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On the Limits of Empathy Author(s): Juliet Koss Source: The Art Bulletin, Vol. 88, No. 1 (Mar.

, 2006), pp. 139-157 Published by: College Art Association Stable URL: . Accessed: 14/10/2013 11:26
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the Limits

of Empathy

Juliet Koss

After a century of benign neglect and denigration, empathy cultural has been rearing its comforting head in Anglophone discourse. Seemingly a kinder, gentler model of the aesthetic
response?compared or harsh traction, last decade to an with stringent abstraction, has of subjects, been estrangement?it unlikely range dizzying in linked including the dis the art

the possibility of bridging subject posi radically different across both within and historical periods and geo tions, the discipline of art history, Einf?hlung graphic zones.4 Within more specifically has garnered scholarly and critical notice in
the last decade.5 Attention and to its emergence in late-nineteenth century Germany an effort to broaden modernism, changes its demise in the reflects decades ensuing of the grand narrative and complicate vast and its central tenets, explore and of modern spectatorship. practice

of and Adolf Menzel, the architecture of Edward Hopper Frank Gehry, the Surrealist project, and the entire discipline of film.1 The concept has also recently been investigated, and even explicidy promoted, artist Karen by the performance the conceptual artist Barbara Kruger (Fig. I).2 empathy Frequendy conflated with sympathy or compassion, and psychological usually signifies a process of emotional projection. More specifically, it can refer to the concept of the activity of "feeling into"?that was de Einf?hlung?literally, Finley and
veloped in late-nineteenth-century Germany in the overlap an em

question in the nature

Empathy initial theoretical statement concerning Einf?hlung was in his in 1873 by the philosopher Robert Vischer made treatise ?ber das optische Formgef?hl: Ein Beitrag zur Aesthetik to Aesthet (On the Optical Sense of Form: A Contribution The
ics). Vischer used engagement he wrote, the term with to describe a work of the art. viewer's In viewing active an perceptual object,


ping fields of philosophical

optics, bodied and art and response to an image,


to describe spatial



history or object,

rum ence and for of abstract the


and optic, Einf?hlung

of the Like active abstraction, a


a fo I entrust my individual life to the lifeless form, just as I. . . do with another living person. Only ostensibly do I remain
the same although the object remains an other. I seem


experi distraction,

individual in

spectator. its wake,


it described



ceptual and emotional.

sensation Promulgated

of identity along
at once physical, in a range of

the viewer's per

psychological, disciplines, none

another, ically

to adapt and attach myself

and yet I am into mysteriously this other.6 transformed

to it as one hand
transplanted and



of which

was either
fates in each

one. A

or fully formed,
gradual loss of

it underwent
interest among This tion?a reciprocal solitary, experience one-on-one of exchange and transforma as it were,

art historians and psychologists (such as Heinrich W?lfflin) (such as Theodor Lipps) preceded more forceful rejections in 1908 and, in the of the concept by Wilhelm Worringer 1930s, Bertolt Brecht, but the concept lingered for decades
within a the discourse of of modern architecture. shifts or Beyond offering trends, the sequence etymological discursive






the latter.







at the Devoid center of of

the process
aesthetic spatial

of Einf?hlung
discourse. the


the spectator
term Ein


critical history of Einf?hlung

plines with at the the turn of the of with the last emergence visual birth

reveals a fracturing
century; rejection and abstraction; cinema, spectators the a

of the disci
of narrative,

fried a precursor;

first appeared
whom the

in print

in 1800 in the work of Gott

theorists may be traced cited as to the


transformations, of

of of

in both

the and spectatorship Like the recent "return would aesthetics seem of to

status to

widespread the objects themselves. of the em

late-nineteenth-century more concept generally

writings of Aristode.7 The

evoked Jacques Nietzsche, the writings one an of Rousseau;

theme of sympathy broadly speaking

Arthur proximate of Vischer's Schopenhauer influence father, and was the Jean Friedrich philoso

pathy tional rigorous

signal recent decades?a of

beauty," a backlash

resurgence against

opposi from and the the




distancing discourse

allegiances of identity politics.3 The concept's contemporary orientation. As a appeal may also lie in its interdisciplinary discussion of spectatorship, it has been applied to art, archi tecture, literature, film, and theater; it has infused political as well as aesthetic president
advocating to promise emotional,

pher of aesthetics Friedrich Theodor Vischer. Favoring the words Mitleid and Miterlebnis over Einf?hlung, Nietzsche nei nor or terms ther considered empathy sympathy in spatial response as it literally occurred on the skin. Yet his description of this response as a spectator's merger of the self into the work of art that provoked a loss of discussed the aesthetic of individual identity strongly speech and the dissolution as resembles the aesthetic activity that was also described Einf?hlung. In 1876, for example, he wrote that the spectator
for the Wagnerian Gesamtkunstwerk is led "to a totally new

in the United discourse States, with one to feel his nation's claiming pain and the next
"compassionate a constructive as much conservatism." theoretical Empathy approach and that appears values for

as rational,




and empathy

[Verstehen und Miterleben], just as

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1 Barbara Mary Boone

Kruger, Gallery,

empathie peut New York)


le monde,





< Barbara





senses more his had all at once and grown though spiritual more his aesthetic in This also sensual."8 response spirit an element or of volved Selbstent?usserung, self-estrangement, as we see. shall

f?hlung, Nachf?hlung,
as attentive feeling, ing, respectively.11 are aware We response; an

and Zuf?hlung, which may be translated

responsive feeling, and immediate feel



power would

of be

images the



a visceral provoked

Subsequently by such authors as Konrad Fie developed the discourse of dler, Lipps, August Schmarsow, and W?lfflin, treated vision and the experience of space in Einf?hlung
bodily flected and terms.9 psychic a relative openness Its among interdisciplinary the humanistic nature and re scien



events.12 terms,

the squeamish
Vischer articulated that even itself, heavily

by depictions
this simple in fact, on a response marks was

of physically
to form could not of induce

physical the in

in abstract

arguing reactions. Vision process cluded relied spatial

always responses

central; that

tific disciplines;
from fine everyday art, according Placing

viewers might
objects to the the interests perceiving

markings of particular within

into" anything
to works theorists the of and


or nonreferential




body, Einf?hlung
body and the work and morphize with Sigmund

of art,

a range of relations
including a



a notion Freud.

of projection The viewer,

to tendency anthropo we now associate might "uncon Vischer wrote,

and emotion, (in understanding, imagination, some or the "artistic creative aesthetic cases) reshaping," in ourselves," "the "We can often observe he noted, response. so much not curious fact that a visual is stimulus experienced our eyes as with a different sense our in another with part of body."13 along the This body's for sensation surfaces, the mystical occurred he with particular intensity an of

sciously projects its own bodily form?and soul?into the form of the object. From
notion sion all that I call appeared 'Einf?hlung'"10 within the Pity, discourse,

with this also the this I derived the

and they compas were not


argued, shivers

usefully providing and goose bumps on

and tor's other psychic skin

transport. Along with

projection, a such

the destabilization
sensations self-awareness. of self that

of identity
the specta in

sympathy, and



(or consistendy)
that "compassion





is psychologically


the same process as aesthetic sympathy [?sthetischeMitf?hlen]" not only had no scientific basis but also contradicted Vi scher's careful distinctions between and An Einf?hlung

simultaneously sense of selfhood. physical as or Vischer forms used natural primarily examples simple as a rhetorical and model circles, clouds, colors, (such lines), a powerful,

produced powerful a loss articulated words,



from physiology,


and philosophy

rather than

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2 Heinrich W?lfflin,
Romanesque Research Getty Research and

drawing of
arches. Los The Angeles,


Institute, 860448 Library,

from art history,

decade. A hazy

the discipline

he would

enter within




of Einf?hlung


the early work

zu einer Psychologie






could also be provoked by such three-dimensional as flowers and sculptures. Only in the final pages of objects his treatise did he attend to the perception of works of
art?which, he optical maintained, feeling. In this nature had the capacity to prompt context, never the late-nineteenth-century was of these objects

to a Psychology Architektur (Prolegomena was completed in 1886 in the Department

the often or University experienced injured."16 This of Munich. as "Asymmetry," as pain, physical if a

of Architecture), at of Philosophy
W?lfflin limb were of wrote, missing vision "is

purest the




ques representational his include Albrecht D?rer's Eour Apostles. examples But in fine the notion art, and optics, combining psychology, the discourse of that of universal Einf?hlung spectatorship, tioned;

he believed,

in the body
to the

could be most
form, embodied Gothic

of and architecture Wolfflin's on allow a

itself, own scrap us to of test as


of works


terms for

and others


of visual was

abstraction. embedded

set the
The within

Representations an provided of drawings paper his more goes tucked claim

of architectural opportunity Romanesque into his "the to its look for

vision. arches

and copy round at of

theory of the form" "pure an idea of embodied

practice twentieth century perception.


the Prolegomena arch is generally the pointed with

cheerful about


arch. its

recognized The former

to Vischer, spectators feel physical discomfort According while looking at a single vertical line on a blank page. "A
horizontal horizontally," trast, can be contradicts forces than them positing line he is pleasing declared, when because whereas perceived structure of the a eyes "vertical in the are positioned line, by for eyes con ... and it






latter embodies For W?lfflin

dimensional Einf?hlung.

a will and effort in every line" (Fig. 2).18 at this time, both architecture and its two
were however, equally capable of eliciting the distinguished between

representation Schmarsow,

disturbing the binocular to function verticality



in a more as the

complicated way."14 visual of expression a

Rather the up

two. In a lecture in 1893 marking history chair at Leipzig (a position favor of Vischer
architecture formal?and as

and W?lfflin),
spatial?rather of all the

his inheritance of the art for which he was chosen in Schmarsow famously defined
than arts structural, in its ability material, to provoke or

right human
Vischer perceptual

body and horizontality

the of pure the form of faculties individual

as implying a landscape,
line in relation He to under the spectator.





he decreed,

stood human
and vision, the described which actual


to be simultaneously
as image seen binocular. without through

Unlike reference telescopes

and bodily
monocular to scale? and vision micro situ objects them intuited the through not assisted of lar the the arises form of three-dimensional space or sense of our of sight, whether experiences . . . factors. [It] consists by other physiological to which residues the muscu of sensory experience of of our our body, body the all sensitivity contribute.19 of our skin, and

perceives size of images

it, crucially, an

scopes ates the

is not

immediately body

spectator's that mediate visual

apparent?binocular to the in relation moreover,


As image. binoculars

sensations structure

selves create an image by means

the comes viewer's unified hands, only they within present the

of bodily perception;
a doubled viewer's body.15 image Turning

that be dis

Here again, the psychological parallel between the viewer's

body and that of the work of art (in this case, a building)
mediated through vision. But while vision was crucial


tant views into haptic

spectator to "empathize

into" an

they allow the individual






to be a bodily


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3 Adolf Hildebrand,
for the grave of Konrad

bronze plaque
Fiedler, 1895

(artwork in the public domain)

"Every spatial creation is first and foremost the enclosing of a [human] subject; and thus architecture as a human art differs from all endeavors in the applied arts."20 fundamentally
Schmarsow was not the first to define architecture as spa


a distance,









so to speak,

that he
to grow

larger or

in somatic

to fit the


tial, but his arguments status and the context

W?lfflin, the center he of was an art

were particularly significant, given his in which he spoke.21 Like Vischer and
historian who placed in architecture late-nineteenth at practice

was primarily concerned age."27 He applied) arts, writing, for example,

the is not importance appeal to denote but its capacity of

with the fine (and not the that in painting, "of prime
in itself, Moreover, as in a carpet, he advo



his work?standard

cated a particular
the ideal art form, most imagination

kind of art, presenting

since strongly it spurred into action. the His

relief sculpture
spectator's as status visual a


century Germany, but rare in the United States today.22 By publicly registering the concept of Einf?hlung as amenable to of spatial perception, considerations Schmarsow encouraged
its continuation within the discourse of modern architecture




that his artistic achievements

account reliance of modernism on opticality, in the

visual arts

long after it had faded from art historians' attention, a loss of interest that paralleled that of psychologists after 1900. The uneven fate of Einf?hlung may thus be seen to reflect the of the two disciplines of art and architecture divergence
history.23 Even as the spatial understanding of architecture

arguments.29 One persistent an increasing


ranging as Clement optical


logically from the work of Edouard Manet

erly berg abstraction explained of the 1960s. a matter Modernism, "of purely it, was

to the post-paint
Green experience

persisted, it was often drained of the emotional indeed, the concept Einf?hlung had provided;
always named.24

content that itself was not



Facing experiences

as revised or modified
of an art, in his aesthetic

by tactile
the the from


a work



In 1893, however, when the sculptor Adolf Hildebrand Problem Das der Form in der bildenden Kunst (The published Problem of Form in the Fine Arts), the concept's basic prin ciples were still considered powerful. "There is a psychology to Einf?hlung, of art," Hildebrand declared in reference "a on clear feeling for the effect of such stimulated movement
our not to sensibility we breathe the spatial as a whole. freely, for Such our effects general ,"25 Like as determine sensations Vischer, he whether are related the and or



of a disembodied

eye: a singular
by any




experience embodied. ary works

imagination... of aesthetic Even of


body within which itwas located. The conceptual an of bodily and optical perception paralleled opposition other distinction between traditional representational paint "The ing and those works Greenberg described as modernist: Old Masters created an illusion of space in depth that one could imagine oneself walking into," he argued, "but the illusion created the Modernist analogous by painter can only the human
be seen into; can be traveled through ... only with the eye."31

perception who spectators art were, visual

temporal, spatial, to station singular, mobile creatures, implicitiy, attended


painting spatial concerns of traditional representational provided the spectator with an opportunity for an embodied
experience. as essentially By flat, contrast, optical, modernist and monocular. painting was

Per remaining physically present within their environment. was nor therefore neither static ception entirely dependent
on visual cues. "Since we do not view nature simply we that as visual

perceptual posited

senses weave us," we he close

tied to a single vantage point but, rather, with all our

at once, a spatial asserted; our in perpetual consciousness the eyes."26 awareness change into of and the space motion, live and nature remained surrounds "even when

is often as The invention of such a notion of opticality cribed to Fiedler, who famously stated in 1887, "The sole aim of artistic activity is to be found in the expression of the pure is visibility [Sichtbarkeit] of an object."32 Fiedler's position as to of often taken antithetical the concept consequendy the ideas for his however, developed Einf?hlung. Hildebrand, own book during many years' dialogue with Fiedler. Begin ning in 1881, Fiedler reviewed several drafts over the course
of a dozen years, a collaboration that suggests a conceptual al

Hildebrand's treatise offered a series of conceptual dichot omies: the near and the distant view (Nahsicht and Fernsicht), scanning and seeing (Schauen and Sehen), and inherent and effective form (Daseinsform and Wirkungsform). Favoring the second term in each case, he argued that the ideal work of art united these pairs; framing the effective form of the depicted it as if object or image, it allowed the viewer to apprehend

liance between Einf?hlung

tween the two, demonstrating

and opticality. Correspondence

the extent of Fiedler's influence


on Hildebrand's ideas, lasted from 1870 until Fiedler's death in 1895, when Hildebrand designed the bronze plaque for his

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^$pf?e?-&t& . ^ ;\

,;* ;. -?



Painting), Museum

Green Stripe Rozanova, Kremlin 1917. Rostov Preserve (artwork

(Color State

if?r. :.?k

in the

public domain)

friend's phrase claim body. "revised phrase;

grave "the of

(Fig. optical

3).33 sense optical

Vischer's of form"

Einf?hlung, or modified such

For Vischer,

Hildebrand, by

experience and Fiedler, associations," there

seemingly contradictory an essential thus captures occurs with the entire opticality as in Greenberg's the beginning. was not

perception, October objectivity. ognized positing





Union, of would

following modernist not of have art, but

the non rec in

Revolution?as Vischer Rozanova's and and

a monument his cohorts line as

tactile were



In 1917, almost half a century after Vischer

viewer's atist artist response Olga to a Rozanova vertical line, simple a small made painting



theorized they decades before

response debating a to visual response perceptual its actual birth.35

painted the universal

a work

to abstract



the Russian

Suprem consists

While historians

and theorists of art and architecture com

of a green vertical stripe on a white background (Fig. 4). "We to to the from liberate its subservience propose painting
ready-made make it first The aesthetic forms and of foremost of the reality," a creative, an abstract artist not declared, a "and to art. com reproductive, in the lies than

posed treatises on Einf?hlung research?which psychological

ical tended of analysis to the after topic, the and late with

that garnered authority from on physiolog itself depended

likewise around the them at turn was

value its

of pleteness three-dimensional work of art

content."34 painterly architectural space now demonstrate,

picture Rather or with

1870s?psychologists zeal particular Prominent

depicting scene, clar a





a narrative revolutionary


in his essay "Einf?hlung und ?stheti Lipps, who declared of 1906 scher Genuss" Pleasure) (Empathy and Aesthetic
that, striving, within in viewing activity, them, objects, and insofar "I necessarily permeate by reason, this them with they piece . . . bear of power. as they Grasped are 'my'

ity, the radical act of pure painting.

which many theorists might have

A green



in of Einf?hlung late-nineteenth-century a viewer's to measure used


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myself."37 Without
spectator, sidered he

this active contribution

objects a work could of art not

on the part of a
be properly the viewer con to

horizontal merely "but and

and momentary


lines. of

"The the

types subject," modes


to be


explained, to exist.38 While

attitudes and colour."


fundamental appreciating only small


Bullough of apprehending


experience Einf?hlung in its purest form, this state of affairs held true for any object; psychological investigations of Ein were therefore concerned with f?hlung everyday objects, treating the viewer relying on inductive
Even such aesthetic

While remained ample,



tested, in class

and and

viewer gender,

categories for ex on

abstract?differences were often

as the primary object of analysis reasoning and experimentation.

theories, however, were coming

to be



ence. gued,


the possibility
large that no

of perceptual
numbers," single

ar the

evi the support of psychological dence. As Lipps himself argued in 1907, "Aesthetics is either of aesthetics or a collection of declarations psychological some individual who possesses a sufficiendy loud voice to on or his dependence proclaim his private predilections considered useless without
fashion."39 the reference The loud might proclamations well have been of individual theorists? Vischer, to Schmarsow,

on work "Experimental . . . have "would shown

Bullough one of

explanations championed by different adherents of the the of truth."46 could claim the monopoly ory [of Einf?hlung] were based in the theoretical of how Regardless firmly they
concerns individual scientific of perceptual were authors The the psychology, seen to founder dissolution aesthetic on the theories bedrock as an objec of of


of Einf?hlung


or Hildebrand?would,
scientific analyses that were

ideally, be replaced
based on the experiences

with a

tive paradigm
varieties of

led Bullough
and the

to conclude

in 1921: "The great

wrangles which took


of a larger number
universal response to

of people.




place at the end of the last century between

rival purely doctrines personal arose precisely from the introspective evidence."47

the upholders
generalization Such evidence,


accumulated same In one

had, Einf?hlung might

from at different numerous numerous moments.40 responses

be used

to interpret
at least

the data
from the

based on the claims of an individual

generalized into universal truth.


could not be had



to forms




In the late nineteenth

described extrapolated treated the whose uncultured the self in elite the aesthetic from spectator status their

responses own

theorists of Einf?hlung
of a viewer whom experience. cultured

the possibility logical research on Einf?hlung acknowledged of perceptual difference. Vischer had noted the reactions of
only one pair of eyes?his own?and the role of perceptual

as an depended Vischer's

personal educated and on a

They individual to an "leaves that the


in his writing was minimal.

the presented were declarations who

his experience only


in the

author, body sal. Hildebrand's

as univer


public. a certain

presumed superiority comment that Einf?hlung meant, ostensibly,


stered by laboratory
work of Hermann von


he particularly




process ally and psychologically

solitary.48 At the same

of psychic projection

left the viewer feeling emotion depleted and, as itwere, theoretically

it revealed a basic presumption

1856 and tise on Physiological Optics was published between 1866.41 "What he says about the laws of the fine arts is in accordance with my thoughts," Hildebrand completely
wrote to Fiedler, "and proves the correctness of my work?I


the kind of viewer capable

within a universal which aesthetic

of feeling Einf?hlung
be response experienced. to round

In or


it could


always thought that itwould in particular."42 Hildebrand

1891, closer describing to this the man."43 commission And

find a good reader in Helmholtz in made a bust of Helmholtz

as in "a nice three opportunity years after to get the 1897,

ticular might never be

arches, W?lfflin
viewer: a cultivated by transported

likewise had allowed

and an sensitive individual exalted the

for a very par

whose of soul art. While was implic




experience viewer

scientist's death, Hildebrand

grave site.


the Helmholtz at a universal

discussions of

family level, Ein

the as view indi

itiy a man
the confines

of property whose
of a relatively

identity was destabilized

private realm, carefully


f?hlung er's offered experience,

a forum but its

for abstract conception

scribed by the laws of decorum and propriety. The capacity for aesthetic judgment presumed
material comfort and poise exemplified by an

a level of




vidualistic century,
interest that in

also prompted psychologists

the concept, perceptual

its downfall. and aesthetic

owing partly differences

In the early twentieth theorists began losing

to laboratory among those research tested.


scholar leans (Fig. 5). The well-groomed tograph of W?lfflin forward in his chair, gazing intensely at a work of art. His shirt collar is crisply starched; his jacket formal but not uncom in a radiant light that fortably so; and his face is bathed
appears from to emanate a window at view: the from right. a small (Is the work We of art itself?or the work a figure of perceive of painting it a religious perhaps art in a an


source, psychologist in 1905 revealed, for example, "the Bullough, experiments same subject found oblique straight lines sometimes pleasant
and sometimes unpleasant, occasionally was exacerbated nature of individuals The changeable day."44 in groups; and consis the unreliability of those universal by even not tent characterizations be assigned could confidently one to the After hundred forms. viewers, testing simplest on one and the same

to one

the British


three-quarter ornate wooden

set within of a woman?



a nude figure? Were we inW?lfflin's

too, would know.) W?lfflin's own

attention to

the work


hap tic in the most

propped against on a stack a

literal sense; he holds

table, in a physical

it in his right hand,

gesture that reads,




"four clearly distinguishable types of the called into question Such discoveries found
universalizing statements regarding

The objects sculpture,

as one of familiarity
the of table, meanwhile?a books?signify

and potential
vase further of facets

flowers, of his ab a

of W?lfflin's

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sorbed brighdy wardly

engagement: lighted held), the

Likewise and erudition. beauty, tactility, on awk closer somewhat (and, inspection, art historian's hand appears at the center of

other ing, among lowerand middle-class later reminisce,



of cinema among popularity As Erwin would Panofsky spectators.52 in Berlin around 1905 were projected the

the work of art for lower edge, holding the photograph's of the both him and us to see. Anchoring this representation
trajectory of Einf?hlung, it also encourages our own gaze to

in a few small and dingy cinemas mostiy

"lower adventure. classes" and a sprinkling that of . .. Small wonder the


by the
of when

youngsters "better

in quest

travel from W?lfflin's

up again to the to books?and the

radiant world

eyes down to the painting

figure, beyond. the flowers, and



they slowly began

aters, conscious did so

to venture
that with

into these early picture

sensation we may plunge of which

self . . .

. . .with


For his part, Worringer affectionately described W?lfflin as "this bourgeois aristocrat of Switzerland (or should I say: this
"in W?lfflin's that the case, bourgeois)," adding of the most 'le style c'est l'homme'is convinc expression really himself the articulated Lipps ing accuracy."49 clearly privi more status of the empathetic viewer?or, accurately, leged aristocratic The


into the folkloristic

rapid growth and


of Coney
social status

of cinema

.. .53

after 1910 made film increasingly prominent both in German society and aesthetic debate. While they were not explicidy
mentioned art, new narrow of in analyses audiences hovered parameters of the viewer's in the relation background, discourse. to the work challenging of

that of the theorist o? Einf?hlung?when

But means, that one that should one know what had

he wrote

in 1906:

aesthetic experience

the contemplation in this aes




sulted from

differentiation a profound

of viewer

types ostensibly
The phenomenon


in brief: that one should know that thetic contemplation, aesthetic is to be absolutely experience clearly distin guished from all the experience of things that occur in the
real one sion world. who of . . .All of this must first be demanded to join the of any of speaks the question and empathy of empathy.50 wants discus



also reflected
torship, status changes one of the among

shift in the conception

to a revised in turn, understanding reflected Theorists that,

of specta
of sociological of aesthetic the

that was spectator




Einfuhling had sought to base but the emerging foundations,

the concept proved insufficient to describe

their claims on psychological discipline of psychology had

a universal aesthetic response.








posited was implicitly a bourgeois man of property: a viewer who might sit comfortably at home, holding the object of his aesthetic between his hands. His subjectivity engagement could be destabilized within the confines of a relatively pri vate realm; his cultural and intellectual background (and, indeed, his gender) remained so consistent as to be taken for
granted; ority With of mass ence for and to an the media, his elite status depended in part on his superi uncultured expansion and public. of middle-class the unprecedented of last decades

sally applicable tory between


in translating
statements, of fine art

as in and mass into

claims into univer

the terri cultural

as well



experiences. aesthetics




the absence

not only that a viewer could feel Einf?hlung

of a work of art but also that an aesthetic response



occur with no accompanying


of Einf?hlung

leisure, growth

the in

explosion the audi


in the

the nineteenth


this cultivated
cally experienced?was


the Einf?hlung


as a

to maintain

(as in Paris) in 1895, film gathered viewers into audiences that engaged in a kind of spectatorship that the writings of Lipps, Vischer, and taken at a cin W?lfflin had not addressed.51 A photograph ema in Berlin in 1913 shows an audience absorbed in this universal model. Introduced
new dren spectatorship (Fig. in one been which allowed room, they have together a to enter entrance small fee. Rather after paying relatively than the work in other words?or that view, owning they are form of 6). Men, women, and chil

in Berlin

Empathy and Abstraction If the demise of Einf?hlung was already under way among of the and aesthetic theorists at the beginning psychologists twentieth century, its death knell was rung in 1908, when used it as a conceptual foil in Abstraktion und Worringer and (Abstraction Einf?hlung Empathy). Embraced as the bi
ble of twentieth-century aesthetic theory even before its pro

fessional publication,
and was Conflating rian?as reprinted the well as

this book catapulted

almost annually of the of in artist, the work could the two be

its author

to fame

subsequent spectator, of


experiences the attributes aesthetic comprising

that all argued tical formulation tide.


art?Worringer to a dialec traced in his artistic book's not

concepts Riegl,

For Worringer, Kunstwollen,

following and not

Alois the


museum rarily their by

this established


of aesthetic
gained transaction, Strangers access

to the it tempo terms strang and





have do?they of a commercial have changed.


sit among

from The artistic creativity.55 Borrowing a rhetorical model Birth of Tragedy, in which Nietzsche had divided Greek art into the duality of Apollonian and Dionysian impulses, he posited
empathy constituted and abstraction the Kunstwollen.56 as two creative urges that, together,

the images that flicker on the giant, ers, together watching flat screen before them. This screen is distant, intangible; the spatial depth displayed on it depicts a narrative that, to use
Greenberg's the eye." Here, words, "can be cannot traveled hold spectators through an image only in their hands. . . . with

to the requirements for the doctorate in his day, of his dissertation in 1907, dis Worringer published copies to them those he tributing thought might prove sympathetic. Adhering
One recipient was the writer Paul Ernst, who, unaware that

This kind of optical

outside the realm of



long remained
omission reflect



the book had not been published




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5 W?lfflin,



in the journal Kunst und K?nstler. "The litde book deserves to be closely heeded," he announced; "it contains nothing less
than and a program an assessment for a new aesthetics."57 Providing argument, a Ernst's of Worringer's synopsis review

this doctrine
only sance the

did not apply universally;

naturalism that was made of ancient by, and

Greece for, people

it governed
and Renais were who



at ease in their environment

aesthetic activity. Art from

and who found psychic

other eras and cultures

was gov


sparked enough
ing year. "For a

interest to prompt
long time in our

its publication
art as well as

the follow
in our art

antiquity and

we have remained
the Renaissance,"


the influence
wrote in

of Greek


the book. "But there are people and ages who had completely different artistic feelings and expressed these in their works.
As a rule, we interpret these today as achievements of a de

erned by an "urge to abstraction [Abstraktionsdrang]," which on the part of both viewer and artist, reflected discomfort and which he associated with ornament and with the notion of style. More specifically, abstraction expressed a "spiritual
aversion to space [geistige Raumscheu]," a horror vacui repre

ficient ability [K?nnen], when in reality they are the achieve ments of a differendy directed will Wollen]."58 Works from be [ the borders of Renaissance and ancient Greece were Italy yond also worth investigating, in other words; they merely required
a new conceptual framework with which to be understood.

sented on the cover of the book's ninth edition in 1916 by an its abstraction mitigated ornamental motif, by the elaborate twists of stylized snakes (Fig. 7) .62 based his arguments around what he initially Worringer
put forward as a condensed formula for the theory an of Ein

or a



is objectified
in the

form of object.

re of the latest psychological Worringer's understanding was search and theoretical discourse regarding Einf?hlung His main source for empathy better than he acknowledged. in Munich in theory, he noted, was a dissertation completed 1897 by Paul Stern (a student of Lipps, and Worringer's a year later.59 But while Worringer friend) and published cited the work of Hildebrand, Riegl, Schopen frequendy he generally ignored hauer, Gottfried Semper, and W?lfflin, omission that is the particular claims offered by Lipps?an that his the first of his argument throughout striking given
book's three chapters revolved around a formula taken from





source was an essay published by Lipps in 1906; Worrin to make rhetorical use of this formula rather than chose ger more engage fully with a range of writings about Einf?hlung.
"aesthetic system," he explained, one "shall serve pars pro


toto as a foil for the following

turn, was encapsulated in this



system, in


Lipps's work. Having attended Lipps's lectures at the Univer in 1904-5, Worringer would also have been sity of Munich
aware of his professor's own recent shift away from the psy

stated (without the use of quotation marks) five times in his book's first chapter, each time to slighdy different effect.64 By had dislodged Ein its fifth and final appearance, Worringer a set to from its theory of complementary f?hlung pedestal it. Perhaps more he had abstraction beside significandy, at the heart of the aesthetic discomfort experience. placed
After ment, a summary of Einf?hlung Lipps's that reads as an endorse enjoy Worringer repeated own phrase: was aesthetic

of Einf?hlung.60 In his book, how chological understanding ever, he played down the importance of Lipps's major works as well as three decades of debate on the topic of Einf?hlung. in his "Modern aesthetics," Worringer grandly announced book's opening pages, "culminates in a theory that can be described with a general and broad name as the doctrine of argued that empathy."61 Like the psychologists, Worringer


is objectified
that his

book's very




to demonstrate

that "with this theory of empathy,

face of the artistic creations


stand helpless
ages and

in the

of many



art of


as the theoretical
Greece and the

basis for the



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6 Berlin




relation happy and wholesome flected could not be universally

cultures was based on the urge

to the outside world it re applied; the art of all other

to abstraction, which he

"urge stract

to abstraction"?an images and viewers

urge to



artists them?may


create be

ab seen


universal urge and the result posited as both a fundamental, cultures. "[W]ith primitive peoples, as it of highly developed were, the instinct for the 'thing in itself is at its strongest," he
argued, ture.66 positing Abstraction a primitive conflated man a basic who was Kantian urge on artistic na by the part

this condition. Worringer proudly on his thinking of Georg Sim influence the acknowledged in Berlin. In the fore mel, whose lectures he had attended to of the word the 1948 edition book, he even wrote of the famous professor while visiting the Trocad?ro glimpsing in Paris as an art history student and conceiving of Museum his dissertation topic later that day.70 the fourth appearance of Lipps's formula, Worringer and his own position: "aesthetic enjoyment" stated finally were not but op equivalent, "objectified self-enjoyment" With posed.
latter unease:

as an attempt

to theorize

theories produced by of primitive cultures with the modern the most advanced intellects of Western Europe: "What was
once instinct is now the ultimate product of knowledge."67


third appearance
nor dissent.

of Lipps's


indicated neither
calls beauty,"


"is a satisfaction of that inner need for Worringer explained, of the self-affirmation that Lipps sees as the prerequisite a we In the forms of work of art, enjoy empathy process. ment."68 is objectified self-enjoy enjoyment in was, effect, created by the object spectator's perception of it; the spectator relocated his enjoy of self-affirmation within the object. The able experience thus of aesthetic provided an experi activity contemplation ence of psychic repose; the aesthetic object offered a repos ourselves. Aesthetic A beautiful it inspired. itory for the emotions for aesthetic activity did not necessar Crucially, Worringer first entail comfort. He ily suggested as much with a passing reference to Lipps's distinction between positive and negative
Einf?hlung, or between a sense of freedom and one of reluc

stood an

for aesthetic

Abstraction enjoyment

the urge

to abstraction;
now associated the





ence of its own

Empathy, by contrast, implied relation between the viewer and the work of the comfortable art by means of which aesthetic enjoyment was delightfully rendered in the form of an object. More important than their differences the urge


was the element of discomfort they shared: both to abstraction and the urge to empathy, Worringer
only degrees of a common need that is revealed


to us as the deepest
experience: ?usserung]," that or is the a distance

and ultimate
need for measured


of all aesthetic
[Selbstent self.71 the



if to emphasize

the insufficiency
it once more,

of Lipps's

even Ein

tance felt in the face of the work of art.69 But even "negative sense did not sufficiendy articulate the profound Einf?hlung of unease thatWorringer wished to discuss. Such a sensation a par could be felt, he believed, both while contemplating condition. ticular work of art and as a general existential Perhaps properly the true flaw of Einf?hlung was its failure to account termed the for psychic discomfort; what Worringer


an experience In this of self-estrangement. f?hlung work of invested the he the wrote, spectator psychic transfer, art with a portion of his self, sacrificing his autonomy as an and aesthetically, individual in order to exist, momentarily entailed
within into the work. another "Insofar he as we empathize this urge to activity object," explained,

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existed of at emotional

of a work of art.")74 Abstraction

opposite discomfort. extremes The along universal an existential

and Einf?hlung
continuum to self-es impulse

trangement played itself out formally in one, while an indi vidualistic urge to self-estrangement appeared in the guise of
the other. Meeting at the edges of their continuum, the two

experiences were not always distinguishable. perceptual Like the theorists of Einf?hlung, Worringer presented his sen claims in Abstraction and Empathy in terms of emotional same drives. At the sations and psychological time, his book in several significant shifted the terms of aesthetic debate that Einf?hlung was ab ways. While refusing to acknowledge a as it described viewer's basic physiological stract?insofar
response to pure form?he transposed its universalizing

claims to the concept of abstraction, even though such claims had long been part of the internal critique that had crumbled the authority of Einf?hlung. Beyond this, he reconfigured in his text as a general emotional identification, Einf?hlung thus further separating the ignoring its spatial orientation, visual and applied arts from the discipline of architecture. at the heart of the aesthetic Finally, he placed discomfort
response, thereby constructing a conceptual hinge between


and the articulations

the communal aesthetic

of estrangement
experience of

that would
the mass


in the 1920s and 1930s.

and the Fear of Space Self-Estrangement of Einf?hlung The conceptual opposition

Worringer's book thus masked a more

and abstraction
claim: one



could trace "all aesthetic enjoyment, and perhaps the entire in its deepest and human sensation of happiness generally,

7 Cover of Wilhelm Worringer, ed. (Munich: R. Piper, 1916)

Abstraktion und Einf?hlung





impulse or




The ent?usserung] ."75

translated as


of this impulse,



tally reworked
aesthetic we exist in the being object, other individual external are delivered We object. ... as as we are absorbed long in an external form. We feel, from into as our tailed an it were, an

the status of comfort

If aesthetic of

in the conception
at then its core,

of the

response. experience




our individuality flow into fixed boundaries, as opposed to the boundless differentiation of the individual conscious ness. In this self-objectification lies a self-estrangement [In dieser Selbstobjektivierung liegt eine Selbstent?usserung].72 The empathetic permits himself
process of self

could be, in some essential way, pleasurable. notion of aesthetic distance into the body a link the idea between Worringer provided to the loss of self that had been fundamental that of discourse of and century Einf?hlung
ation, which would or become central Verfremdung. of spectatorship in to the trangement, Worringer's Brechtian analysis

By bringing the of the viewer, of an individual late-nineteenth collective alien

discourse of es

spectator, letting down his emotional guard, to dissolve into the work of art. Such a
Worringer as estrangement, maintained, not entailed comfort. a loss




of absorption, that was felt

To prove his point, Worringer

time, notably, from his two-volume


Lipps himself?this
"In empathizing


trangement derived in part from Nietzsche, who in 1876 had described the activity of spectatorship almost as a form of aesthetic schizophrenia. Writing of Richard Wagner's music that a spectator dramas, the philosopher explained ... to ask himself: what is from time to time compelled would this nature have with you? To what end do you really he will be unable to find an answer, and exist??Probably at will then stand still, amazed [befremdet] and perplexed his own being. Let him then be satisfied to have experi enced even this; let him hear in the fact that he feels alienated [entfremdet] from his own being the answer to his question. For it is precisely with this feeling that he par
ticipates in Wagner's mightiest accomplishment, the cen

I am not the real I,"Lipps had argued, "but rather am set free from this inner I; that is, I am set free from everything that I am outside of the observation of form. I am only this ideal, this observing I."7?Even the ultimate authority on Einf?hlung, it would the viewer's bifurcated seem, had acknowledged
subjectivity?a distancing from the self, as it were?as central

to the perceptual process. (Daily speech could to prove the existence of estrangement mobilized
aesthetic response, Worringer maintained:

likewise be within the



speaks with

striking accuracy


'losing oneself

in the con

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tral point

of his power,

the demonic

transmissibility and
his nature. . . ,76











ciated, fundamentally,
of representational art,

it was

temporality. Developed
also linked to narrative;

in an era

For Nietzsche,
form?the reuth, entailed in a


with Wagner's of the year the spectator's

in its most
music festival

at Bay there? self. The

engagement the inaugural depletion of

dramas theater

literally be depicted within a painting, or they might might simply be implied, as with a portrait or a still life. Insofar as it
had been used to discuss the spectator's experience of archi



tecture, Einf?hlung
necessarily tailed, in occurred Worringer's

in time. view,

an contrast, By to effort


space that
en temporality

of two engagement detachment tion, defined

was both
a the art in and both

paralyzing object.

and disturbing,
loss The of self simultaneous

a conflation
and an presence identifica reception.77 as well two-dimen as active of



and estrangement absorption, artistic creation and aesthetic

the "single object of the outside world" from other objects and from this world. For both artist and viewer, itself?to detach
abstraction represented "the consummate ... expression of

century, visual

the discourse
treated form, the

of Einf?hlung
aesthetic attended response

to primarily

in the nineteenth
spatial to

picture."85 man need This

from the chance

creative particular urge was objects

and temporality
manifested from

of the world
hu of terror

as a universal the existential


to free

sional creations
efforts at

in 1908. "Space is the greatest

he asserted, "and must

enemy of all
therefore be


the first thing to be suppressed he posited relief Hildebrand,

artistic planar creation, relations.79 insofar But with as whereas the

in the representation."78 Like sculpture as the epitome of

Hildebrand notion of spatial had distance depth associated on into

it transformed



grounds that flat images resulted, literally, from distant views, linked two-dimensionality with the emotional dis Worringer tance felt within the spectator's body. He described this
psychic unease as "a tremendous spiritual aversion to space,"

the three-dimensional and of the dimension of time itself?a fear that could be allayed only through aesthetic activity. A passing reference made by Hildebrand to "the agonizing of the des cubic had helped [das Kubischen]" quality Qu?lende construct, in The Problem ofForm, a theoretical justification of ancient Greek sculptural relief; Worringer the appropriated claim to justify even flatter artistic creations?as well as those from all historical eras and geographic locations.86 All the
same, relief sculpture remained central to Worringer's argu


sation, or seek he

it to "physical agoraphobia."80
argued, both of artists abstract both and out, images that soothed purity: eye and

As a result of this sen

were led to create, of visual

a stance he derived from Hildebrand and Riegl. In of in 1893, (Problems Stilfragen Style), published Riegl had as a art the of world portrayed history grand trajectory from
three-dimensional objects to two-dimensional representation: in a of



approximations in a process soul


If we purely


ironically, of his initial presentation

to great Worringer, inner "the unease, urge caused to

of Einf?hlung.
abstraction by is the the phenomena

concrete ignore deductive way ...

examples to reason


a moment abstracdy





According result of man's

them came first

ourselves sculpture surface forced is the

in the development,
to conclude more later that primitive and more earlier, is the

then we will find

three-dimensional medium, refined.87 while

of the outside world."81 This

modern era among he "people asserted?those managed Kulturv?lker]," many centuries,

"primitive fear" persisted

of oriental who cultures had, over the

in the
of of Like

[orientalische course


to resist that is, was and

the both

the West.82 ment otic of and

Abstraction, advanced foreign, While

civilizing the ultimate human

influences achieve urge: form about prim


non-Western ex of arguments

Worringer cultural succincdy

celebrated artifacts. and Unlike

flatness, Riegl, Avoiding

ornament, he

and his

civilizations it remained

a basic


presented the archaeo

the most


logical detail
reinforced discourse.88

that made

Problems of Style so intimidating,

arguments rooted in psychological


cautioning against generalizing on the grounds that the term covered people of varying of artistic cultures levels talent, Worringer in a manner instinct human that today privileged itive Freudian. artists kind lost both and The fear of but space the was universal and was


its claims

disparate himself reads both by of man as

held that abstraction was Again following Riegl, Worringer the flat of epitomized by Egyptian vegetal ornament. style
The urge to abstraction the now creations apparatus peoples expansion interest ushering into aesthetic of in the the operated of Even canon, art audience; as the theoretical ages arguing showed described for and an overlooked while


viewers, this

"rationalistic fear, which

represses position among


development is caused it was those

in the world."83 "primitives"

Nonetheless, and among

by man's to be found


art historical

Worringer he

little univer



Europeans who had been rendered fearful by the very process of civilization. This logic, although perverse, was prevalent in
early-twentieth-century European to argue to for that Worringer was to confront abstraction human stripped Worringer creative artists of the repressive characterized and those forces culture, making the its own it possible urge terms, to acknowledge on instinct of Western

had been

that in place since Immanuel Kant, leaving intact the of the spectator as a cultivated individual. Like conception the discourse of Einf?hlung itself, Worringer's book offered,
the of level of the individual visceral viewer, response a theoretical to art. Where understand researchers ing a universal,

sal vision within

the framework

of an aesthetic



civilization. for "the

the urge who viewed

to abstraction?both their creations?as

its snatch

to rescue the single object of the outside world from

with the and course it from dependence of events, on to render other things, it absolute."84 to


in psychology laboratories had begun to point to the possi of audiences bility larger comprising varied individuals, Wor theorized their ringer experience within the field of aesthet ics. In conflating the psychic experience of the Egyptian artist
and the contemporary European spectator, and in identify

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Despite Worringer's
imitation, the two were


to distinguish



in early-twentieth-cen

tury German artistic discourse; artists and designers engaged in the rejection of the former had for years been disparaging the latter. In 1900, the architect Peter Behrens had written, for example: "It's not difficult for a man with a talent for imitation to put on a mask and represent a well observed
character; even if not everyone can do this, that does not

make it art."92 True art required a level of creativity beyond tendrils the simple craft of imitation; the sinuous Jugendstil Behrens himself designed at the turn of the century did not
reproduce plant forms but, rather, expressed in abstract vi

sual terms the force of vegetal growth. By 1908, even Behrens had abandoned his Jugendstil roots. "We have in the fine arts
as in poetry reached the outermost point of Naturalism,"

Ernst asserted in his review of Abstraction and Empathy that year; "the pendulum will now swing to the other side, and it
is Worringer's achievement to have explained this process

As the

and philosophically."93
aesthetic pendulum swung toward abstraction, nat

to be associated with feminine uralism and imitation terms laid out inWorringer's book, one creativity. Using the might theoretically have assigned abstraction, and the notion to the of decorative ornament with which it was associated, women. ornament to But while Worringer linked province of the artistic creations of primitive people [Naturv?lker] and with children's scribbles, he did not present the concept in
gendered terms.94 Those who did, meanwhile, such as the art


critic Karl Scheffler,

and ornament but,

instead, with


not with abstraction

naturalism, and


imitation. 8 Gabriele Munter, M?dchen mit Puppe (Girl with DoU), 1908-9. Milwaukee Art Museum, Gift of Mrs. Harry Lynde Bradley (artwork ? 2005 Artists Rights Society [ARS], New York / VG
Bild-Kunst, Bonn)

imitatrix izes manly ity remained

In Die Frau und die Kunst (Woman and art), also in 1908, Scheffler labeled the woman artist "the
par art excellence forms."95 the province ... True who sentimentalizes and aesthetic functioned and trivial original essen creativity women of men;

between male and female tially as copyists. This distinction creative impulses also held true among viewers, in Scheffler's ing the work of art as both cause and effect of this experi that untrained ence, he allowed for the possibility eyes?
those not belonging to cultivated Europeans, for example? view: "Woman within looks at a work of art in terms foreign of the nature contained it; abstraction remains to her."96

might likewise be capable of aesthetic experience. set the duality of Einf?hlung and abstraction Worringer to that of naturalism and style, linking Einf?hlung parallel
with naturalist derstood nich. Two and depiction, to recent in relation decades earlier, that his arguments were cultural city's developments most advanced un easily in Mu artistic

Such an association of Einf?hlung with passivity, imitation, and feminine creativity would hold sway for decades. in Munich, wel Artists and writers in 1908, particularly as support for comed Worringer's which took book, they their own rejection of artistic naturalism. While Worringer
demonstrated no interest in contemporary European art, his

book encouraged
well as other


of the

and Gabriele M?nter,

Blaue Reiter, to investi


early dramatists the

had fallen under

twentieth considered century that

the rubric of naturalism,

artists, approach art theorists, to be writers, outmoded.90

but by
and Pri




in drama, but
to stand for of an true

in other fields
obsessive creativity. Rather

as well, naturalism
of than reality simply and denigrat


gate painterly abstraction.97 The flat, unmodeled planes of color in Munter's M?dchen mit Puppe (Girl with Doll, 1908-9), its forms composed of abstracted expanses of color within
heavy black oudines, reflect several sources, including the



ing naturalism for itsmimetic capacities, however, Worringer historicized it an artistic tendency that, by 1908, it, declaring was on the wane. In so doing, he distinguished it from imitation, which
maintained, to imitation, this

(like the urge

era and elemental human

to abstraction)
all need, cultures. stands

"The outside


in every



thetics proper,"
nothing to do

he argued;

"in principle

its satisfaction



paintings of Henri Matisse and the Jugendstil emphasis on her and flatness but she planarity (Fig. 8), acknowledged have each other since debt toWorringer "We known direcdy. the beginnings of the postimpressionist of art," development in a letter written on the the artist reminded Worringer occasion of his seventieth birthday, a development "for which I the from those intellectual still have you prepared ground. the of book Abstraction and your early years original copy a at which had the time As such effect."98 Empathy, profound

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9 Wassily Kandinsky, Composition IV, 1911. Kunstsammlung [ARS], New York / ADAGP, Paris)



(artwork ? 2005 Artists Rights Society


critic of

stated the





existed art who



of modern

"hardly was not

single deeply

excited by this book."99 In ?ber das Geistige in der Kunst (Concerning the Spiritual in in 1911, Kandinsky, too, advocated uthe Art), first published to is the third that the dimension, say, attempt to keep the rejection of
picture on a single plane."100 His Composition IV of that year, an

works of art that, at least theoretically, would be equally accessible to all. Formal clarity would deepen the interaction between artist, object, and spectator; bypass the limitations of both and ignore national boundaries, linguistic difference; within Europe and beyond.

likewise demonstrates image on the threshold of abstraction, ideas (Fig. 9). Subtided Battle, the resonance of Worringer's the painting shows three figures standing at its center, with
white robes, red caps, and two long, vertical spears. On the

Empathy, Distraction, Estrangement In 1925, the art critic Franz Roh identified
nineteenth century, including impressionism,"

"the art of the

as an era of

left, three groups of parallel black lines become the spears of advancing armies visible over the hilly horizon, and on the right, two large figures lean backward in the foreground. The
image requires the viewer's effort in order to become repre

that had since been replaced?first by ab Einf?hlung, straction, in the early twentieth century, and subsequentiy by
what he very hesitandy termed "magic realism."102 In associ


The more

As Kandinsky
abstract . The more form

is, an

clear these and abstract direct forms, its

the more uses



the deeper and more confidendy will he advance into the kingdom of the abstract. And after him will follow the
viewer ... who will also have gradually acquired a greater

the birth of a new form of ating the demise of Einf?hlungv?th visual art, Roh conflated a theory of aesthetic perception?a the visual style of the art objects form of spectatorship?with with which its theoretical spectator engaged. Such a confla aes tion reveals, above all, the impossibility of disengaging thetic discourse from the kinds of objects it describes. Both of and the reconfiguration the birth of abstract painting
architecture as a spatial art around the turn of the last cen

familiarity with

the language

of that kingdom.101

Painterly abstraction offered a realm of purity and directness, a kingdom of unknown riches awaiting discovery by the bold est artists and art lovers of the early twentieth century. Those who dared navigate such territory would create truly universal

tury appeared to detach narrative, spatial depth, and tempo of rality from the realm of the visual arts. The emergence and its extraordinary film, meanwhile, ability to conjure had what Worringer three-dimensional space?precisely
called tion?as the greatest as the well enemy growing of all efforts of at visual abstrac in cinemas presence crowds

and the interest of particular


and critics in watch

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absorption, nineteenth It was willed?that

unlike century, this model Brecht

that was of



cultured as wholly

spectators passive. passive, vehemence




spectatorship?shallow, with such

weak in



1936, he promulgated
ment concept. could theater]" be or alienation) The used that after technique to combat relied on

the theory of Verfremdung

many of the the years' work with he theater of disbelief.107 estrangement, "empathy


the unnamed

[einf?hlungs The use


of Einf?hlung,
entertainment: cal to and lose


to Brecht,

existed only for bourgeois

experience that encouraged and prevent of psychologi spectators the possi

encompassed identification

emotional control of




bility of critical thought. In Brecht's writings, the concept had of embodied litde to do with the active experience spatial o? that the theorists Einf?hlung had debated in the perception
last quarter of it was the nineteenth even of century. the element emotional, devoid and Psychological of self-estrange


thatWorringer, following Simmel, had placed within its shallow domain. For Brecht, Einf?hlung provided a useful foil
estrangement, self-control, both its walls. his public condemnations of the concept, Brecht within the conceptual critical the tool awareness, and, that was and to reinstate en be political

spectators' gagement yond




rehearsal different 10 Heinrich Hoffmann, audience The listening Getty 920024 to Adolf Research Hitler, Institute,

to his journal
measure"; methods in are

that Einf?hlung
used: performances, the technique

could be useful as "a

he wrote, of ideally empathy "two and

the technique

of estrangement
This fact could In necessary, exist

[die einf?hlungstechnik
alternation he of

und die
and as pres elabo

Weimar, possibly photograph. Los Research Library, Angeles,

Verfremdungstechnik].,"108 was in absorption neither ence of on technique the other. their

distancing insofar explained, the of intermittent 1940, Brecht

without entry

ajournai relation:

ing movies, inant theory The cree reign

all of

challenged aesthetic



of Einf?hlung over.

as a dom



perception. was, the concept indeed, Yet, Roh's to twentieth shifts in at de the in this new method role, of practicing that art the empathy alienation would effect lose (a

of Einf?hlung

notwithstanding, of was

remained throughout to accommodate

central the

its dominant


understanding and century, the status of

spectatorship reworked merely and to the surface ingredient the as

effect consists stage bring generates tering

too in in

and the also

to be

to a of


is an artistic
experience, it on the and also

theatrical real-life


tended. nine Given

It continued and

weakness, the

concept's women: and Edith


objects they a a femi foil, conceptual art of a populist history.103 it is particularly striking

to which

such the

reproduction a way as to spectator's such and this

incidents their this

underline attention,

it to

causality art type of

emotions; of reality;

that three of the most

1920s Thomson, The on intense other were

Vernon Stein, of

theorists of Einf?hlungin
Clementine of Edmund Anstruther Husserl.104 also


performances it is that moves

facilitate the

the mas


Lee, a student absorbed




spectatorship Kracauer's Siegfried


Here, art

again, forms that

theoretical were visual to

techniques produce art had been experience

were them. The

conflated realism to "an

with of era

the nine


in 1929, for example,

that films

"drug the populace



teenth-century f?hlung" a

linked that,

of Ein to both

as of counterfeit social just heights, hypno pseudo-glamour to to put tists use their subjects glittering sleep," objects a visual, that and emotional absorption posited psychological, as feminine, been and communal had reconfigured passive, mass for the Weimar the new audience.105 Visiting picture palaces, "little Kracauer shopgirls" was in on maintained, their moviegoers?especially off?diverted evenings a the their atten



sense of self. involved a bifurcated Lipps and Worringer, on own to the subject, his claims Contrary highly publicized to create in the 1930s the theatrical realism Brecht hoped required the occasional use of Einf?hlung. At different histor ical moments?and with regard to radically different
described of it is not passive

the identity. always and

tion from
distraction absorption

the dull


of daily employment.106
form they of attention: an followed on-screen.

intense This

as figured the narratives

and estrangement empathy subjects?both destabilization viewer's uncomfortable potentially of Brecht and others, the arguments Despite possible to make a clear distinction between

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at the of Morgenrot, 11 Hider premiere The 1933, photograph. Ufa-Palast, Los Angeles, Research Institute, Getty


Research Library, 920024








the theory of estrange tion. While Brecht was developing in Germany and ment, itwas becoming difficult, increasingly to distinguish the role of the individual spectator elsewhere,
within the communal audience. Brecht was concerned less

of an empty seat at the bottom of the laid out on complete with a program booklet photograph, the balustrade before it. The real actors, here, would seem to and be the political figures on view within the photograph, indicates the existence
not those whom they are watching on the silver screen. Hider


the passive aesthetic response per se than with the of such passivity in the audi ramifications potential political ences of the 1930s. His concerns may be represented with two contemporaneous (Figs. 10, 11). The first, photographs shows an audience attending taken by Heinrich Hoffmann, to Adolf Hider and others on a theater stage. Crowded into
three absorbed tiers of an auditorium, performance men they and are women watching; appear the fully camera, in the


his arms crossed and his head

appears as aware of the

turned slightiy toward

photographer who is


to be watching. taking his picture as of the film he ismeant In Germany seemed to be in the 1930s, the mass audience the the and absorbed movies political rallies of equally by their absorption as National Socialism; Brecht characterized passive and labeled such passivity Einf?hlung.
Never performance one to of shy from passivity, conceptual or gender contradiction?or bending, for that the mat

just above the speakers to emphasize Hider's positioned bowed head in the lower left corner of the image, faces the attentive crowd and centers on the banner hung from the royal box: a flat canvas that displays a swastika. Brecht's stemmed from a horror of passive, mistrust of Einf?hlung
communal spectatorship and a fear of the uncritical accep

ter?Andy Warhol
of empathy and

can serve both


to personify

the conflation
the ex


to demonstrate

that was already widespread. Without Vischer, (his own reference Lipps, or Worringer mentioning was the kind of spectatorship he criticized Aristode), point with the that entailed a loss of self and an overidentification at center of the The swastika of the attention. image object suggests, too, that National Socialist visual language might be associated as much with abstraction as with Einf?hlung?or that the Einf?hlung Brecht decried had litde to do with the tance of Nazi claims concept as it was discussed in the nineteenth century.110 A second photograph shows Hider and his cohorts sitting in the balcony at the cinema, attending a film premiere at the in the perfor in Berlin in 1933. As if absorbed Ufa-Palace mance, they stare out beyond the space of the image?all but one, who looks directiy, and quizzically, at the camera lens. The generic gesture of a disembodied hand, at the right,

traordinary reach of these two theoretical models. A photo graph from 1971 shows Warhol and other spectators engaged that in rapt absorption at the Invisible Cinema, constructed Peter Kubelka for the year by the avant-garde filmmaker Film Archives in New York (Fig. 12). Permitting a Anthology individual and commu form of spectatorship simultaneously
nal, screen, the construction but not the allowed other each spectators. spectator to see the movie owing to Dismanded


in the room (heating and it combined the private air-conditioning proved impossible), activity of individual spectatorship with the communal activity with air circulation
going. Here, a solitary spectator could attend to a

of movie

the individualistic expe film in a manner that approximated rience of Einf?hlung, as it had been described almost a cen works of art, tury earlier with regard to representational objects in nature, and abstract forms. And who could say if
these rately, spectators together, or empathy a communal within felt estrangement, audience? sitting sepa

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Lutz Koepnick, and the two anonymous (and Helga Lutz, Erik Wegerhoff, readers for The Art Bulletin. mutually contradictory) All translations are my own, except where otherwise noted; once again, I am to Steven Lindberg for checking them over but retain the responsi grateful remain. Throughout the text I have left the bility for any errors that might term Einf?hlung to the late-nine untranslated where it refers specifically in an effort to distinguish the concept from more discourse teenth-century of empathy. amorphous understandings 1. Claims for a critical empathetic approach deriving from "a surrealist ... that modernist tradition tradition, an alternative twentieth-century has to do with psychology, emotion, surprise and scariness" are found in Herbert Muschamp, "How the Critic Sees: Conversation with Her bert Muschamp," Architecture New York 21 (1998): 16-17. On Hopper, see Alain de Botton, The Art of Travel (London: Hamish Hamilton, see Michael Fried, Menzel's Real 2002), 53-54 and passim; on Menzel, ism: Art and Embodiment inNineteenth-Century Berlin (New Haven: Yale "Outside/ Press, 2002); and on Gehry, see Christian Hubert, University In: Frank Gehry and Empathy" Uni (lecture, School of Architecture, to the cultural histo 8, 2001). According versity of Toronto, November of mass culture," film especially, rian Alison Landsberg, "technologies of empathy." Landsberg, Pros "are a preeminent site for the production thetic Memory: The Transformation of American Remembrance in theAge ofMass Culture (New York: Columbia University Press, 2004), 47. Finally, an in film entitled Empathy, directed by Amie Siegel, produced by dependent the relation between psycho Mark Ranee, and released in 2002, addressed and modern architecture and design. analysis, documentary filmmaking,

at the Cutting Room, New York, in July 2. Karen Finley's performance "which explores the emotions of New Yorkers 2002 (a work in progress was enti to its promotional after September 11th," according material) tled "The Distribution of Empathy." Barbara Kruger's empathy project exists in several versions and at least three languages; Einf?hlungsver m?gen kann die Weh ver?ndern (The Capacity for Empathy Can Change the World), for example, was installed on advertising billboards in in 1990. Wuppertal, Germany, 3. see Suzanne Perling Hudson, In this context, "Beauty and the Status of Criticism," October, no. 104 (Spring 2003): 115-30; Alex Contemporary ander Alberro, "Beauty Knows No Pain," Art Journal 63, no. 2 (Summer Elaine Scarry, On Beauty and Being Just (Princeton: 2004): 36-43; Princeton University Press, 1999); and Dave Hickey, The Invisible Drag on: Four Essays on Beauty (Los Angeles: Art Issues Press, 1993). The link between beauty and empathy was made by Carl Jung, who argued (cit is "The form into which one cannot empathize ing Theodor lipps): ... ugly." C. G. Jung, Psychological Types, or The Psychology of Individua Pantheon tion, trans. H. Godwin Baynes (1923; reprint, London: in the original; translation modified. Books, 1964), 360, emphasis "The most fruitful research developed in the afterlife of Warburg's the historian Michael S. Roth has argued, for example, contributions," "will be work that explores of memory and empa specific intersections the past as part thy in the visual domain, work that tries to understand of the history of the present. This is to be distinguished from simply the present back on to the past?an exercise in narcissism, projecting not empathy." at the College Now?" (paper presented "Why Warburg Art Association New York, 2000). Conference,

12 Andy Warhol at Peter Kubelka's Invisible Cinema at the Anthology Film Archives, New York, 1971 (photograph by Michael Chikiris, reproduced by permission of Anthology Film Archives)


Juliet Koss is assistant professor of art history at Scripps College, Claremont. Her work has appeared in The Art Bulletin, Assem and elsewhere; she is blage, Grey Room, Kritische Berichte, Total Work of Art: Modernism, currently completingThe Spec and the Gesamtkunstwerk tatorship, [Department of Art History, Scripps College, Claremont, Calif 91711,].

at Columbia February University, 2004; Johns Hopkins University, April 2004; New Conference, Scripps College, April 2005; the College Art Association of Art Historians' York, February 2000 and February 2003; the Association Historians' conference, London, April 2003; and the Society of Architectural conference, Providence, April 2004. My thanks go to all of those who invited me to speak and tomy audiences at each event My research and interlocutors on Einf?hlung was carried out at the Getty Research Institute, Los Angeles, in 1998-2000; further support for my research during a residential fellowship came from a Summer Stipend from the National Endowment for the Human ities, 2002; a sabbatical research fellowship from Scripps College, 2002-3; and a Humboldt I am deeply grateful Foundation Research Fellowship, 2002-4. for all of these, and to the Bergemanns in Nuremberg. for their hospitality on read and commented Finally, my thanks to those who have generously earlier incarnations of this essay: Lory Frankel, Marc Gotlieb, Sandy Isenstadt, delivered were Portions of this material 2004; Yale University, February

5. Scholarly interest in Einf?hlung has been prompted by the translation in Empathy, Form and and publication of selected primary documents ed. and trans. Harry Space: Problems in German Aesthetics, 1873-1893, Francis Mallgrave and Eleftherios Ikonomou (Santa Monica: Getty Cen ter Publications, relevant recent works include Georges 1994). Other Didi-Huberman, L'image survivante: L'histoire de l'art et temps des fant?mes de Minuit, selon Aby Warburg (Paris: ?ditions 2002), 400-413; Juliet in Munich," in The Built Surface, vol. 2, Koss, "Empathy and Abstraction Architecture and thePictorial Arts from Romanticism to the TxvenfyFirst Century, ed. Karen Koehler (London: Ashgate, 2002), 98-119; and Nina Rosen blatt, "Empathy and Anaesthesia: On the Origins of a French Machine Aesthetic," Grey Room 2 (Winter 2001): 78-97. The call for papers for a to empathy at the Society of Architectural Historians' session devoted conference in 2004 referred to the concept as a "dominant theory." Vischer, ?ber das optische Formgefuhl: Ein Beitrag zur Aesthetik 1873), 20. (Leipzig: Credner, 7. On the link between Einf?hlung notion of eleos in the and Aristotle's Rhetoric, see Walter Kaufmann, Tragedy and Philosophy (Princeton: see also Gottfried Herder, Princeton University Press, 1968), 44-48; 1800). KaUigone: Vom Angenehmen zum Sch?nen (Leipzig: J. F. Hartkoch, For a history of Einf?hlung from Immanuel Kant through German Ro see to the late nineteenth manticism and Ikono century, Mallgrave to Empathy, Form and Space, 1-85; as well as David introduction mou, "The Enchantment from of Art: Abstraction and Empathy Morgan, to Expressionism," German Romanticism Journal of theHistory of Ideas and Richard A. Etlin, "Aesthetics and the 57, no. 2 (1996): 317-41; Spatial Sense of Self," Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 56, no. 1 theorists and related fig (Winter 1998): 1-19. Brief essays on empathy 6. Robert

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toWilhelm Worringer, from Gustav Fechner and Charles Darwin appear in Moshe Barasch, Modern Theories of Art, vol. 2, From Impression ism toKandinsky Press, 1998), 84-187. (New York: New York University

in methods courses in doctoral programs in architecture assigned States, for example, while generally tory in the United remaining sent from their counterparts in art history.

his ab

8. Friedrich


in Bayreuth" "Richard Wagner Nietzsche, (1876), in Untimely trans. R. J. Hollingdale, ed. Daniel Breazeale (New York: The Ger Press, 1997), 239, translation modified. University Cambridge man is found in Nietzsche, in Bayreuth," in Unzeitge "Richard Wagner m?sse Betrachtungen IV, reprinted in Nietzsche Werke: Kritische Gesamtaus de (Berlin: Walter gabe IV, ed. Giorgio Colli und Mazzino Montinari 1967), 61. Gruyter,

24. See, for example, Siegfried Giedion, Space, Time and Architecture (Cam Press, 1941); L?szl? Moholy-Nagy, bridge, Mass.: Harvard University "The Concept of Space" (1925-28), ed. Herbert Bauhaus 1919-1928, of Modern Art, 1938), 122; and Bruno Bayer et al. (New York: Museum Zevi, Architecture as Space: How toLook at Architecture (1948; reprint, New York: Horizon Press, 1957), 188-93. 25. Adolf Das Problem der Form in der bildenden Kunst Hildebrand, trans, in Mallgrave Heitz, 1961), 28-29; print, Baden-Baden: Ikonomou, Empathy, Form and Space, 247-48. and (1893; re and Ikono

9. Other of empathy include Karl Groos, Einleitung important discussions in die ?sthetik (Giessen: Ricker, 1892) and Der ?sthetische Genuss (Gies sen: Ricker, 1902); and Johannes Volkelt, Der Symbol-Begriff in der neuesten ?sthetik (Jena: Dufft, 1876) and ?sthetische Zeitfragen (Munich: Beck, 1895). 10. Vischer, ?ber das optische Formgefuhl, vii; trans, in Mallgrave and Ikono interest in the work of mou, Empathy, Form and Space, 92. A mutual Arthur Schopenhauer links the empathy theorists to Freud; see Mail 8-10. introduction, grave and Ikonomou, 11. Heinrich W?lfflin, Gebr?der Mann, Prolegomena zu einer Psychologie der Architektur (Berlin: are found in ?ber das distinctions 1999), 14. Vischer's an active, physical optische Formgefuhl, 24-25. "Feeling" here describes as in the phrase "I feel the ground beneath my feet." sensation,

Das Problem der Form, 19; trans, in Mallgrave 26. Hildebrand, mou, Empathy, Form and Space, 239.

Das Problem der Form, 33; trans, inMallgrave and Ikonomou, 27. Hildebrand, distinction of Sehen and Empathy, Form and Space, 253. Hildebrand's Schauen (42) may also be found in Vischer, ?ber das optische Formgefuhl, 1-2. see Mallgrave On the relation of Hildebrand's and Vischer's arguments, to Empathy, Form and Space, 36-37. and Ikonomou, introduction Das Problem der Form, 30; trans, in Mallgrave and Ikono 28. Hildebrand, mou, Empathy, Form and Space, 250. to space and the interest in relief (and in notions of sculp 29. Antagonism tural shallowness and visual flatness, more generally) the the pervaded at the time. See also ory and practice of the visual arts in Germany in Grundbegriffe der Kunstwissenschaft: Ab ?ber Schmarsow, "Reliefkunst," (1905; Berlin: Gebr?der Mann, 1998), gang vom Altertum zum Mittelalter It should be noted that relief sculpture is technically more dif 263-78. in the round. On the link between ficult to produce than sculpture see Rosa to Hildebrand, relief sculpture and narrative, with reference lind E. Krauss, Passages inModern Sculpture (Cambridge, Mass.: MIT in the work of Press, 1977), 12-15. On opticality and embodiment Roger Fry, see Krauss, The Optical Unconscious (Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press, 1993), 138ff. 30. Clement Greenberg, "Modernist Painting" (1960), in Collected Essays and Criticism, ed. John O'Brien, of Chicago vol. 4 (Chicago: University Press, 1993), 89. 31. Ibid., 90. "Der Ursprung der k?nstlerischen Fiedler, (1887), Th?tigkeit in Francesco Dal Co, Figures of Architecture and Thought: German quoted Architecture Culture, 1880-1920 Press, 1990), (New York: St. Martin's 114. "In the following in his book's Fiedler explained investigations," to "'artistic the pages, opening activity' always refers only activity of the fine artist." Fiedler, "Der Ursprung in der k?nstlerischen Th?tigkeit," Konrad Fiedlers Schriften ?ber Kunst, ed. Hans Marbach (Leipzig: S. Hir zel, 1896), 185.

12. One image that can provoke a visceral response appears on the cover of Jonathan Crary, Techniques of the Observer: On Vision and Modernity in theNineteenth Century (Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press, 1990). Crary's work on embodied in the nineteenth the perception century denies this history, owing partly to a focus on place of Einf?hlung within aes French material. "The whole neo-Kantian legacy of a disinterested thetic perception," "from Konrad Fiedler Crary has written elsewhere, ... to more recent on the desire to 'formalisms,' has been founded escape from bodily time and its vagaries." Crary, Suspensions of Percep tion: Attention, Spectacle, and Modern Culture (Cambridge, Mass.: MIT this escapist camp, he calls Press, 1999), 46. Placing Einf?hlung within ... to counter its model viewer "constructed the claims of an antihu or behaviorism." manist Ibid., 158. Ein psychology stimulus-response f?hlung was often deeply engaged with stimulus-response psychology, as it treated embodied, however; temporal perception theoretically, to opposed empirically. 13. Vischer, ?ber das optische Formgefuhl, mou, Empathy, Form and Space, 98. 14. Vischer, ?ber das optische Formgef?hl, mou, Empathy, Form and Space, 97. 10; trans, in Mallgrave 8; trans, in Mallgrave and Ikono

32. Konrad

and Ikono

see the discussion 15. In this context, of Adolf Menzel's Moltke's Binoculars (1871), The Opera Glass (ca. 1850), and Lady with Opera Glasses (ca. 1850) in relation to embodied vision in Fried, MenzeVs Realism, 46-47, 101. 16. W?lfflin, Prolegomena, Form and Space, 155. 17. 22; trans, in Mallgrave and Ikonomou, Empathy,

"We judge every object by analogy with our body," he asserted two in this unconscious years later, "and should not architecture participate It participates animation? in the highest possible measure." Heinrich Renaissance und Barock (Munich: F. Bruckmann, W?lfflin, 1907), 56. ?ber das optische Formgef?hl, 10; trans, in Mallgrave Compare Vischer, and Ikonomou, Empathy, Form and Space, 98: "In rooms with low ceil ings our whole body feels the sensation of weight and pressure. Walls that have become crooked with age offend our basic sense of physical stability."

33. As W?lfflin put it, "without Fiedler, Hildebrand might very well not have written his Problem ofForm.n W?lfflin, in Henry Schaefer quoted to On Judging Works of Visual Art, by Konrad Fied introduction Simmern, of Califor ler, trans. Schaefer-Simmern (1876; Los Angeles: University nia Press, 1978), xii. See also G?nther Jachmann, ed., Adolf von Hilde brands Briefwechsel mit Conrad Fiedler (Dresden: Wolfgang Jess, 1927). 34. Olga Rozanova, "Extracts from Articles" (1918), in Russian Art of the Avant-Garde: Theory and Criticism, trans, and ed. John E. Bowlt (New York: Thames and Hudson, 1988), 148. 35. By contrast, the vertical zips of Barnett Newman might be read in rela tion to Einf?hlung?albeit in its trans watered down, over the decades, fer to the United States. On Newman's argu critique of Worringer's ments (which the artist knew only through paraphrases provided by see Karlheinz Barck, "Worringers T. E. Hulme), im Kon Stilpsychologie text der Stilforschung," in Wilhelm Worringers Kunstgeschichte, ed. Hannes and Beate S?ntgen Fink, 2002), 31. For a (Munich: Wilhelm B?hringer con discussion of Newman's zips with regard to the phenomenological cerns of Maurice Merleau-Ponty, see Yve-Alain Bois, "Perceiving New man," in Painting asModel (Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press, 1990), 194-96. 36. The birth of experimental the domain of philosophy psychology within is usually taken to be the establishment of Wilhelm Wundt's laboratory in Leipzig in 1879. See Stuart Danziger, Constructing the Subject: Histori cal Origins of Psychological Research (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1990), 17-38; John Fizer, Psychologism and Psychoaesthetics: A His torical and Critical View of Their Relations (Amsterdam: John Benjamins, The Psychologizing ofModernity: Art, Archi 1981), 45-57; Mark Jarzombek, tecture,History (New York: Cambridge Press, 2000), 37-72; University Martin Jay, "Modernism and the Specter of Psychologism," Modernism/ Modernity 3, no. 2 (1996): 93-111; and David E. Leary, "The Philosophi cal Development of the Conception of Psychology in Germany," Journal of theHistory of the Behavioral Sciences 14 (1978): 113?21. See also Crary, Techniques of the Observer, 69 and passim. 37. Theodor (1906): und ?sthetischer Genuss," Die Zukunft 54 Lipps, "Einf?hlung 108. An English translation (mistakenly dated 1905) is found in

18. W?lfflin, and Ikonomou, Empathy, Prolegomena, 35; trans, in Mallgrave Form and Space, 177. Further analysis of W?lfflin's dissertation appears in Mallgrave and Ikonomou, 39-47. introduction, 19. August Schmarsow, Das Wesen der architektonischen Sch?pfung (Leipzig: Karl W. Hiersemann, and Ikonomou, 1894), 10-11; trans, in Mallgrave Empathy, Form and Space, 286. 20. Schmarsow, Das Wesen, 15; trans, in Mallgrave and Ikonomou, Empathy, Form and Space, 288. Schwarzer has traced the shift to a spatial understanding of 21. Mitchell to an essay by the Viennese architecture architect Hanns Auer, "The of Space in Architecture" (1883). Schwarzer, German Ar Development chitectural Theory and the Search for Modern Identity (New York: Cambridge Press, 1995), 192. University is legible in Michael Podro's remark that 22. This disciplinary divergence "there is something strained about the way he [W?lfflin] yokes paint It is also worth noting Podro's reference to "the ing and architecture." basic and rather primitive theory of empathy." Podro, The Critical Histo rians of Art (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1982), 98, 100. 23. to space as well as visual Insofar as it addresses an aesthetic response central to the canon of architectural form, Einf?hlung has remained theory, while fading from that of art history. Its central texts are still

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in Aesthetic Theories: Studies in Pleasure," Lipps, "Empathy and Aesthetic thePhilosophy of Art, trans. Karl Aschenbrenner, ed. Aschenbrenner and Arnold Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice-Hall, 1965), 409. Isenberg (Englewood 38. Lipps, "Einf?hlung und ?sthetischer 106: "It is a basic fact of Genuss," so of aesthetics and even more that a 'sensuously given ob psychology is an absurdity?something that does not exist ject,' strictly speaking, and never can exist." Archiv f?r die gesamte Psychologie 9 39. Lipps, "Psychologie und Aesthetik," in Fizer, Psychologism and Psychoaesthetics, 224 n. 15. (1907): 117, quoted 40. At the same time, those whose work had been steeped in Einf?hlung had moved claims. On the methodological away from its theoretical see Martin Warnke, shifts inW?lfflin's "On Hein work, for example, rich W?lfflin," Representations 27 (1983): 172-87. von Helmholtz, Handbuch der physiologischen Optik (Leipzig: Voss, 1867). to Fiedler, July 24, 1892, in Bernhard 42. Hildebrand Sattler, ed., Adolf von Hildebrand und seine Welt: Briefe und Erinnerungen (Munich: Georg D. W. Callwey, 1962), 384. Fiedler viewed this common ground more warily, warning his friend, "If you were ever to publish your research, people would be able to say in some instances that Helmholtz has already to Hildebrand, touched upon it." Fiedler August 6, 1892, in ibid., 385. 41. See Hermann to Nikolaus Kleinenberg, 43. Hildebrand 11, 1891, in ibid., 359. February to Fiedler of April 9 and 16, See also two letters from Hildebrand to Hildebrand of December 1891, and one from Helmholtz 26, 1891, in ibid., 362, 374. The bust is now in the Academy of Sciences in Berlin. 44. Edward Journal in Experimental "Recent Work Bullough, of Psychology 12 (1921): 93. ibid., 86, labeled "character." these "objective," Aesthetics," British "associa

cir reception was affected by Worringer's political and biographical which may be gleaned from a lecture in 1924 concerning cumstances, what he termed "the eternal cultural struggle on two fronts in the as people of the European midst of which we Germans, center, are Deutsche Jugend und ?stlicher Geist (Bonn: Friedrich placed." Worringer, Cohen, 1924), 5; I thank Margaret Olin for sharing this text with me. See also Helga Grebing, als Lebenssinn: Sozio "Bildungsb?rgerlichkeit an Wilhelm in und Marta Worringer," biographische Ann?herungen and S?ntgen, Wilhelm Worringers Kunstgeschichte, 204-8. B?hringer 55. Again following Riegl, Worringer, Abstraktion und Einf?hlung, 42, pre sented the Kunstwollen as Riegl's critique of the materialist followers of Gottfried Semper. Riegl had argued: "Technical factors surely played a .. .but it was role as well the leading role that the sup by no means porters of the technical materialist theory of origin assumed. The impetus did not arise from the technique but from the particular artistic impulse." Riegl, Problems of Style: Foundations for a History of Ornament, trans. Evelyn Kain (1893; Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1992), 30. 56. His overthrew and the Renais the tyranny of ancient Greece argument here is sance, while remaining under Nietzsche's spell. The reference to E. M. Butler, The Tyranny of Greece over Germany: A Study of the Influ ence Exercised by Greek Art and Poetry over the Great German Writers of the Eighteenth, Nineteenth, and Twentieth Centuries (Boston: Beacon Press, 1935). One might argue that with Problems of Style, Riegl offered a theo ornament while still perpetuating retical justification of Jugendstil the tyranny of Greece.

45. Bullough, tive," and 46. 47. Ibid., 78. Ibid.


in Kunst 57. Paul Ernst, review of Worringer, Abstraktion und Einf?hlung, to "the poet und K?nstlern referred 1908): 529. Worringer (September Paul Ernst" in the foreword to the 1948 edition of his book; the art critic Karl Scheffler cited "the dramatist Paul Ernst, who may be de scribed as the leader of the neoclassical school in Germany." Scheffler, Kunst und K?nstler 5 (March 1907): 222. "B?hnenkunst," 58. Ernst, review of Worringer, Abstraktion and Einf?hlung, 529. 59. Paul Stern, Einf?hlung und Association in der neueren ?sthetik: Ein Beitrag zur Psychologischen Analyse der ?sthetischen Anschauung (Empathy and As in the New Aesthetics: to the Psychological sociation A Contribution 1898); see Worringer, Analysis of Aesthetic Representation) (Hamburg, Abstraktion und Einf?hlung, 136 n. 2. to his dissertation 60. He also had included in the bibliography appended in 1903 and 1906, re the two volumes of Lipps's Aesthetics, published Abstraktion und Einf?hlung, 170 n. 3. On spectively. See Worringer, of psychologism criticism from Ed Lipps's abandonment following see Fizer, Psychologism and Psychoaesthetics, 224 n. 18; on mund Husserl, of Lipps, see Waite, Worringer's productive misreading "Worringer's " Abstraction and Empathy, 23-28. 61. Worringer, 62. 63. Ibid., 49. Ibid., 36. inWorringer, Lipps, quoted Genuss 40, 48, 58, 59: "Aesthetischer Abstraktion und Einf?hlung, Abstraktion und Einf?hlung, ist objectiver Selbstgenuss." 40. 37, Abstraktion und Einf?hlung, 36.

48. Vischer, ?ber das optische Formgef?hl, 26. 49. Worringer, lecture on W?lfflin, n.d., inWorringer Archive, Germani sches Museum, folder ZR ABK 146, p. 160a/93, emphasis Nuremberg, in the original. und ?sthetischer 113. 50. Lipps, "Einf?hlung Genuss," 51. For a treatment of German transformation socioeconomic between 1870 and 1918, see Fritz K. Ringer, The Decline of the German Mandarins: The German Academic Community, 1890-1933 Univer (London: Wesleyan sity Press, 1990), 42-61. 52. See Anton Kaes, "Mass Culture and Modernity: Notes toward a Social His and German Cinema," in America and the Germans: tory of Early American An Assessment of a Three-Hundred-Year History, ed. Frank Trommler and vol. 2 (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, Joseph McVeigh, 1985), 320; as well as idem, "The Debate about Cinema: Charting a Con (Winter 1987): 7-33. Film troversy (1909-1929)," New German Critiqued in part from the discourse o? Ein theory itself, one might argue, emerged in 1916 of Hugo M?nsterberg, The Photoplay: f?hlung with the publication A Psychological Study. Trained inWundt's laboratory and well psychology to the United States at the turn moved versed in Einf?hlung M?nsterberg of the twentieth century, soon becoming director of the experimental psy Hugo M?nster chology laboratory at Harvard University. See M?nsterberg, berg on Film: The Photoplay; A Psychological Study and Other Writings, ed. Allan 2001), 45-162; as well as Juliet Koss, "Re (New York: Routledge, Langdale flections on the Silent Silver Screen: Advertising, Projection, Reproduc tion, Sound," Kritische Berichte: Zeitschrifl f?r Kunst und Kulturwissenschaften no. 53-66. 2 32, (July 2004):

64. Theodor

65. Worringer, 66. Ibid., 52. 67. 68. 69. 70. Ibid. Ibid., 48. See

ibid., 39. " in 30.

in the Motion in Three 53. Erwin Panofsky, Pictures," "Style and Medium Essays on Style, ed. Irving Lavin (Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press, 1995), 93-94. in 1905, Abstraktion und Einf?hlung: Ein B?trag zur Stilpsychologie 54. Begun as a dissertation was first published (Neuwied, 1907) and subsequently as a book (Munich: R. Piper, 1908; reprint, Amsterdam: Verlag der Kunst, 1996). It did not appear in English until 1953, as Abstraction and Bullock Empathy: A Contribution to thePsychology of Style, trans. Michael 1997). See Geoffrey C. W. Waite, (Chicago: Elephant Paperbacks, and "Worringer's Abstraction and Empathy: Remarks on Its Reception of Criticism," in Invisible Cathedrals: The Expressionist Art the Rhetoric (University Park, Pa.: History ofWilhelm Worringer, ed. Neil H. Donahue State University Press, 1995), esp. 16-20; Mary Gluck, "In Pennsylvania The Making of terpreting Primitivism, Mass Culture and Modernism: Abstraction and Empathy," New German Critique 80 Wilhelm Worringer's as well as Siegfried K. Lang, "Wilhelm 2000): 149-69; (Spring-Summer in und Bedeutung," Abstraktion und Einf?hlung. Entstehung Worringers and S?ntgen, Wilhelm Worringers Kunstgeschichte, 81-117. Wor B?hringer criticism through that of Joseph ringer's work entered Anglophone into art history accom Frank and T. E. Hulme, with its absorption and Herbert Read. Its postwar plished primarily by Rudolf Arnheim

See ibid., 9-13. For an analysis of this tale as "empathetic discourse the crudest sense," see Waite, "Worringer's Abstraction and Empathy, Abstraktion und Einf?hlung, 71. Worringer, 59. 72. Ibid., 59-60, quoted emphasis in the original.

73. Lipps, 74. 75. Ibid. Ibid.

in ibid., 60.

76. Friedrich

"Richard Wagner in Bayreuth" Nietzsche, (1876), in Untimely translation modified, in original. The German is Meditations, emphasis in Bayreuth," in Nietzsche Werke, found in Nietzsche, "Richard Wagner 38. Wagner himself had linked sympathy to something akin to self the hybrid aesthetic of "a thorough alienation, describing experience into unreserved stepping out of oneself sympathy with the joy of the in itself." Wagner, Das Kunstwerk der Zukunft (Leipzig: Otto beloved, 1850), 160. Wiegand,

an artist viewing the subject for a painting, Nietzsche re 77. Describing ferred to "that aesthetic phenomenon of detachment from personal interest with which a painter sees in a stormy landscape with thunder and lightning, or a rolling sea, only the picture of them within him, the phenomenon of complete absorption "On the Uses and Disadvantages Nietzsche, in Untimely Meditations, 91. in the things themselves... ." of History for Life" (1873),

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the reissued Abstraktion und Einf?hlung, 78. Worringer, 75-76. Introducing book in 1997, Hilton Kramer presents English edition of Worringer's "what remains central to Abstrac the author as a proto-Greenbergian: art that tion and Empathy is the essential distinction itmakes between in creating some recognizable takes pleasure simulacrum of three . . . and art that dimensional that spatial illusion in space suppresses in favor of something and abstract." Kramer, flatter, more constricted to Abstraction and Empathy, ix. troduction 79. 80. See Worringer, Abstraktion und Einf?hlung, 59, 76, and passim. see Anthony Vidler, Ibid. On spatial anxiety in architectural discourse, The Architectural Uncanny: Essays in the Modern Unhomely (Cambridge, of Mass.: MIT Press, 1992); and idem, "Agoraphobia: Psychopathologies Urban Space," in Warped Space: Art, Architecture, and Anxiety inModern Culture (Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press, 2000), 25-50. Abstraktion und Einf?hlung, 49.

Ostfriedhof Crematorium, Munich, April chive, folder ZR ABK 146, pp. 486-88.

2, 1965),



100. Wassily Kandinsky, Concerning the Spiritual in Art, trans. M. T. H. Sadler in the original; the German is (New York: Dover, 1977), 44, emphasis found in Kandinsky, ?ber das Geistige in der Kunst (1911; reprint, Bern: to Peg Weiss, Kandinsky was "not likely Benteli, 1952), 110. According to have seen the book [Abstraction and Empathy] in any case before 1909, when his own ideas .. .were already well formulated." Weiss, inMunich: The Formative Jugendstil Years (Princeton: Prince Kandinsky ton University Press, 1979), 159. is found in 101. Kandinsky, Concerning the Spiritual in Art, 32; the German ?ber das Geistige in der Kunst, 75-76. For his part, Worrin Kandinsky, to Kandinsky's book was polite, but distant. With refer ger's response ence to the artist's famous description of art as a large, upwardly mov this ismy position with ing triangle, he wrote: "Briefly formulated, regard to your book: I am not standing at the same point, but I find to Kandinsky, January 7, 1912, in the same triangle." Worringer myself in Hilmar Frank, "Die Missverstandene Antithese: Zur Logischen in B?hringer and S?ntgen, Struktur von Abstraktion und Einf?hlung," Wilhelm Worringers Kunstgeschichte, 75. 102. Franz Roh, Nach-Expressionismus, Magischer Realismus: Probleme der neuesten Europ?ischen Malerei und Biermann, (Leipzig: Klinkhardt in the original. In 2002, Michael Fried, Menzel's 1925), 40, emphasis culture between Realism, 253, made a similar claim: modern Western 1840 and 1880 may be viewed within the theoretical framework of Ein individuals: "Kierkegaard, f?hlung, he wrote, citing the following Helmholtz, Ruskin, Marx, Courbet, Millet, Thoreau, Whitman, the first Flaubert, Baudelaire, Dickens, Wagner, C?zanne, Melville, decade of Eakins's activity as a painter, [and] early Hardy." 103. The history of empathy in the twentieth century?a subject beyond treat the concept's Anglophone the parameters of this essay?would into English of afterlife, which began in 1904 with the translation Wundt's Principles of Physiological Psychology by E. B. Titchener, labora Wundt's former student and later the head of the psychology German tory at Cornell University. contemporary speakers Notably, use the term Empathie, not Einf?hlung, to describe the generic experi ence of empathy. Universalizing art historical claims based on per sonal observation, insight, and deriving legitimized by psychological from Einf?hlung, have appeared most famously in the work of Rudolf see especially Arnheim, Arnheim and Ernst Gombrich; "Wilhelm Wor and Empathy," in New Essays on thePsychology of ringer on Abstraction Art (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1986), 50-62. 104. See Vernon Lee, with Clementine Anstruther-Thomson, Beauty and Ugliness and Other Studies in Psychological Aesthetics (New York: Lane, 1912); idem, The Beautiful: An Introduction toPsychological Aesthetics (New York: Putnam's, 1913); and Edith Stein, Zum Problem der Ein des (On the Problem of Empathy) (Halle: Buchdruckerei f?hlung association Waisenhauses, 1917). Muschamp's (in "How the Critic Sees," of 16) of the current "opportunity for empathy" with the achievements is therefore especially dubious, given that feminism late-twentieth-centuiy empathy has often been considered girlish since the 1920s. 105. Siegfried Kracauer, The Salaried Masses: Duty and Distraction in Weimar 1998), 94. (New York: Verso, Germany (1930), trans. Quintin Hoare See also idem, "The Mass Ornament" (1927), in The Mass Ornament: Weimar Essays, trans, and ed. Thomas Y Levin (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1995), 75-86. 106. Kracauer, "The Little Shopgirls Go to the Movies" (1927), in The Mass cultural cod Ornament, 76 and passim. On the early-twentieth-century see Andreas Huyssen, "Mass Culture ing of mass culture as feminine, as Woman: Modernism's in After the Great Divide: Modernism, Other," Mass Culture, Postmodernism of Indiana Press, (Bloomington: University on the recoding o? Einf?hlung inWeimar aes German 1986), 44-62; as passive and feminine, see Juliet Koss, "Bauhaus thetic discourse Theater of Human Dolls," Art Bulletin 75 (December 2003): 735-36. 107. Bertolt Brecht, "Alienation on Theatre: The Development (New York: Hill and Wang, 108. Bertolt Effects of an Aesthetic, 1994), 91-99. in Chinese Acting" (1936), in Brecht trans, and ed. John Willett 1, 1941, Journals (New York: Rout

81. Worringer, 82. 83. 84. 85. Ibid., 50. Ibid. Ibid., 55-56. Ibid., 81.

86. What

"the agonizing quality of the cubic," else than a remnant ibid., 58, argued "is ultimately nothing Worringer, of that agony and unease that governed mankind in the face of the and interplay; things of the outside world in their unclear connection it is nothing else than a final memory for all of the point of departure artistic creation, namely of the urge to abstraction." See also Worringer, review of Gesammelte Aufs?tze by Hildebrand (Strassburg: Heitz und M?n del, 1909), inMonatshefte f?r Kunstwissenschafi, vol. 3 (Leipzig: Klinkhardt und Biermann, had actu 1910), 212. The task of sculpture, Hildebrand is to offer a "visual image and thus to remove what is dis ally written, Das Problem der Form, 37, turbing from the cubic form." Hildebrand, trans, in Mallgrave and Ikonomou, Empathy, Form and Space, 258. had Problems of Style, 14. "It's certainly very welcome that Dr. Wilhelm Worringer, Professor of to portray and to develop Art History in Bern [sic], has undertaken of his [Riegl's] view of art," the critic Egon further the basic principles Friedeil declared in a review of Abstraction and Empathy in 1920; Riegl's and Worringer work was important, but "not in the least accessible," the reader to navigate "the oppressive fullness of purely archae helped ... to get at the genial thoughts at the core." Friedell, ological detail "Der Sinn des Expressionismus," Neues Wiener Journal, June 25, 1920; in Neil H. Donahue, Forms of Disruption: Abstraction inModern quoted German Prose (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 1993), 32 n. 10. See Worringer, Abstraktion und Einf?hlung, 78, 106-8; and Riegl, Prob lems of Style, 51-83. For a discussion of the symbolic value of Egyptian art in the work of Riegl and Worringer in relation to early silent film, see Antonia Lant, "Haptical Cinema," October, no. 74 (Fall 1995): 45 wrote a book on Egyptian art, 73. Two decades later Worringer ?gyp tische Kunst: Probleme ihrerWertung (Munich: R. Piper, 1927). at the end of the nineteenth in Munich the naturalist movement two decades later, see Peter Jelavich, Munich century and its demise and Theatrical Modernism: Politics, Playwriting, and Performance, 1890-1914 Press, 1985), 26-52. (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University



87. Riegl, 88.


90. On

91. Worringer, 44. Abstraktion und Einf?hlung, 92. Peter Behrens, Feste des Lebens und der Kunst, eine Betrachtung des Theaters als h?chsten Kultur-Symboles in 1900), 22, emphasis (Leipzig: Diederichs, the original. 93. Ernst, review of Worringer, Abstraktion und Einf?hlung, 529. 94. Worringer, Abstraktion und Einf?hlung, 92-93. He was not averse to sex ist generalizations, and elsewhere referred to the "feminine however, to the appearances of life" that dominated nineteenth-cen receptivity is synony tury architecture, arguing that "this feminine self-resignation mous with the will to the loss of self...." Worringer, "Zum Problem der modernen Neudeutsche Bauzeitung 7 (1911): 496. Architektur," 95. Karl Scheffler, 96. Ibid., 38. Die Frau und die Kunst (Berlin: Julius Bard, 1908), 4.

97. Worringer's art increased after the publi engagement with contemporary cation of Abstraction and Empathy in 1908. See Geoffrey Perkins, Contempo rary Theory ofExpressionism (Frankfurt: Herbert Lang, 1974), 47-48. toWilhelm Worringer, 98. Gabriele Munter January 13, 1951, Worringer folder ZR ABK 146, pp. 377-80. Archive, 99. Werner "Gruss an Wilhelm Worringer," Die Neue Zeitung, Jan Haftman, folder 3R ABK 146, p. 278. In a Archive, uary 9, 1951, inWorringer memorial referred to Abstraction and Empathy speech, Hans Sedlmeyer as "a bestseller of art history," saying, "Even in the twenties, every edu to speak about art had to have read it, much cated person who wanted like?a bit earlier?Simmel's (memorial writings." Sedlmeyer speech,

Brecht, entries for January trans. Hugh Rorrison, 1934-1955, ledge, 1996), 124, 131.

11 and February ed. John Willett

109. Brecht,

entry for August 2, 1940, ibid., 81-82. 110. A contemporaneous discussion of the link between the rise of mass of perception, and "efforts to render politics aes culture, new modes thetic" appears inWalter Benjamin, "The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical in Illuminations: Essays and Reflections, Reproduction," trans. Harry Zohn, ed. Hannah Arendt (New York: Schocken, 1969), of Einf?hlung has been inher 241 and passim. Brecht's public mistrust ited by art historians who ignore his treatment of the concept in his between the Einf?hlung he discussed journals and fail to distinguish and that of the nineteenth century.

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