Art and its History

Abstract
The paper argues that something is art only if (i) it belongs to a special kind of internal history and (ii) needs to be understood and appreciated in the light of such history. This goes against both the traditional view that art has a timeless, ahistorical essence and the historicist view that there can be no ahistorical perspective for understanding art. The paper draws on Hegel’s view that art needs to be understood through its history, but rejects the idea that the history of art has an end in the double sense of a goal and an end point. It also rejects Arthur Danto’s Hegel-inspired claim that the ahistorical essence of art is revealed at the end of its history and opens the door to a natural alliance between philosophers of art and art historians
Keywords History of art, Hegel, philosophy of art
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