The Owl of Minerva

Volume 29, Issue 1, Fall 1997

Stephen Houlgate
Pages 1-21

Hegel and the "End" of Art

The aim of this article is to explain why, in Hegel's view, art's history brings it to the point at which it can no longer afford the highest satisfaction of our spiritual needs and so fulfill its own highest calling, and why, nevertheless, we moderns still need art and still need it to create beauty. I argue that Hegel advocates a modern art of beauty because he believes that what has to be given aesthetic expression in the modern world is concrete human freedom and life (rather than the abstract, subjective freedom of Romantic irony) and that the aesthetic expression of such concrete human freedom entails beauty.