Arthur Danto, ‘The transfiguration of the commonplace. A Philosophy of Art’. Harvard University Press, Cambridge Massachusetts, London England, The Transfiguration of the Commonplace has ratings and 20 reviews. Jee said: In this work of philosophy, Danto wishes to define art, and to show why. Arthur C. Danto argues that recent developments in the art world, in particular the production of works of art that cannot be told from ordinary things, make urgent.

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The semiotic paradigm of art has of necessity to stumble on an utter inability to draw a dividing line between philosophy or science and art. But slowly, after many examples supplied by his aunt, the youngster learns that pictures of nonspectacular things can be powerful, things like a wilted flower.

Open Preview See a Problem? Matt Churgin rated it it was amazing Mar 28, Lists with This Book. I think my reading order of danto may have been the reason teh my not enjoying this book as much. Danto conceives of the image as a sign: So the wall between art and life that Danto tried so much to build up and make firm dissolves right here.

The Transfiguration of the Commonplace: A Philosophy of Art

My favorite chapters are 4 and 5 I was not, I admit, expecting to enjoy this book but just to learn from it. Works of Art and Mere Representations. Aesthetics and the Work of Art. I believe his intention is grasped when, after laying the appropriate groundwork, he supplies transfiguratoon definition of an artwork: Just a moment while we sign you in to your Goodreads account.

Or, to phrase it somewhat more sophisticatedly: But the urinal is not at all transformed into the representation of something else, into an image — and such has certainly not been the intention of Duchamp, the champion of anti-mimesis par excellence.

A Philosophy of Art.

By concentrating on several controversial artworks and giving a philosophical background, he challenges the definition of art but also provides acceptable alternatives. It is not just, as is so often said, that metaphors go stale; they go dead in a way that sometimes require scholarly resurrection. The Transfiguration of the Commonplace: From the Publisher via CrossRef no proxy jstor. A younger person might have to employ a bit of research to nail down those analogies, but it would be worth the effort.


In the course of constructing such a theory, he seeks to demonstrate the relationship between philosophy and art, as well as the connections that hold between art and social institutions and art history.

I find Danto’s theories to be, at times, problematic, but he is an engaging writer something of a rarity amongst most art philosophers these days, I find and although I initially borrowed this for what proved to be a rather tiresome essay, I enjoyed reading it.

Any book that makes you want to make is a good one. Dec 19, Luke Echo added it. Hence, an image is no means of referring to the real world, but, on the contrary, a means of substituting for it see: The structure of the artwork is thus very close to the structure of a metaphor.

He’s consistently engaging and always has examples tue scenarios to illustrate the problems and arguments he concerns himself with. Titians, battle scenes, Hudson River School waterfalls. Overall this was great, it’s a deliberate antidote to the preth century understandings of art, both in terms of philosophers and of common regressive perspectives. Also here a soft breeze suffices to let the whole construction collapse: His approach throughout the book is to compare artworks with what he calls mere real things, when both are indiscernibly alike.

The Transfiguration of the Commonplace

I think of Redon. I keep feeling as I read this that Danto must mean something different than I do by “content” since I would generally see metaphorical seeing as a matter of content i.

How much difference does the object itself make? Trivia About The Transfigurati Kory rated it it was amazing Jan 22, It looks like the tranfiguration is metaphor contains within it usually or always? Similarly when Napoleon is represented as a Roman emperor we have a metaphor, Napoleon as is, metaphorically, a Roman emperor, which is not just a representation of a Roman emperor with Napoleon as a model or simply of Napoleon wearing a toga.

Works of Art and Mere Real Things. Then there is the canvas in our garage since my high school art class, that I primed with red paint but never committed to painting. And he manages to do all of this in an entertaining way!

Arthur C. Danto, The transfiguration of the commonplace – PhilPapers

Transfiguratin roughly, if I understand him rightly, the difference between a representation and an object is that the former is intended. Its function rather is to equip the reader or viewer with the information needed to respond to the work’s power which, after all, can be lost as concepts change or be inaccessible because of the outward difficulties of commonplacee work, which the received cultural equipment is insufficient to accommodate.


The commomplace of the commonplace: There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Our recent titles are available via Edelweiss.

More admirable still is he’s an Analytic but he defies the unfair caricature of analytics as unpersonable gremlins writing entire books in notation; in fact you could likely not even know until you reach the last chapter when he really shows his powerlevel, which is still approachable in its own right.

Newer Post Older Post Home. It is not clear which flower painting Danto was thinking of specifically. There are definitely more difficult parts but I found it a lot more readable than most contemporary philosophy.

The book distinguishes what belongs to artistic theory from what has traditionally been confused with it, namely aesthetic theory and offers as well a systematic account of metaphor, expression, and style, together with an original account of artistic representation. The first transciguration that if the structure of artworks is, or is very close to the structure of metaphors, then no paraphrase or summary of the artwork can engage the participatory mind in at all the ways that it can; and no critical account of the internal metaphor of the work can substitute for the work inasmuch as the description of a metaphor simply does not have the power of the metaphor it describes, just as a description of a cry of anguish does not activate the same response as the cry of anguish itself.

The Transfiguration of transfigyration Commonplace: We have three art objects, all art objec Danto is asking an interesting question in Transfiguration of the Commonplace: Important also in all of this is that in order to see the Lichtenstein as art we must not only have a concept of art and be able to see it in the way intended by the artist required by Danto’s other writings but know something about the associations people in the s had with diagrams so that the portrait can be infused with those.

We note a general Wittgensteinian family resemblance between the class of art objects, but what is the defining feature?