Adolf von Hildebrand

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Hildebrand, Adolf von


Born Oct. 6, 1847, in Marburg, Hesse; died Jan. 18, 1921, in Munich. German sculptor and art theorist.

Hildebrand attended art school in Nürnberg (1864–66) and in Munich (1866–67). He moved to Italy in 1867 and later settled in Germany. His aesthetic theory, which developed through his association with H. von Marées and C. Fiedler, in many ways determined the major characteristics of his sculpture—an inner reticence, a slight coldness of image, plastic clarity, compactness and static quality of form, laconicism, and architectonic preciseness of composition. Examples of his works are Adam (1878, marble, Museum of Fine Arts, Leipzig) and Youth (1884, marble, National Gallery, Berlin). Hildebrand’s idealism, which absolutized in art the primary laws of interaction between form and space, was developed in German art criticism of the late 19th and early 20th centuries by H. Wölfflin and A. Riegl.


Gesammelte Schriften zur Kunst: Hrsg. von H. Bock. Cologne-Opladen, 1969.
In Russian translation:
Problema formy v izobrazitel’nom iskusstve. Moscow, 1914.


Hausenstein, W. Adolf von Hildebrand. Munich, 1947.
Faensen, H. Die bildnerische Form: Die Kunstauffassungen Konrad Fiedlers, Adolf von Hildenbrands und Hans von Marées. Berlin, 1965.
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And there is, as well, a long lineage of painterly, "pictorial" sculpture (articulated by figures from Adolf von Hildebrand to Michael Fried), though this term usually denotes a class of three-dimensional artworks that deny their object-hood by approaching the conditions of painting's flatness, whether literally, as in a relief, or more obliquely, via compositional or coloristic strategies--none of which are Fritsch's stock-in-trade.
Calo emphasizes Berenson's friendships with artists, such as Hermann Obrist, Egisto Fabbri, and Adolf von Hildebrand.
In this way, they suggest a neurological basis for the "projection" nineteenth- and early twentieth-century theorists such as Adolf von Hildebrand spoke of when describing how we simulate in our bodies what we see in works of art--a parallel to Freud's notion of "projection" as an ascription, often hostile, of our sentiments to other people and to the world around us.