Riegl, Alois

Riegl, Alois


Born Jan. 14, 1858, in Linz; died June 17, 1905, in Vienna. Austrian art historian.

Riegl became a professor at the University of Vienna in 1897. He represented the Vienna school of art studies. His polemic against G. Semper’s theory that material was the key element determining the laws of forms had a great influence on the development of Riegl’s views. Riegl rejected the normative view that was characteristic of 19th-century art studies, which interpreted art history as a sequence of periods of decline and progress evolving toward a common ideal. He advanced the concept of an immanent artistic will that determined the characteristic features of each artistic era, including periods of haptic (flat, tactile) and optical (three-dimensional) treatment of form. Despite the idealism of Riegl’s hypotheses, his theory led to the development of more varied techniques for analyzing artistic form.


Die spätrömische Kunstindustrie, vols. 1–2. Vienna, 1901–23.
Das holländische Gruppenporträt. [Vienna] 1902.
Gesammelte Aufsätze. Augsburg-Vienna, 1929.


Istoriia evropeiskogo iskusstvoznaniia: Vtoraia polovina XIX v.—nachalo XX v., book 1. Moscow, 1969. Pages 65–73.
Piwocki, K. Pierwsza nowoczesna teoria sztuki: Pogla̧dy Aloisa Riegla. Warsaw, 1970.
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