Painterly and Planar: Wölfflinian Analysis Beyond Classical and Baroque

Newall, Michael (2015) Painterly and Planar: Wölfflinian Analysis Beyond Classical and Baroque. The Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism, 73 (2). pp. 171-178. (doi: (Full text available)

MS Word - Author's Accepted Manuscript
Download (163kB)
Official URL


The art historian Heinrich Wölfflin defines a range of formal characteristics – his famous "fundamental concepts" or "principles" of art history – with which he describes the Classical and Baroque styles. Aside from their historical coincidence in these styles, Wölfflin thought that the 'Classical' concepts had some special affinity, or "rational" quality binding them together, as did the 'Baroque' concepts. Equally, he believed, to combine 'Classical' and 'Baroque' concepts would be to combine "contradictory" tendencies. This paper explores what it is that link the concepts into Classical and Baroque groupings, and examines what happens when 'Classical' and 'Baroque' concepts appear together. Wölfflin barely touched on this at all, partly since from his point of view such combinations of his concepts obscures rather than illuminate the grand movement between Classical and Baroque which he saw as central to art history. Indeed, reading his Principles of Art History, one might have the impression that they do not exist; but they do, having a presence throughout post-Renaissance European art. I argue, that applying Wölfflin’s concepts to these works illuminates them in significant and unexpected ways.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion
N Fine Arts
N Fine Arts > ND Painting
Divisions: Faculties > Humanities > School of Arts
Depositing User: Michael Newall
Date Deposited: 04 Mar 2017 15:45 UTC
Last Modified: 06 Mar 2017 15:37 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)
  • Depositors only (login required):


Downloads per month over past year