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Dialogue and Universalism

Volume 30, Issue 3, 2020

Comparative Culture Studies in Philosophy and Aesthetics

Žilvinė Gaižutytė-Filipavičienė
Pages 263-280

André Malraux’s Comparative Theory of Art

The article deals with André Malraux’s (1901–1976) comparative theory of art. He, a French intellectual, novelist, and philosopher developed an original philosophical approach to art works and their transformations in time which has still a significant impact to contemporary comparative studies of art. The idea of metamorphosis expresses Malraux’s radical turn from classical academic aesthetics and his closeness to existential philosophical and aesthetical thinking. It reinforces the concept of the imaginary museum and provides a more philosophical background. Each culture perceives and accepts the art of other cultures according to its own viewpoints in a process which is defined by Malraux as metamorphosis. The full significance of metamorphosis appeared in modern civilisation—the first which collected art forms from any period and place. The work of art lives its own life deliberated from history and its consequential postulation of human permanence. The metamorphosis is the key to Malraux’s humanist metaphysics of art.

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