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Formalism in art

DOI: 10.4324/9780415249126-M023-1
Version: v1,  Published online: 1998
Retrieved April 17, 2024, from

Article Summary

Formalism in art is the doctrine that the artistic value of a work of art is determined solely by the work’s form. The concept of artistic form is multiply ambiguous, however, and the precise meaning of formalism depends upon which sense of form it operates with. There are two main possibilities. The first understands form as the structure of a work’s elements, the second as the manner in which it renders its ‘content’. If form is understood as structure, formalism is still ambiguous: understood one way, it has never been denied; understood another way, it is untenable. If form is understood as manner, formalism is false.

Citing this article:
Budd, Malcolm. Formalism in art, 1998, doi:10.4324/9780415249126-M023-1. Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Taylor and Francis,
Copyright © 1998-2024 Routledge.

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