By Arthur C. Danto
After the top of paintings offers Danto's first full-scale reformulation of his unique perception, exhibiting how, with the eclipse of summary expressionism, artwork has deviated irrevocably from the narrative direction that Vasari helped outline for it within the Renaissance.
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Additional resources for After the End of Art
The first generation of great American museums took it for granted that its contents would be treasures of great visual beauty and that visitors would enter the tresorium to be in the presence of spiritual truth of which the visually beautiful was the metaphor. The second generation, of which the Museum of Modern Art is the great exemplar, assumed that the work of art is to be defined in formalist terms and appreciated under the perspective of a narrative not remarkably different from the one Greenberg advanced: a linear progressive history the visitor would work through, learning to appreciate the work of art together with learning the historical sequences.
16 Picasso differed from them more radically than the ways they differed from one another: he differed from them in the way that philosophy and art differ. And he differed from Matisse and the surrealists in the way that one philosophical position differs from another. So it is altogether possible to view the history of art subsequent to Hegel's pronouncement as a confirmation rather than a falsification of his prediction. One possible analogy for the thesis of "end of art" is to be found in Alexandre Kojeve's argument that history came to an end in 1806 with Napoleon's victory at the Battle ofJena.
LS This view was transformed into a battle cry by the logical positivist movement, which vowed the extirpation of all metaphysics through demonstrating its nonsense. It was nonsense, the positivists (though not Wittgenstein) claimed, because it was unverifiable. In their view the only meaningful propositions wen~ those of science, and science was marked by its verifiability. That of course left the question of what philosophy itself was to do, and the truth was that the verifiability criterion inevitably turned against its defenders, dissolving itself as nonsense.