The Owl of Minerva

Volume 44, Issue 1/2, 2012/2013

Lambert Zuidervaart
Pages 119-142

Art, Religion, and the Sublime
After Hegel

James Elkins argues that art historians should largely abandon the concept of the sublime as a way to understand art. In making this argument, he ignores the conception of the sublime in Hegel’s Aesthetics. This essay challenges Elkins’ argument and indicates how Hegel’s conception might be relevant. After summarizing Hegel’s conception of the sublime, the essay examines its potential significance today, both for interpreting contemporary artworks and for understanding the relations among art, religion, and philosophy. Contemporary art of the sublime provides an important reason why we need to reconceive these relations and reappropriate Hegel’s conception of the sublime.