By Günter Figal

Connecting aesthetic event with our adventure of nature or with different cultural artifacts, Aesthetics as Phenomenology specializes in what paintings capability for cognition, attractiveness, and affect—how artwork adjustments our daily disposition or habit. Günter Figal engages in a penetrating research of the instant at which, in our contemplation of a piece of paintings, response and proposal confront one another. For these proficient within the visible arts and for extra informal audience, Figal unmasks paintings as a decentering adventure that opens extra probabilities for realizing our lives and our world.

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78 Van Gogh’s painting is certainly opening—in a still rather imprecise sense; it lets something appear, not by referring to something but instead by itself being there. But what is opened up is certainly no historical world. Above all, the painting is not allocated to such a world. It has an emphatic worldlessness, just as Cézanne’s still lifes and landscapes, Matisse’s Intérieurs, Newman or Rothko’s glowing color surfaces, one of Bach’s violin sonatas, or Goethe’s Über allen Gipfeln ist Ruh’.

But the recognition of this gulf could not be the final word, if it is not to remain a paradox that beings determined by freedom are also natural beings and can only operate under natural conditions. ”51 Kant sees this harmony actualized in the peculiar abeyance [Schwebe] of aesthetic experience.  . ” Thus, the supersensible is given in the sensible and natural aspect of aesthetic experience in such a way that it does not oppose the sensible; supersensible freedom arrives in intuition with the sensible of aesthetic experience, without being able to unify with the latter.

In any case, an aesthetics that has become a philosophy of art in Hegel’s sense has forgotten “the broad realm of the beautiful” that it still invokes in its opening line. (13) Its measure is the spiritual activity that is actual for itself. The art-philosophical program formulated here, along with its philosophical grounding in a principle, remains binding. This does not mean that Hegel’s conception of the principle as spirit remains authoritative, the understanding of art as the objectivization of something subjective that rediscovers itself in the ob- 30 Aesthetics as Phenomenology jectivization and is thereby rejoined with itself in the free individuality that is actualized in the artwork.

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