from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Ma Yuan (1190–1279): On a mountain path in spring

In art and philosophy, contemplation is aesthetic judgment.

To the subject

The viewer takes for the visual arts , the position which the spectators for the ephemeral arts holds: They each are the motivation for the artist, his works exhibit .

In relation to analytical observation as opposed to aesthetic observation , the concept of the observer plays an important role in the context of an observation of a natural phenomenon in science, in relation to memorial observation in the legal system of eyewitnesses , in relation to the moral component of the onlookers , the onlookers or the voyeur .

The term contemplation is related to the philosophical concept of perception . Consideration is already in the Middle High German as betrahtunge occupied noun form of the verb consider and means "striving for something consideration". The verb to view (mhd. Betrahten , ahd. Bitrahtön ) meant as a prefix to seek to first “consider, consider, strive”. In early New High German , the present-day meaning of look at: "look at, look at", developed from this via "looking thoughtfully".

In modern, sophisticated language, a consideration is also a “reflection”, an “inner perception”, a “train of thought” or its written explanation.

Due to the usage history of viewing and observation in particular works of fine art in their reception "watched" is not only, but "considered". In this sense, the term ekphrasis has changed from "pictorial representation" to image description .

The artist's engagement with the viewer

Parmigianino : Self-portrait in the convex mirror. 1524
Alfred Le Petit (1841–1909): Self-portrait. 1893

It is one of the profound changes that make the transition from the Middle Ages to the modern era that the artist wants to present himself as a person to the viewer. An early symptom of this new attitude is the signing of the work. It was only in the Renaissance that depictions appear that depict people looking at works of art ( second-order observation ), and soon portraits of artists who paint or draw are also common ( meta-art ). In dealing with perspective and reflection , however, the artist becomes part of the subject to be depicted , and self-portraits can already be found in Dürer's time , initially hidden in group pictures (a marginal figure bears the features of the master), but soon also as the main motif. Here the author turns the situation around by asking the viewer of the picture to watch him or her while looking at it.

This thrust of innovation in artistic expression stagnated towards the end of the Baroque and was only taken up again in the modern age of the 20th century, in which the artists increasingly seek more direct contact with the viewer, by René Magritte and MC Escher - the explicit questions to the viewer - starting with conceptual art in which it seeks to remove the boundaries between artist, work and audience.

Other cultures take a completely different path, for example Chinese painting , which, in both its Buddhist and Confucian forms, addresses contemplation from its earliest beginnings ( Wang Wei , around 700-760), but always maintains it in its canon of expression (such as Shi Tao , 1641 – approx. 1707).

Aesthetic assessment in the broader sense

At the beginning of the 20th century Friedrich Kirchner wrote : “To look at means [...] in general, to observe, research, investigate; […] In particular, to look closely at something or to listen to it; He looks at what interests people. ”( Friedrich Kirchner ) He continues:

“The concept of observation also belongs in aesthetics. Beautiful only means an object perceived with the senses, never a merely thought; the sensual perceptions on which every aesthetic judgment is based are, however, only those of the higher senses, of sight and hearing. Through the lower senses, man grasps things only through suffering, feeling, and remains one with them. But through the higher senses he places them outside himself, separates his personality from them, contemplates them; [...]. "

As far as the importance of viewing as a differentiated aesthetic assessment is concerned, Kirchner refers to the influence of Friedrich Schiller . At the end of the 18th century, he had already equated contemplation with reflection and separated it from desire:

“Contemplation (reflection) is man's first liberal relationship to the universe that surrounds him. If desire takes hold of its object directly, contemplation moves its own into the distance and makes it its true and inalienable property precisely in that it flees it from passion. [...] "

- Schiller

In 1789 Schiller wrote in the poem Die Künstler from the contemplation who "[...] lingers thinking."

The well-known saying beauty is in the eye of the beholder is often attributed to David Hume ( Essays moral & political , 1742), but can already be traced back to Thucydides .

See also


On the historical image reception of individual epochs (chronologically ordered):

Individual evidence

  1. a b Duden "Etymologie" - dictionary of origins of the German language , 2nd edition, Dudenverlag, 1989
  2. after Mackensen - Large German Dictionary , 9th edition, 1977
  3. ^ Friedrich Kirchner, Dictionary of Basic Philosophical Terms , 1907
  4. Friedrich Schiller, On the Aesthetic Education of Man , 25th letter
  5. Complete text in Project Gutenberg
  6. ^ Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. In: Jennifer Speake (Ed.): The Oxford Dictionary of Proverbs . Oxford University Press, 2003