Abstract: Erzsébet Rózsa, “Vom Ideal der Schönheit zum Prinzip der Freiheit. Einige systematische Überlegungen Hegels über das Ende der Kunst als ihren „neuen Anfang“” (“Von Hegel bis heute” – Rome, 16-18 December 2013) (I)

From December 16-18, 2013 an Italian-German workshop, “Da Hegel ad oggi. Sviluppi della riflessione estetica tedesca e italiana dopo la morte dell’arte. / Von Hegel bis heute. Entwicklung der deutschen und italienischen Ästhetik nach dem Ende der Kunst,” was held in Rome (see our previous post – link). Prominent philosophers and young researchers participated in the workshop and delivered talks mainly focused on the end of art and its developments after Hegel.

All contributions will be collected in a volume that will be published in German by Wilhelm Fink Verlag and in Italian by a publisher, yet to be determined.

We are pleased to host the abstracts of some of the conference talks on our website.

We are honored to start with the abstract of Prof. Dr. Erzsébet Rózsa’s talk, “Vom Ideal der Schönheit zum Prinzip der Freiheit. Einige systematische Überlegungen Hegels über das Ende der  Kunst als ihren „neuen Anfang.“


Erzsébet Rózsa

From Beauty to Freedom. Hegel’s thesis on the end of art as the ‘beginning’ of art in the systematic context


The aim of this essay is to draw attention to the tensions rooted in modern art itself, which lead — in Hegel’s conception — to a new enrichment of art in its very process of dissolving. Hegel exemplifies this fundamental ambivalence not only by single phenomena but he discusses it partly in a historical manner and partly in a systematical context. In his theory of modernity a new basic function of art for culture as a whole — including the culture of thinking, conviction and behaviour — is expressed, which consists in the “education for freedom” of the individual. Freedom as the main principle of “modern times” takes to a radical change in art as well: the “infinitely subjective freedom” brings phenomena into being that have to be interpreted within the wider conceptual spectrum of Hegel’s Aesthetics, respectively his philosophy of art.

Such characterizations would include inwardness as a new principle and a new content, the contingency of content and acts, the formal independence of characters, the particularity as a basic logical figure for explaining new phenomena, the formalism as a fundamental direction of modern art, the artist as a “free spirit”, the mean and the “unbeautiful” as issues, the work of art as a “harmless gambling” or the new consumption of the work of art in the self-consumption of modern individuality. These characterizations of modern art are no longer explainable only in the perspective on the beauty of the ideal but more so in that of modern freedom. Precisely in this change of perspectives from the ideal of beauty in classical art to the principle of the subjective freedom of modern art, it can be found a current potential for interpretation. In the cutlined systematic frame Hegel differentiates between two historical types of beauty: the “ideal of beauty” of classical art and the “formal law” of the representation of beauty in modern art.

Erzsébet Rózsa, Professor at the University of Debrecen, fellow at the University of Münster. Some publications: Versöhnung und System. München 2005; Hegels Konzeption praktischer Individualität. Paderborn 2007; Modern Individuality in Hegel’s Practical Philosophy. Leiden/Boston 2012.  


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