Johann Georg Sulzer

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Sulzer, Johann Georg


Born Oct. 16, 1720, in Winterthur, Switzerland; died Jan. 27, 1779, in Berlin. German aesthetician and teacher.

Sulzer moved from Switzerland to Germany in 1743 and taught philosophy at the Berlin Academy of Sciences from 1775. He wrote The Universal Theory of Fine Arts (vols. 1–2, 1771–74), which expounded the basic concepts of aesthetics and various arts in alphabetical order. He stressed the importance of taste and feeling in the influence of art on man. Sulzer’s uninspired moralizing in the spirit of the Bodmer school drew adverse criticism of his works from G. E. Lessing, J. G. Herder, and Goethe.


Vermischte philosophische Schriften, 2nd ed., vols. 1–2. Leipzig, 1782–1800.
In Russian translation:
Razgovory o krasote estestva. St. Petersburg, 1777.
O poleznom s iunoshestvom chtenii drevnikh klassicheskikh pisatelei mnenie. Moscow, 1787.
Uprazhneniia k vozbuzhdeniu rnimaniia i razmvshleniia. St. Petersburg, 1801.
Novaia teoriia udovol’stvii. St. Petersburg, 1813.


Tumarkin, A. Der Asthetiker Johann Georg Sulzer. Frauenfeld, 1933.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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References in periodicals archive ?
With respect to the music articles in Johann Georg Sulzer's Allgemeine Theorie der schonen Kunste (1771-74), Kirnberger is generally credited today with writing those in the first volume, plus the ones up to "Modulation" in the second.
(15.) Johann Georg Sulzer, Allgemeine Theorie der schonen Kunste, 2 vols.
In 1774 Johann Georg Sulzer was unable to identify these works: `Quanz [sic] empfiehlet als Muster guter Quatuor, sechs Stuke [sic] von Teleman, die uns nicht bekannt sind'.
Drawing on such theorists as Jean-Philippe Rameau, Johann Georg Sulzer, and Heinrich Koch, Spitzer shows how the metaphor of rhythm and language proceeds from articulation of cadences and phrases through progressively larger forms, culminating in sonata form.
Thus in Johann Georg Sulzer's Allgemeine Theorie der schonen Kunste (1771-4) one reads that tin France one now calls every prelude to an opera an overture, even when it has nothing at all to do with the former style of such a piece.'(22) The Germans, we can be sure, committed no such musical malapropisms.
Johann Georg Sulzer and others linked the sketch with the fantasia, noting both the unfinished quality (whether unintentional or stylized) and the impermanence of each.
As the Swiss aesthetician Johann Georg Sulzer remarked in his Allgemeine Theorie der schone Kunste ('Universal theory of the arts', 1771-4):