Art and Theory of Art (CW 271) (eBook)

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Art and Theory of Art: Foundations of a New Aesthetics

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 half decades as a spiritual researcher and teacher. The challenge of saying something about art was personal 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).

C O N T E N T S:

Introduction by Zvi Szir

Goethe as Father of a New Aesthics
On the Comical and Its Relationship to Art and Life
Beauty and Art
Count Leo Tolstoy: What Is Art?
On Truth and the Illusion of Truth in Works of Art

The Being of the Arts
The Sensory–Suprasensory in Its Realization through Art, I & II
The Sources of Artistic Imagination and Suprasensory Knowledge, I & II
Sensory–Suprasensory: Spiritual Knowledge and Artistic Creativity
The Suprasensory Origin of Art
The Psychology of the Arts

Editorial and Reference Notes
Rudolf Steiner’s Collected Works
Significant Events in the Life of Rudolf Steiner
Name Index

About the Author

Rudolf Steiner (1861–1925) was born in the small village of Kraljevec, Austro-Hungarian Empire (now in Croatia), where he grew up. As a young man, he lived in Weimar and Berlin, where he became a well-published scientific, literary, and philosophical scholar, known especially for his work with Goethe’s scientific writings. At the beginning of the twentieth century, he began to develop his early philosophical principles into an approach to systematic research into psychological and spiritual phenomena. Formally beginning his spiritual teaching career under the auspices of the Theosophical Society, Steiner came to use the term Anthroposophy (and spiritual science) for his philosophy, spiritual research, and findings. The influence of Steiner’s multifaceted genius has led to innovative and holistic approaches in medicine, various therapies, philosophy, religious renewal, Waldorf education, education for special needs, threefold economics, biodynamic agriculture, Goethean science, architecture, and the arts of drama, speech, and eurythmy. In 1924, Rudolf Steiner founded the General Anthroposophical Society, which today has branches throughout the world. He died in Dornach, Switzerland.

Additional information



Clifford Venho, Dorit Winter


Zvi Szir




November 2021






CW 271


Steiner Books


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