate the artwork essay's claims concerning aesthetic value and experience by considering them in a broader historical context than is customary, which entails going beyond the now well worn tracks of the Adorno-Benjamin debate.

Marcel Duchamp Prefigure Walter Benjamin's Thesis …

These readers have grounds for their suspicion - up to a point. Few of us today would be able to use that vocabulary unmodified; we cannot simply brush away the knowledge we now have of the historicity of judgments of value and proclaim in pretended innocence the language of Kantian aesthetics. Yet even though we cannot reinhabit the world of the eighteenth century pioneers of aesthetics, we can acknowledge that the question that they posed, of how we can distinguish expressions of personal taste from normative aesthetic judgments, cannot be immediately dismissed. Even if we think that question is itself not properly posed, we can certainly acknowledge that those philosophers began to provide us with a way of talking about both how we might justify our aesthetic evaluation and the aesthetic experience in itself. The artwork essay pronounces this language dead in an age of mechanical reproduction.

Paper & Canvases; Photo Albums and Frames.

These ontological considerations suggest that an alternative exists to the physical object hypothesis that underlies the central arguments of the artwork essay, and this element - generic entity alternative can explain how responding aesthetically to paintings amounts to more than being in the grip of an obsolescent cult. As the examples of the preceding paragraph show, we respond to painting based on what we see, to be sure, but on much more besides; history and our conjectures regarding the intentions of the artist are but two of a host of considerations that both shape and justify our responses. So these responses need not necessarily be simple, varying as they will according to our expectations, beliefs, and critical abilities. This complexity suggests that our responses grow not only from socio-economic processes as those are commonly understood, such as changes in techniques and relations of production or various forms of social stratification, but also as a consequence of aesthetic experience, intellectual development, and exposure to criticism. Yet many readers of the artwork essay will suspect that drawing attention to this complexity of aesthetic response is merely an attempt to update the older auratic vocabulary of "creativity and genius, eternal value and mystery."