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Alan Code

(b Edinburgh, April 28, 1711; d Edinburgh, Aug 25, 1776).

Scottish philosopher and historian. Although he studied and became well known in France, he lived mostly in Edinburgh and is regarded as a leading figure in the Enlightenment in Scotland. His work was influential in the development of theories based on empirical knowledge, contributing in particular to 18th-century debates about beauty, taste and judgement. In his Treatise of Human Nature (1739, II.i.8), Hume held that beauty is a form, or structure of parts, that produces pleasure, and can be discerned only through the operation of a sense of beauty or a faculty of taste. His Essays Moral, Political and Literary address, among other topics, the cultural conditions of the production of art (‘Of the Rise and Progress of the Arts and Science’), the connection between art and morality (‘On Refinement in the Arts’), taste (‘Of the Delicacy of Taste and Passion’) and also the technique and style of writing. The problem as to whether taste can be right or wrong, first raised in ...

Article

Alan Code

(b Drumalig, Co. Down, Aug 8, 1694; d Dublin, Aug 8, 1746).

Irish philosopher. He attended the University of Glasgow, after which he headed a Presbyterian youth academy in Dublin for about a decade, and then held the chair of moral philosophy at Glasgow from 1730 until his death. He was best known as a moral sense theorist, and was heavily influenced by the theory of perception formulated by John Locke (1632–1704), as well as by the idea of a disinterested, moral sense conceived by Anthony Ashley Cooper, 3rd Earl of Shaftesbury. His writings give a central role to sensation and feeling in their account of morality and aesthetic value, and as such constitute an important moment in the formation of Enlightenment views about the relation between emotion and rationality. Human nature, in Hutcheson’s theory, involves both such external senses as sight and hearing, and internal senses including the moral sense and those connected with beauty, harmony, grandeur (Sublime, the...

Article

Patrick Gardiner

(b Königsberg [now Kaliningrad], April 22, 1724; d Königsberg, Feb 12, 1804).

German philosopher. He spent most of his adult life as a member of the University of Königsberg; he enrolled as a student there in 1740 and was accepted as a Privatdozent in 1755, becoming professor of logic and metaphysics in 1770. His contribution to aesthetics and the philosophy of art, which forms one part of the far-reaching enquiry he pursued into the fundamental conditions of human thought and experience, is contained in the last of the three famous Critiques he published between 1780 and 1790. The first of these, the Kritik der reinen Vernunft (Riga, 1781), was primarily concerned with establishing the status and scope of theoretical knowledge, while the second, the Kritik der praktischen Vernunft (Riga, 1788), was addressed to investigating the nature and foundations of morality. In the third, his Kritik der Urteilskraft, Kant undertook the task of providing an account of what was involved in, and presupposed by, judgements of ...

Article

David Rodgers

(b Wormsley Grange, Hereford & Worcs, Feb 11, 1751; d London, April 23, 1824).

English writer, connoisseur and collector (see fig.). He was the son of a clergyman from a wealthy dynasty of iron-masters. His father died in 1764, and shortly afterwards he inherited a considerable estate from his uncle, which ensured his financial independence. He was a sickly child and was educated at home, becoming well versed in Classical history, Latin and Greek. In 1772 he travelled in France and Italy and was abroad again in 1776, touring Switzerland with the landscape painter John Robert Cozens. The following year he travelled to Sicily on an archaeological expedition taking with him the painters Philipp Hackert and his pupil, the amateur artist Charles Gore (1729–1807). Knight kept a detailed journal (Weimar, Goethe- & Schiller-Archv) illustrated by his companions and on his return to England commissioned Cozens and Thomas Hearne to paint watercolours (London, BM) from Hackert’s and Gore’s sketches (London, BM). It seems probable that the journal was intended for publication and that the expedition may have had an entrepreneurial aspect, as archaeology was a fashionable subject and the Sicilian sites largely unexplored....

Article

Andrea M. Kluxen

(b Zurich, Nov 15, 1741; d Zurich, Jan 2, 1801).

Swiss cleric, writer and theorist. He studied with the Anglophile scholar Johann Jakob Bodmer, who also taught his friend Henry Fuseli (see Füssli family §(3)). After travels in northern Germany with Fuseli, in 1769 Lavater became a deacon and in 1775 a pastor in Zurich, where he subsequently remained. His collection of paintings (chiefly portraits) and drawings was much admired, and he was frequently consulted on artistic matters. He published poetry such as Christliche Lieder (1776–80) and several volumes of religious reflections.

Lavater’s most influential work (to which his friend Goethe also contributed) was Physiognomische Fragmente zur Beförderung der Menschenkenntnis und Menschenliebe (1775–8), a book which popularized physiognomics both within the German-speaking world and beyond. Physiognomics, the art of judging character from facial features, was part of a tradition stemming from Aristotle and the pattern books of Charles Le Brun. It was concerned not with mimicry and the expressive movements of the face but with the traits laid bare by the enduring features. Lavater, influenced by the art theorist Johann Georg Sulzer’s view of the body as the mirror of the soul, equated physical beauty with moral goodness. The majority of the illustrations in the ...

Article

Howard Caygill

(b Kamenz, Jan 21, 1729; d Brunswick, Feb 15, 1781).

German philosopher, critic and playwright. He was the leading representative of the German Enlightenment in the theatre and in criticism. Lessing studied theology at the University of Leipzig from 1746 to 1748, changing his faculty to medicine shortly before moving to Berlin. He was in Berlin intermittently until 1760, when he became secretary to the Prussian General von Tauentzien in Breslau (now Wrocław, Poland), remaining there until 1765. In 1767 he went to the liberal trading city of Hamburg in the hope of founding a German national theatre, and from 1770 until his death was the librarian to the Prince of Brunswick at Wolfenbüttel.

During Lessing’s first stay in Berlin he contributed a series of brilliant articles to the Vossische Zeitung, a journal of popular philosophy dedicated to the propagation of Enlightenment ideas. His first major critical works were his contributions to Briefe, die neueste Literatur betreffend (1759–65), along with Moses Mendelssohn (...

Article

David Hill

(b Dessau, Sept 26, 1729; d Berlin, Jan 4, 1786).

German philosopher. He overcame ill-health, the restrictions placed on Jews and his family’s straitened circumstances to become one of the most influential philosophers of the German Enlightenment. He was largely self-taught, and in his own writing he discussed a wide range of metaphysical and aesthetic problems in a lively and approachable manner. The framework of his thought was provided by the work of Gottfried Wilhelm von Leibniz and Christian Wolff, but he was an eclectic philosopher and through his reading of J. G. Sulzer, the Earl of Shaftesbury and later Johann Joachim Winckelmann and Edmund Burke, and by his close association with Gotthold Ephraim Lessing, he moved beyond defining the beautiful purely in terms of either logic or ethics. In his early writings Mendelssohn explained the nature of the beautiful by referring to the concept of perfection, whether the perfection of the object perceived or the perfection of the perceiving subject. He later focused attention on the effects of the beautiful and on the process of perception, contributing to the psychological understanding of aesthetic perception and arguing for the importance of mixed emotions. He thus contributed towards a notion of aesthetic autonomy and towards the process by which art came to include subjects that were neither beautiful nor desirable....

Article

Pascal Griener

[Secondat, Charles-Louis de]

(b Labrède, Gironde, Jan 18, 1689; d Paris, Feb 10, 1755).

French jurist and writer. He was born into the Bordeaux nobility and was destined for a legal career. He was President of the Parlement of Bordeaux from 1716 to 1725, but from 1722 he mainly devoted himself to writing. He made frequent visits to Paris, where he was welcomed into all the literary circles; the Académie Française elected him a member in 1727. A year later Montesquieu set out on a long journey (1728–9) through Europe, particularly through England and Italy; his observations on the customs and institutions of the places he travelled through were recorded in copious notes that gave a prominent place to art. For a person whose interests had been chiefly literary, the fine arts were a novel experience. Montesquieu was a meticulous and highly observant tourist. In Italy he followed well-trodden itineraries: in Milan, he admired Leonardo da Vinci’s Last Supper (S Maria delle Grazie) and enquired about the process for fixing oils on a mural base. In Florence, being a considerable scholar of Roman history, he first directed his attention to the chronologically arranged collection of busts of the ancient emperors in the Uffizi, attempting to read in them a progressive artistic decline. He admired the doors executed by Lorenzo Ghiberti for the Baptistery in Florence and wrote a long note on the historical significance of the Gothic style. In Rome he was greatly delighted by Raphael’s ...

Article

Martin Postle

(b 1747; d Yazor, Hereford & Worcs, Sept 14, 1829).

English landowner and writer. He was one of the leading promoters of the Picturesque, a quasi-aesthetic theory concerning the codification of types of landscape; this enjoyed a brief popularity in England at the end of the 18th century. In 1794 Price published An Essay on the Picturesque. The book was written to expand and redefine observations on the nature of Picturesque Beauty made during the 1770s and 1780s by the Rev. William Gilpin. In his essay of 1794 Price employed the term Picturesque to describe a category of landscape that evoked sensations that were not contained within the existing polarities of Sublime and Beautiful, established earlier in the century by Edmund Burke (A Philosophical Inquiry into the Origin of Our Ideas of the Sublime and Beautiful; 1757). According to Price ‘the two opposite qualities of roughness, and of sudden variation, joined to that of irregularity, are the most efficient causes of the picturesque’. Price loved systems and organized objects in nature—trees, animals and dwellings—into tables according to their level of picturesqueness. Thus in his view hovels are more picturesque than cottages, cows more picturesque than horses, idle peasants more picturesque than working ones, and so on. Price’s theories inspired, among other things, Thomas Rowlandson’s satirical illustrations to ...

Article

(b Paris, Oct 28, 1755; d Paris, Dec 28, 1849).

French writer and theorist. Born into a wealthy Jansenist family, he abandoned his law studies in order to train as a sculptor, entering the studio of Guillaume Coustou (ii), where he was taught by Coustou’s pupil Pierre Julien. Between 1776 and 1780, and again in 1783–4, Quatremère lived in Rome (where he met Antonio Canova); in 1779 he visited Naples in the company of Jacques-Louis David. In Italy he was struck by the survival of the Baroque style, despite the continuing archaeological discoveries of Classical remains. He became interested in the early Classical style of Greek sculpture and contemporaneous architecture, upon which much of his later aesthetic theory was to be grounded. Convinced that a revival of the arts depended on a wider knowledge of Classical civilization, he used archaeological research throughout his life to educate and so promote a return to the antique style.

During the 1780s Quatremère concerned himself mostly with architecture, winning a competition organized by the Académie des Inscriptions et Belles-Lettres for his essay on the origins and nature of Egyptian architecture (...

Article

David Mannings

(b Plympton, Devon, July 16, 1723; d London, Feb 23, 1792).

English painter, collector and writer. The foremost portrait painter in England in the 18th century, he transformed early Georgian portraiture by greatly enlarging its range. His poses, frequently based on the Old Masters or antique sculpture, were intended to invoke classical values and to enhance the dignity of his sitters. His rich colour, strong lighting and free handling of paint greatly influenced the generation of Thomas Lawrence and Henry Raeburn. His history and fancy pictures explored dramatic and emotional themes that became increasingly popular with both artists and collectors in the Romantic period. As first president of the Royal Academy in London, he did more than anyone to raise the status of art and artists in Britain. His Discourses on Art, delivered to the students and members of the Academy between 1769 and 1790, are the most eloquent and widely respected body of art criticism by any English writer.

Although Reynolds’s father, a fellow of Balliol College, Oxford, and master of Plympton Grammar School, had intended that his son train as an apothecary, Joshua chose instead to seek fame as a painter. In ...

Article

Maurice Cranston

(b Geneva, June 28, 1712; d Ermenonville, July 2, 1778).

French writer of Swiss birth. He was the son of a watchmaker in Calvinist Geneva and served unhappy apprenticeships, first with a notary and then with an engraver. An autodidact, he achieved fame in Paris in the 1750s as one of the writers associated with Denis Diderot’s Encyclopédie (1751–75), but was a critic of most of the principles of rationalism and scientific progress that that work proclaimed. He developed his theory of art most systematically in the course of a controversy with the composer Jean-Philippe Rameau (1683–1764) about music, but some of his ideas were made more widely known in his novel Julie, ou la nouvelle Héloïse (1761) and his treatise on education Emile (1762). Rameau was a Neo-classicist in the sense that he developed a modernized version of the classical doctrine that the purpose of art is to discover and disclose the hidden forms that lie behind the chaos and flux of human experience. Art, he claimed, was a science, and as such must rest on the same mathematical principles that govern the natural universe, and must obey analogous rules of rational order. Rousseau agreed that art was a science, which must seek to be true to nature. However, he saw nature not as part of the Newtonian universe of predictable regularities observed through telescopes and microscopes, but as the world everyone could see with his own eyes, something that surrounded man and of which man was himself a part....

Article

(von)

(b Marbach, Nov 10, 1759; d Weimar, May 9, 1805).

German poet, playwright and philosopher. He originally studied for a medical career but abandoned it after the striking success of his first play, Die Räuber (1781). Although his fame as an author chiefly rests upon his contributions to poetry and drama, there was an important interlude (1789–95) during which he was drawn instead towards discussing philosophical issues that concerned the nature and significance of art. During this period, which coincided with his appointment to an academic post at the university in Jena, he developed a growing friendship with Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, whose very different temperament and aptitudes stimulated Schiller to reappraise his own vocation as a creative artist. Essays Schiller produced in consequence—notably Über Anmut und Würde (1793) and Über naive und sentimentalische Dichtung (1795–6)—reflect his changing attitudes to his complex relationship with the older writer.

Another formative influence at this time was the philosophy of Immanuel Kant. ...

Article

Howard Caygill

(Daniel Ernst)

(b Breslau, Nov 21, 1768; d Berlin, Feb 12, 1834).

German philosopher and theologian. He attended the university of Halle in 1787–9, then a centre of opposition to the theories of Immanuel Kant. In 1796 he arrived in Berlin where he became close to the Romantic circle of Friedrich von Schlegel. His departure amid mild scandal in 1802 was followed by a period as Professor of Theology at Halle between 1804 and 1807, after which he returned to Berlin. He was a prominent spokesman for the nationalist resistance and reform movement, and in 1810 he was appointed Professor of Theology at the new university of Berlin, a post he held until his death.

During his Berlin years Schleiermacher lectured and published not only in theology, but also in ethics, psychology, aesthetics and political philosophy. His thought in all these areas was governed by the precedence of feeling over reason. This is most apparent in his aesthetics, which criticizes Kant’s attempt to bring the production and enjoyment of works of art under the framework of logical judgement. The texts of Schleiermacher’s aesthetics derive from the ...

Article

David Rodgers

Aesthetic concept, originating in Classical Greece, that was the subject of considerable philosophical debate in 18th-century Europe and that re-emerged in the late 20th century as a central factor in the study of aesthetics. The literary treatise On the Sublime (1st century ad), traditionally ascribed to Longinus, was a major influence on 18th-century writers on taste. In essence, Longinus defined the Sublime as differing from beauty and evoking more intense emotions by vastness, a quality that inspires awe. Whereas beauty may be found in the small, the smooth, the light and the everyday, the Sublime is vast, irregular, obscure and superhuman. The term entered 18th-century discourse by way of literary theory and criticism, such as Grounds of Criticism in Poetry (1704) by John Dennis (1657–1734), and Joseph Addison’s Spectator essays, The Pleasures of the Imagination (1711). It soon came to be applied to visual art by, among others, ...

Article

Howard Caygill

(b Winterthur, Oct 16, 1720; d Berlin, Feb 27, 1779).

Swiss philosopher. He was a student of the Zurich philosophers Johann Jakob Bodmer (1698–1783) and Johann Jakob Breitinger (1701–76) and was elected to the Berlin Academy in 1750, becoming the director of its philosophical section in 1775. He was a leading representative of the Berlin school of ‘popular philosophy’, which introduced the ideas of the Enlightenment to Germany.

Sulzer’s two main works in aesthetics were Untersuchung über den Ursprung der angenehmen und unangenehmen Empfindungen (1755) and Allgemeine Theorie der schönen Künste (1771–4). The Untersuchung, a classic essay in the Zurich style, develops a mimetic doctrine of the imaginative re-creation of the creative processes of nature in opposition to the classicist doctrines of decorum according to rules. While on the whole it follows the rational psychology of Christian Wolff (1679–1754), it re-interprets the latter’s notion of ‘representative power’ as dynamic and productive. Sulzer compared the workings of this power to the flow of a river, claiming that perceptions that conduce to its ‘free flow’ are pleasurable; those that obstruct it displeasurable. The ...

Article

(b Stendal, Dec 9, 1717; d Trieste, June 8, 1768).

German art historian. His writings on the sculpture of ancient Greece and Rome redefined the history of art and provided a theoretical apologia for Neo-classicism. Geschichte der Kunst des Alterthums (1764) was a standard reference on the art of the ancient world until well into the 19th century. Winckelmann revolutionized archaeological studies by providing a framework for stylistic classification of antiquities by period of origin, whereas previous antiquarian scholars had concerned themselves almost exclusively with questions of subject-matter. His analysis of the aesthetics of Greek art and his account of the conditions that encouraged its flowering, which highlighted the importance of climate and the political freedom of the ancient Greek city states, had a major impact in the art world of his time. His scholarly celebrations of masterpieces of ancient sculpture were particularly popular and were widely quoted in travel books and artistic treatises.

The son of a cobbler, Winckelmann studied Greek and Latin, as well as theology, mathematics and medicine, at the universities of Halle and Jena. After five years as a Classics teacher in Seehausen, he was employed in ...