Volume 1, 1998
Aesthetics and Philosophy of the Arts
Art and Republicanism
Republicanism is contrasted with liberalism with special reference to the notions of presence, absence and representation. The contrast is more conspicuous in the Platonic tradition of republicanism than it is in the Aristotelian tradition, the former being more likely to degenerate into some form of totalitarianism. Examples thereof are given in accordance with the distinction between a strong and a soft iconoclasm, as it is found both in Antiquity and in Eastern and Western Europe’s quest for absolute presence or—as in avantgarde art of modernity—for absolute self-presence of the work of art. Having left such political and artistic utopias behind it, the pendulum is now swinging back in the direction of representation, but no longer in the illusionist sense which has dominated Western art form the Renaissance to the beginning of our century. Tied to the question of iconoclasm is the debate about the end of art inaugurated by Hegel in the general introduction to his Aesthetics and resumed in our days.