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Art RethoughtThe Social Practices of Art$
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Nicholas Wolterstorff

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780198747758

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198747758.001.0001

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The Early Modern Revolution in the Arts

The Early Modern Revolution in the Arts

(p.5) 1 The Early Modern Revolution in the Arts
Art Rethought

Nicholas Wolterstorff

Oxford University Press

This chapter presents the standard story concerning the revolution in the arts that took place in the early modern period in Western Europe: the rising middle class increasingly engaged works of the arts as objects of disinterested aesthetic attention. This change in practice was accompanied by changes in writing about the arts. Whereas previously writers about the arts focused mainly on the making of works, now they focused instead on what was called “contemplation.” The idea of disinterested contemplation emerged, as did our concept of fine art. And our modern art world came into existence, with its market system, its public museums and concert halls, etc. The chapter closes by contrasting the standard story of the changes that took place with Larry Shiner’s story of those changes.

Keywords:   concept of fine art, contemplation, disinterested, modern art world, Larry Shiner, standard story

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