1st Edition

Hegel and the Present of Art’s Past Character

By Alberto L. Siani Copyright 2024

    This book reclaims Hegel’s notion of the “end of art”—or, more precisely, of “art’s past character”—not just as a piece of the history of philosophy but as a living critical and interpretive methodology. It addresses the presence of the past character of art in both Hegel and contemporary philosophy and aesthetics.

    The book’s innovative contribution lies in unifying the Hegelian thesis with discussions of contemporary art and philosophy. The author not only offers a Hegelian exegesis but also applies the idea of the past character of art to themes that are related to both Hegel’s philosophy, such as the French Revolution and the modern state, Kantian aesthetics, and religion and the sacred space disclosed for art, and going beyond Hegel, such as Celan's poetry, Gramsci's criticism of Croce, human rights, and even the grunge rock band Pearl Jam. Conversely, such non-Hegelian explorations will help enlighten what may look like a specific thread of Hegel’s aesthetics, but can be used to shed light on some core motives of his philosophy. The author’s interpretation of art’s past character reclaims the full value, attractiveness, and philosophical soundness of Hegel’s thesis, while rejecting its interpretation in terms of a complete dissolution of the aesthetic element into the philosophical one.

    Hegel and the Present of Art’s Past Character will be of interest to scholars and advanced students working on Hegel, philosophy of art and aesthetics, history of philosophy, political philosophy, and art theory.


    1. Historical and Philosophical Background: Kant and Schiller, the Revolution, and the Malaise of Modernity

    2. From the Symbolic to the Humoristic and Back: The New Sacred of Art

    3. (The Absence of) Art’s Right

    4. Futures of Art: Hegel, Danto, Pippin

    5. Antigone, the Disappearance of the Tragic, and Human Rights

    6. Croce and Gramsci (and Gentile) on Hegel’s Dialectics and the Death of Art

    7. Subjects and Destinies of Poetry: Heidegger and Celan

    8. No Code Aesthetics


    Alberto L. Siani is Associate Professor of Aesthetics at the Department of Civilizations and Forms of Knowledge, University of Pisa. He has published mostly on the aesthetics of German Idealism and is the co-editor, with Sandrine Bergès, of Women Philosophers on Autonomy: Historical and Contemporary Perspectives (Routledge, 2018).