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Hegel's AestheticsThe Art of Idealism$
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Lydia L. Moland

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780190847326

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: August 2019

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780190847326.001.0001

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Classical Art

Classical Art

The Embodied Divine

(p.78) 3 Classical Art
Hegel's Aesthetics

Lydia L. Moland

Oxford University Press

Hegel claims that the human body is the only physical form that can fully embody the divine. Classical Greek artists perfectly depicted this embodiment in their mythology and statues. Hegel traces the emergence of the human out of earlier evocations of nature as the divine and argues that the perfect repose of Phidian sculpture represents the complete interpenetration of spirit and nature. But once human subjectivity begins to develop, it ruptures this unity and precipitates classical art’s decline. Aristophanes, Hegel claims, achieved a late example of classical perfection in his comedies. But soon afterward, classical art dissolves into incomplete forms such as satire, domestic comedy, and merely pleasant sculpture. After this decline, art will never again achieve the highest level of beauty or regain its prominence in human culture.

Keywords:   Hegel, aesthetics, philosophy of art, classical art, Greek art, Greek temples, Winckelmann, comedy, satire

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