Winckelmann’s Haptic Gaze: A Somaesthetic Interpretation

in Aesthetic Experience and Somaesthetics
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Winckelmann’s experience and theory of art are deeply marked by his body consciousness in different ways. This essay explains how his process of seeing sculptures is not merely a simple glance, but a distinctive optical mode, i.e., his characteristic contemplative gaze (Betrachtung). This special way of looking comes about through a visually haptic engagement during his appreciative experience of art, and it, consequently, implicitly influences his judgments on sculpture, including his evaluations of their beauty.

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