Volume 30, Issue 3, 2020
Comparative Culture Studies in Philosophy and Aesthetics
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.