PRINT Summer 1966


Mannerism by Arnold Hauser

Arnold Hauser, Mannerism (Knopf, New York), 1965. Two volumes.

Naturalness—what poverty of spirit.

Clarity—what thoughtlessness.

The author of these lines is not Oscar Wilde or Huysmans but Gongora, one of the extreme exponents of the taste for artificiality in the period to which Arnold Hauser’s new book is devoted. Its title is nothing less than “Mannerism: the Crisis of the Renaissance and the Origin of Modern Art.” It is a matter of record that for Mr. Hauser art is an expression of ideology and that his approach to it is sociological. In “The Social History of Art” he applied these views to the whole spectrum of Western art. In “The Philosophy of Art History” he discussed their theoretical implications and ramifications. “We are now living in the day of the sociological interpretation of cultural achievements,” he wrote there. So much for dialectical materialism. It is a faith, we can

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