Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Heinrich Wölfflin (1864 – July 19, 1945) was a famous Swiss art critic, whose objective classifying principles ("painterly" vs. "linear" and the like) were influential in the development of formal analysis in the History of art during the 20th century. He taught at Basel, Berlin and Munich in the generation that raised German art history to pre-eminence.
His three great books, still consulted, are Renaissance und Barock (1888), Die Klassische Kunst (1898, "Classic Art"), and above all Kunstgeschichtliche Grundbegriffe (1915, "Principles of Art History").
Wölfflin's family in Winterthur, Switzerland, was wealthy and cultured. His father, Eduard Wölfflin (1831-1903) was a classicist, who helped found and organize the Thesaurus Linguae Latinae. Wölfflin studied art history and philosophy under Jakob Burckhardt at the University of Basel. After graduating in 1886, he published the result of two years' travel and study in Italy, as his Renaissance und Barock (1888), the book that introduced "Baroque" as a stylistic category and a serious area of study. For Wölfflin, the 16th-century art now described as "Mannerist" was part of the Baroque esthetic, one that Burckhardt before him as well as most French and English-speaking scholars for a generation after him dismissed as degenerate.
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