First published in 1959, this book is concerned with the methodology of art history, and so with questions about historical thinking; it enquires what scientific history of art can accomplish, what are its mean and limitations? It contains philosophical reflections on history and begins with chapters on the scope and limitations of a sociology of art, and the concept of ideology in the history of art. The chapter on the concept of "art history without names" occupies the central position in the book — thoroughly discussing the basic philosophical outlook for the whole work. There are also further chapters on psychoanalysis, folk art and popular art. The chapter on the role of convention in the history of art points the way for further study.
I Introduction: The Scope and Limitations of a Sociology of Art; II The Sociological approach: The Concept of Ideology in the History of Art; III The Psychological Approach: Psychoanalysis and Art; 1. Sublimation and Symbolization 2. Romanticism and the Loss of Reality 3. Art as a Mean of Substitutive Gratification 4 Psychologism and the Autonomy of Spiritual Forms 5. Psychoanalysis, Sociology, and History 6. Problems of Art Answerable and Unanswerable by Psychoanalysis 7. Art, The Unconscious Mind, Illness, and the Dream 8. Images and their Ambiguity 9 Psychoanalysis and Art History 10. Destruction and Restitution through Art; IV The Philosophical Implications of Art History: "Art History without Names"; 1.Wöfflin and Historicism 2. The "Basic Concept of Art History" and the Categories of Historical Thinking 3. Logical and Aesthetic Validity 4. Historical Necessity and Individual Freedom 5. Style and its Changes 6. Understanding and Misunderstanding 7. The Sociological approach; V Educational Strata in the History of Art: Folk Art and Popular Art; 1. The Art of the People, the Masses, and the Educated 2. Folk Art, Peasant Art, Provincial Art 3. Reception Theory and Production Theory 4. Improvization and Schematization 5. The Beginnings of Folk Art 6. On the History of Folk-Poetry 7. The Blossoming and Decay of Folk Art 8. The Concept of Popular Art: Standardization and Commercialization 9. Flight from Reality 10. The Origins of Popular Art 11. The Popular Art of the Modern Bourgeois 12. The Cinema; VI Conflicting Forces in the History of Art: Originality and the Conventions; 1. The Language of Art 2. The Incoherence of the Work of Art 3. Sentiments and Conventions 4. The Conventions of the Theater 5. On the Language of the Film 6. Fictions Regarding Truth to Nature on the Visual Arts 7. Spontaneity and Convention;; Index