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Late Style and its DiscontentsEssays in art, literature, and music$
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Gordon McMullan and Sam Smiles

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780198704621

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2016

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198704621.001.0001

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From Titian to Impressionism

From Titian to Impressionism

The Genealogy of Late Style

(p.15) 1 From Titian to Impressionism
Late Style and its Discontents

Sam Smiles

Oxford University Press

This chapter outlines the development of late style as part of the critical lexicon of art history, looking especially at the early twentieth century when the concept was developed within the broader context of German traditions of scholarship. Examining the contributions by Georg Simmel and A. E. Brinckmann in particular, the chapter argues that the articulation of late style in the visual arts was closely associated with a notion of heightened subjectivity whose complex engagement with the world is mediated through a new order of representation. This approach differs markedly from Adorno’s better-known formulation of late style and also diverges from it in terms of the aesthetic features it identifies as significant indices of late style. The emergence of alternative theories of late style draws attention to the concept’s historical contingency and in so doing questions its coherence.

Keywords:   late style, art history, Germany, contingency, subjectivity

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