European Thinking and the Study of World Art from a Natural Perspective

Ancuta Mortu


My aim in this paper is to address some difficulties related to the development of an emerging research program called world art studies. While it originates as a European discipline in the German scholarly tradition around 1900 (Pfisterer in Zijlmans, 2008), this program comes to the fore only recently (Onians, 1996, 2016), with recent advances in natural and cognitive sciences which hold promise for providing more inclusive categories that could serve the study of art as a worldwide phenomenon.
I focus more specifically on the strengths and weaknesses of psychology as explanatory framework for world art studies. Unlike the romantic art historiographers of the late 19th century, contemporary scholars no longer dwell on collective mentalities or spirits of an age (Gombrich, 1967) but the problem of postulating mysterious faculties in relation to art behavior and aesthetic response is still present when adopting as an entry point the universality of human nature.


art historical writing; world art studies; human cognition; psychology; European context

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ESPES (ISSN 1339-1119) is published biannually by Society for Aesthetics in Slovakia
Institute of Aesthetics and Art Culture, Faculty of Arts, University of Presov, Slovakia

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