Art History Unstuffed. Jean-François Lyotard and the Sublime, Part Two

Art History Unstuffed

“Jean-François Lyotard and the Sublime, Part Two” posted on May 23, 2014.

Although it can be traced back to antiquity, the Sublime re-emerged in the modern era in the writings of early aestheticians, Baumgarten, Burke and Kant. Lyotard felt that the idea of the sublime should be updated and reconsidered for postmodern times.

The importance of Kant’s concept of the Sublime is that, unlike Beauty, which resided in object, whether natural or human made, is that the Sublime is a reaction within the mind. But in order to deal with the Sublime in a universal fashion, Kant needed an example of an Event that induced or caused a Sublime reaction. That Event had to have a universal basis (or as universal as a European philosopher in his era could conceive) and Kant’s choice example of an Event in the Critique of Judgment (1790) was the French Revolution.

 Dr. Jeanne S. M. Willette

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