The article deals with André Malraux’s comparative theory of art. He, a French intellectual, novelist, and philosopher developed an original philosophical approach to art works and their transformations in time which has still a significant impact to contemporary comparative studies of art. The idea of metamorphosis expresses Malraux’s radical turn from classical academic aesthetics and his closeness to existential philosophical and aesthetical thinking. It reinforces the concept of the imaginary museum and provides a more philosophical background. Each culture (...) perceives and accepts the art of other cultures according to its own viewpoints in a process which is defined by Malraux as metamorphosis. The full significance of metamorphosis appeared in modern civilisation—the first which collected art forms from any period and place. The work of art lives its own life deliberated from history and its consequential postulation of human permanence. The metamorphosis is the key to Malraux’s humanist metaphysics of art. (shrink)
This study provides a step by step explanation of André Malraux’s theory of art. Drawing on his major works, such as "The Voices of Silence" and "The Metamorphosis of the Gods," it examines topics such as the nature of artistic creation, the psychology of our response to art, the birth of the notion of “art” itself and its transformation after Manet, the birth and death of the idea of beauty, the neglected question of the relationship between art and the (...) passage of time, the emergence of our “first universal world of art,” the contemporary role of the art museum and the musée imaginaire, and the contentious question of the relationship between art and history. -/- Rejecting negative criticisms from writers such as Maurice Merleau-Ponty and E. H. Gombrich, the study argues that Malraux offers us a theory of art that is fully coherent and highly illuminating. In addition, the analysis shows that he presents a radical challenge to the traditional explanations of art inherited from the Enlightenment that have dominated Western thinking for some three hundred years. In short, the study unveils a way of understanding art that is nothing short of an intellectual revolution. -/- The book is the English version of a study entitled André Malraux et l’Art: Une Révolution Intellectuelle published in French by Peter Lang in April 2021. (shrink)
Cette étude présente une explication systématique des éléments clés de la théorie de l’art d’André Malraux. Se basant sur des œuvres telles que Les Voix du silence, Le Surnaturel, L’Irréel et L’Intemporel, elle aborde des sujets cruciaux comme la nature de la création artistique, la psychologie de notre réaction à l’art, la naissance de la notion d’« art » et sa transformation après Manet, la naissance et la mort de l’idée de beauté, la question cruellement négligée de la relation (...) entre l’art et le passage du temps, l’émergence de notre « premier monde de l’art universel », le rôle contemporain du musée d’art et du Musée Imaginaire, et la question épineuse du lien entre l’art et l’histoire. Contrairement aux critiques négatives parfois émises contre la pensée de Malraux, l’étude soutient qu’il nous offre une théorie de l’art mûrement réfléchie, entièrement cohérente et très éclairante. De surcroît, et malgré des allégations occasionnelles que la pensée de Malraux manque d’originalité, l’analyse montre que sa théorie de l’art est hautement originale et constitue un défi radical aux explications traditionnelles de l’art issues des Lumières qui ont dominé la pensée occidentale pendant quelque trois cents ans. En bref, l’étude dévoile une façon de comprendre la nature de l’art qui n’est rien de moins qu’une révolution intellectuelle. Le livre va être publie également en anglais. (shrink)
An overview of Malraux's theory of art, with sub-headings: "Basic Principles","The Creative Process","The Emergence of 'Art'","Art and Time", "The Modern Universal World of Art", and "Critical Responses". Includes a brief discussion of the musée imaginaire.
One might naturally suppose that philosophers of art would take a strong interest in the idea of creation in the context of art. In fact, this has often not been the case. In analytic aesthetics, the issue tends to dwell on the sidelines and in continental aesthetics a shadow has sometimes been cast over the topic by the notion of the “death of the author” and by the claim, as Roland Barthes put it, that the author is only ever able (...) to “imitate a gesture that is always anterior, never original”. This paper explains the understanding of artistic creation developed by the French art theorist André Malraux in his well-known book The Voices of Silence. Malraux argues that the true artist is involved in a creative act in the full sense of the term – creation ex nihilo – despite the debt he or she often owes to other artists. The paper also comments briefly on possible reasons why traditional post-Enlightenment aesthetics has said so little about the topic in question. (shrink)
After an initial period of popularity in the 1960s and 1970s, André Malraux’s works on the theory of art, "The Voices of Silence" and "The Metamorphosis of the Gods", lapsed into relative obscurity. A major factor in this fall from grace was the frosty reception given to these works by a number of leading art historians, including E.H. Gombrich, who accused Malraux of an irresponsible approach to art history and of "reckless inaccuracies". This essay examines a representative sample (...) of the art historians' arguments and contends that they reveal serious misreadings of Malraux’s texts and a recurring tendency to confuse matters of interpretation with matters of fact. The article suggests that the charge of irresponsibility might well be levelled at the critics themselves, and that the myth of Malraux as guilty of ‘reckless inaccuracies’ needs to be debunked. (shrink)
Very little has been written in recent decades about the temporal nature of art. The two principal explanations provided by our Western cultural tradition are that art is timeless (`eternal') or that it belongs within the world of historical change. Neither account offers a plausible explanation of the world of art as we know it today, which contains large numbers of works which are self-evidently not timeless because they have been resurrected after long periods of oblivion with significances quite different (...) from those which they originally held, and which also seem to have escaped history because, though long-forgotten, they have `come alive' again for us today. In his two key works on the theory of art, "Les Voix du silence" and "La Métamorphose des dieux", André Malraux offers an entirely new account of the temporal nature of art based on the concept of metamorphosis. Unlike the traditional explanations, Malraux's account makes sense of the world of art as we now know it. He revolutionizes our understanding of the relationship between art and time. (shrink)
Choderlos de Laclos’s novel 'Les Liaisons dangereuses', first published in 1782, is regarded as one of the outstanding works of French literature. This article concerns a well known commentary by the twentieth-century writer André Malraux which, though often mentioned by critics, has seldom been studied in detail. The article argues that, while Malraux endorses the favourable modern assessments of 'Les Liaisons dangereuses', his analysis diverges in important respects from prevailing critical opinion. In particular, he regards the work as (...) the commencement of an important new stage in the French novel rather than, as often argued, the culmination of the existing libertine tradition. (shrink)
Modern critics often regard Goya's etchings and black paintings as satirical observations on the social and political conditions of his times. In a study of Goya first published in 1950, which seldom receives the attention it merits, the French author and art theorist André Malraux contends that these works have a much deeper significance. The etchings and black paintings, Malraux argues, represent a fundamental challenge to the humanist artistic tradition that began with the Renaissance - a tradition founded (...) on the pursuit of a transcendent world of nobility, harmony and beauty. Following an illness that left him deaf for life, Goya developed an art of a fundamentally different kind - an art, Malraux writes, ruled by ‘the unity of the prison house’ which replaced transcendence with a pervasive feeling of dependence and from which all trace of humanism has been erased. Foreshadowing modern art's abandonment of the Renaissance ideal, the etchings and black paintings are the first announcement of the death of beauty in Western art. (shrink)
Examines Malraux's account of the creative process in art, discusses a misreading of Malraux by Merleau-Ponty, and highlights shortcomings in certain "analytic aesthetics" accounts of the creative process.
Critics often situate "Les Liaisons dangereuses" within the tradition of the novel of libertinage. Many consider it to be superior to its predecessors but argue nonetheless that it is part of an established tradition, not the beginning of something new. Malraux demurs. While noting similarities with the novel of libertinage, he contends that Laclos’ novel links up much more significantly with the novel of the future, its descendants including Julien Sorel and even Raskolnikov.
One of the most remarkable contributions André Malraux makes to the theory of art is his explanation of the relationship between art and time: his argument that art transcends time through a process of metamorphosis. This proposition, which replaces the traditional belief that art resists time because it is eternal or immortal, poses a major challenge to traditional aesthetics. This article examines the notion of metamorphosis and the challenge it represents.
How does art – literature, visual art, or music – endure over time? What special power does it possess that enables it to “transcend” time – to overcome temporal distance and speak to us not just as evidence of times gone by, but as a living presence? The Renaissance, which discovered this transcendent power of art in the classical sculpture and literature it admired so strongly, concluded that great art is impervious to time – “timeless”, “immortal”, “eternal” – a belief (...) that left a profound impression on Renaissance culture and often found expression in its poetry. Subsequently the same belief exerted a powerful influence on Enlightenment aesthetics and, in various forms, it still lingers on today. The nineteenth century, however, saw a major challenge to this thinking. Hegel, Marx and Taine stressed the historical embeddedness of art and for these three thinkers, as for a series of more recent theorists such as Sartre, Benjamin, and Adorno, art belongs within the world of historical change. To locate its essential qualities in a “timeless” realm removed from the flow of history would be an idealist illusion. The conflict between these two positions has resulted in an impasse, and today we appear to lack any viable account of one of art’s key features – its capacity to transcend time. André Malraux proposes an entirely new account of this unique power of art. For Malraux, as this article explains, art is neither exempt from history (timeless) nor wholly inseparable from it. Art overcomes temporal distance – transcends time – through metamorphosis, a process of continual transformation in significance in which history plays an essential, but not exclusive, part. “La métamorphose,” Malraux writes, “est la vie même de l’œuvre d’art dans le temps, l’un de ses caractères spécifiques.” This proposition, to which contemporary aesthetics has so far paid very little attention, is a revolutionary step in our thinking about art. -/- . (shrink)
Aron reflects with simplicity and depth on industrial society, communism, the future of democracy, peace and war, the nuclear age, and also Charles de Gaulle, Jean-Paul Sartre, Andre Malraux, Henry Kissinger and others.
The question of whether or not art is essentially a representation of reality has long been a bone of contention among philosophers of art – especially in the major branch of that discipline called the analytic philosophy of art, or analytic aesthetics. This paper argues that art - visual art, literature or music - is never essentially representation. The argument is based on the thinking of André Malraux in "The Voices of Silence".
A well-known feature of great works of art is their power to “live on” long after the moment of their creation – to remain vital and alive long after the culture in which they were born has passed into history. This power to transcend time is common to works as various as the plays of Shakespeare, the Victory of Samothrace, and many works from early cultures such as Egypt and Buddhist India which we often encounter today in major art museums. (...) -/- What is the nature of this power and how does it operate? The Renaissance decided that works of art are timeless, “immortal” – immune from historical change – and this idea has exerted a profound influence on Western thought. But do we still believe it? Does it match our experience of art today which includes so many works from the past that spent long periods in oblivion and have clearly not been immune from historical change? -/- This book examines the seemingly miraculous power of art to transcend time – an issue widely neglected in contemporary aesthetics. Tracing the history of the question from the Renaissance onwards, and discussing thinkers as various as David Hume, Hegel, Marx, Walter Benjamin, Sartre, and Theodor Adorno, the book argues that art transcends time through a process of metamorphosis – a thesis first developed by the French art theorist, André Malraux. The implications of this idea pose major challenges for traditional thinking about the nature of art. (shrink)
The dissertation is an interdisciplinary study of the dismantling effects postmodern discourses have within the humanities. Postmodernism's anti-foundationalism, I argue, can only take shape around questions of ultimacy and sacrality in human existence. The dissertation explores the emergence, persistence and metamorphosis of the ultimate and the sacred in art history, modern literature, continental philosophy, and religion. Central figures studied in the work include Mircea Eliade, Gilles Deleuze, Jacques Derrida, Andre Malraux, Friedrich Nietzsche, and Ludwig Wittgenstein.
Literary criticism is neither more nor less important today than it has been since the becoming an accepted activity in the Renaissance. The humanists of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries created the institution of criticism as we know it: the recovery and analysis of works of art. They printed, edited, and interpreted texts that dated from antiquity and which had been lost or disheveled. Evangelical in their fervor, avid in their search for lost or buried riches, they also put into (...) circulation certain influential ideas. Perhaps the most important of these was that the authoritative version of a book is the original version, freed from interpolation and accretion. A correlative idea was that, similarly, one could rely on an original or natural light in the interpreter, an intuitive good sense that helped him to a true understanding of a text if it was a genuine text. . . . There are signs that we are now nearing the end of this Renaissance humanism. Not because of a determinist or providential march of history, but ideas eventually exhaust what influence they may have. Today, after all, there is no dearth of ancient texts, or of new ones. Editing, moreover, has become only too conscious of the difficulty of recovering an "original" version or edition: in Wordsworth scholarship, for example, the authority of the 1850 Prelude, the text approved by the poet shortly before his death, was challenged by the 1805-6 Prelude printed by de Sélincourt in the 1920s; and the authority of this is in turn being eroded by antecedent manuscripts, the so-called "Five-Books Prelude" and "Two-Part Prelude." It is equally precarious to establish the text of Emily Dickinson's poems—which of the variants are to be chosen as definitive? Or, from another angle, Melville's Billy Budd has become a mine for genetic speculation. Even when no editorial problem exists, a philosophical issue arises as to the concept of originality itself.1 · 1. For the time being, it is enough to quote Hegel's provocative attack on all "Ur-Metaphysics": "What comes later is more concrete and richer; the first is abstract, and least differentiated." Geoffrey Hartman, professor of English and comparative literature at Yale University, is the author of The Unmediated Vision, Andre Malraux, Wordsworth's Poetry, Beyond Formalism, and most recently The Fate of Reading. He is currently working on a book to be published in late 1977, Criticism in the Wilderness. (shrink)
I now come to an idea that is important to me and that I address in an article from 1957 entitled “Où va le roman?” Both André Malraux and Jean-Paul Sartre made use of the novel early in their careers before abandoning it. Is this development inevitable? Against the naturalist novel, which eliminates the subject in favor of the object, we see the rise, after the Second World War, of the metaphysical novel, which will, on the contrary, gradually destroy (...) its object. I contend in this article that Malraux’s and Sartre’s transcendence of the novel—in Malraux’s The Voices of Silence (Les Voix du silence) and in Sartre’s engagement with an overly rational subjectivism—neither can nor should become a rallying cry. I .. (shrink)
Born in Posen in 1905, Jean Gebser came from an old Franconian family domiciled in Thuringia since 1236. A nephew of German chancellor von Bethmann-Hollweg, he was a descendant on his mother's side of Luther's friend Melanchthon. He was educated in Breslau, Konigsberg, Rossleben, and at the University of Berlin. In 1929 Gebser emigrated to Italy and subsequently lived in Spain where he was attached to the Ministry of Education of the Spanish Republic. From 1937-1939 he lived in Paris in (...) the circle which included Picasso, Andre Malraux, Paul Eluard, and Louis Aragon. In 1939 he made his permanent home in Switzerland where he became a citizen in 1951. For many years Gebser was Lecturer at the Institute of Applied Psychology in Zurich and was later appointed honorary Professor of Comparative Studies of Civilization at the University of Salzburg, Austria. For his many publications, including books on Rilke, his friend Federico Garcia Lorca, recent developments in the sciences, East-West relations, evolution, and twentieth century civilization and its antecedents, Gebser received several prizes, including a share of the German Schiller prize, the literary award of the Esslingen Artist's Guild, the Koggen prize of the City of Minden, and the literary award of the City of Berne. He died in Berne on May 14, 1973.". (shrink)
Sur quels critères Malraux a-t-il bâti ses associations d'oeuvre de cultures différentes dans son "Musée imaginaire"? Une question d'actualité à l'heure où les musées mêlent oeuvres occidentales et arts primitifs ou arts contemporains et arts anciens dans une même présentation. Georges Didi-Huberman, philosophe et historien de l'art, enseigne actuellement à l'École des hautes études en sciences sociales de Paris. Avec plus d'une trentaine de livres publiés depuis 1982, il est aujourd'hui l'un des théoriciens les plus actifs dans le paysage (...) contemporain des recherches sur l'image. Les conférences de la Chaire du Louvre et le livre qui les accompagne concernent le Musée imaginaire d'André Malraux. Il s'agira d'interroger le travail d'André Malraux sur les illustrations de son Musée imaginaire, travail explicitement inspiré par le Benjamin de la "reproductibilité technique" et de "l'auteur comme producteur". On étudiera l'ouverture du champ imaginaire que suppose, chez Malraux, la pratique du livre d'art en tant qu'album d'images soutenues par une sorte d'expressivité du cadre, de la lumière et du montage. On verra comment, dans cette pratique de montage, Malraux construit l'autorité de son style visuel et la clôture de son champ littéraire. On s'interrogera surtout - de façon critique - sur le destin anti-historique et anti-politique de son esthétique, qui finit donc bien loin de celle de Benjamin. (shrink)
Izraelit, André Chouraqui, rođen u Alžiru , pravnik sa Sorbone, hebraist, orijentalist, ekumenist, beletrist, suosnivač »Abrahamovskoga bratstva«, prevođen na 20 europskih i 3 dalekoistočna jezika; za njegove prijevode kapitalnih sakralnih knjiga imenjak mu Malraux rekao da su »grandiozna avantura duha«… U svojoj respektivnoj knjizi Chouraqui promatra jednu za drugom Deset zapovijedi u svima trima monoteističkim vjerama sve do u naše dane. Iz poglavlja u poglavlje, vodeći računa o evoluciji običaja, društva, znanosti i tehnike, autor nam nudi nov pogled na (...) primjenu i kršenje svake od Deset zapovijedi. Deset zapovijedi/besjeda bjehu i jesu prva prvcata, a i jedina jedincata Deklaracija o dužnostima čovjeka. Autor zagovara uvjerenje da su velike svjetske religije osnova za globalnu etiku, jedina podloga za uspostavu svijeta bez ratova,svijeta miroljublja, snošljivosti i ravnoteže u majci prirodi sa svim njezinim živim i neživim bićima. Chouraqui ne predlaže stapanje svjetskih religija, već zagovara ideal da se na njihovoj zajedničkoj etici – sinergijom – zapodjene novo doba, jer da jedino tako čovječanstvo ima šanse za opstanak. U povijesti čovječanstva A. Chouraqui jedan je jedincati prevoditelj triju »Svetih knjiga« s njihovih izvornika: Staroga zavjeta s hebrejskoga, Novoga zavjeta s grčkoga, Kur’ana s arapskoga. Njegova autorska knjiga Deset zapovijedi danas remek-djelo je francuskoga kultivirana izraza, britke misaonosti i univerzalne aktualnosti; hrvatska inačica nastojala je, punom pomnjom, prenijeti ta rijetka svojstva.André Chouraqui, an Israelite, born in 1917 in Algeria, who studied law at the Sorbonne, is anexpert in Hebrew and Oriental studies, an ecumenist, belletrist, co-founder of the “Fraternityof Abraham” in France, has been translated in 20 European and 3 Far-Eastern languages. Hisnamesake Malraux once said that Chouraqui’s translations are “a grandiose adventureof the spirit”… In his respective book Chouraqui examines, one by one, the Ten Commandmentsin all three monotheistic religions up to the present day.Chapter after chapter, taking into consideration the evolution of customs, societies, sciences,and technologies, the author gives us a new perspective on applying and breaking of each of theCommandments. The Ten Commandments/Sayings have been, and still are, the first and foremost, the one and only Declaration of the Duties of Man. The author advocates the belief thatthe great world religions are the basis for a global ethics, the only foundation for establishinga world without war, a world of peace, tolerance, equilibrium with Mother Nature, with all herbeings, animate and inanimate. Chouraqui does not propose an amalgamation ofthe world religions, but advocates an ideal based on their common ethics – which would establish a new era by using the synergy and the united spiritual energies, believing that this is the only chance for survival of the human race. Throughoutthe human history, A. Chouraqui is the one and only translator of all three sacred books fromtheir originals: The Old Testament from Hebrew, The New Testament from Greek, Qur’an fromArabic. His book The Ten Commandments Today is a masterpiece of the French scholarlyexpression, sharp thinking, and universal relevance; the Croatian translation has strived, withmeticulous attention, to convey these rare qualities. (shrink)
This issue investigates the meaning of photographic image for contemporary art. In Malraux' dream, photography offers the ultimate guarantee for a coherent presentation of art. However, as Douglas Crimp has stated, the appearance and enhancement of photography as a form of art among other art forms disrupted the center of the art world. What does this mean for art and philosophy in our time? Various artists and theorists will delve into that question: Christian Boltanski, Benjamin H.D. Buchloh, Jean-François Chevrier, (...) Douglas Crimp, Jos de Mul, Mirjam de Zeeuw, Rineke Dijkstra, Michael Gibbs, Rodney Graham, Gerald van der Kaap, Karen Knorr, Zoe Leonard, Ken Lum, Hermann Pitz, Liza-May Post, John Roberts, Allan Sekula, Andres Serrano, Jan Simons, Beat Streuli, John M. Swinnen, Renée van de Vall, Hilde van Gelder, Hripsimé Visser, Jeff Wall, Ian Wallace and Herta Wolf. (shrink)