Johann Georg Sulzer

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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.

WORKS

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.

REFERENCE

Tumarkin, A. Der Asthetiker Johann Georg Sulzer. Frauenfeld, 1933.
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He discusses the evidence that Beethoven understood and used key characteristics, including his personal views and his familiarity of the views of others, including Johann Mattheson, Johann Philipp Kirnberger, Johann George Sulzer, Christian Friedrich Daniel Schubart, Anton Reicha, and Carl Czerny; keys commonly and less frequently used by Beethoven and their affective characteristics, with lists of examples by Beethoven and other composers; the tonal symbolism in his solo songs, as well as modulations in them; and case studies of his concert aria oAh!
"Vortrag," in Allgemeine Theorie der Schonen Kunste, 2 vols., Johann George Sulzer, ed.