Art and Theory of Art: Foundations of a New Aesthetics (CW 271)

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Rudolf Steiner
Introduction by Zvi Szir
Translated by Dorit Winter and Clifford Venho

An Author’s Summary, 1888
Four Essays Written between 1890 and 1898
Eight Lectures between 1909 and 1921 (CW 271)

“The challenge of saying something about art was personal for Rudolf Steiner. He experienced it as deeply connected with his biography. It is not for nothing that, in the last lecture of this volume, he points to his repeated attempts to develop a new approach and new forms of expression for speaking about art. We find at least three forms of this attempted approach in this book.” —Zvi Szir (from the introduction)

The subject, practice, and vital importance of art was a thread that ran through Rudolf Steiner’s life, from his early work as a scholar of Goethe, through his time as an editor of a literary and arts journal in Berlin in the 1890s, and to his two and a half decades as a spiritual researcher and teacher. Understanding and articulating the significance of art was a perennial challenge for Rudolf Steiner.

This volume of Steiner’s Collected Works is unique in that it showcases a survey of both early written works and later lectures to anthroposophic audiences, and in doing so presents a picture of a lifetime of intensive effort to convey something essential about the arts.

Beginning with his early philosophical work and literary criticism at the end of the nineteenth century and on into his later lectures, this volume follows Steiner’s endeavor to reveal in words the mystery obscured by the vague concept of what “art” is.

Viewed as a whole, this volume forms one of the most provocative collections of the twentieth century on the subject of art. It offers a unique analysis of the origin, foundation, and method of the creative process.

This book is a translation of Kunst und Kunsterkenntnis: Grundlagen einer neuen Ästhetik, 3rd edition, published by Rudolf Steiner Verlag, Dornach, Switzerland, 2010 (GA 271).

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