Aesthetics and Philosophy of Art

Research projects:


Art and truth in Hegel’s aesthetics: a dialogue with Hölderlin and Heidegger

Description: As a proposal to continue our current research on Hegel’s aesthetics, defined by the investigation of the relation between his aesthetics and his time and heritage, we aim to deepen the theme ‘art and truth’, according to the broader scope previously established. Indeed, on the one hand, it could be said that one of the characteristics of Hegel’s aesthetics, compared to his immediate predecessors (Kant and post Kantism) and even more distant ones (Plato), is the insistence on the link between art and truth. According to Hegel, art is not only a mere game between imagination and understanding, nor the field of what is only an illusion, but the sensitive expression of the idea (taken as an ideal), and implies a key moment of reconciliation of the spirit with its effectiveness and history. On the other hand, if we think about the posterity of Hegel’s aesthetics and take into account that the theme of the end of art is the crucial and most current point of the Hegelian aesthetic thought, we see that these topics bring into question the very possibility of art still being able to express truth. Thus, if looking retrospectively to the Western and modern history, Hegel observes the links between art and truth, this same gesture reverts dialectically and ‘negatively’ to the future, as it necessarily implies the recognition of the difficulty art has to ‘express our highest interests,’ in a world in which the universal is emancipated from sensitivity.
We have, therefore, indicated two possible research fronts on the theme ‘art and truth’ in Hegel’s aesthetics: 1) in its link to German idealism, there is confluence between art and philosophy or between art and poetry, implying a dignification of the artistic element; and 2) at the same time, within that same German idealism, there are also the first manifestations of the impossibility for poetry and, therefore, for art, of constituting a reference to the world. More and more the ‘prose of the world’ (Hegel) or the ‘absence of the gods’ (Hölderlin) deepens and, with that, the advent of the ‘end of art’ becomes inevitable. In this project, we would like to investigate this set of problems and state of things through approaches involving three authors: Hegel, Hölderlin, and Heidegger. We intend to follow the passage from modern to contemporary aesthetics, when, in an unprecedented way, the relation and the tension between art and truth are intensified. Taking Hegel’s aesthetics as the gravitational centre and basic reference of thinking, we would like to 1) deepen the relation of idealism with art and poetry, in a parallel between Hegel’s aesthetics and Hölderlin’s work. Advancing on this theme, as it was established for our time, 2) we believe the work of Heidegger, particularly in his investigation on the origin of the work of art, continues the reflection started by Hegel on the relationship between art and truth, even if with other assumptions and in another cultural situation. Heidegger conducted several interpretations of poems by Hölderlin, by the same time (around 1934 to 1943) of the conception of his essay on the origin of the work of art, and also refers to Hegel and the fates of aesthetics in the ‘Afterword’ of this same essay, and understands art as the ‘putting oneself in function of the truth’ [Ins-Werk-Setzen der Wahrheit].

Professor in charge: Marco Aurelio Werle (


The forms of invention

Description: To study the connection between invention and form from the 18th century and, more specifically, from the philosophy of Anthon Ashley Cooper, 3rd earl of Shaftesbury. The purpose is to question to what extent ‘invention’ and ‘form’ are important to understand what is the man and what he produces concretely or symbolically, individually or collectively.

Professor in charge: Márcio Suzuki (


Aesthetics: from modern to contemporary

Description: 1. Aesthetics and artistic modernity:

 The research aims to examine the imagery of artistic modernity (from the late 19th century to the 20th century’s 1970s), based on the belief of the avant-garde artists on the transforming powers of art, in the sense of aestheticization of life. In other words, it seeks to characterize the different versions of the ‘end of art’ (or ‘death of art’) understood as a shuffling of art and life: 1) in the origin of artistic modernity (Dandyism): 1850-1900; 2) during the historical avant-gardes (constructive or ‘negative’): 1900-1930; 3) at the time of the late avant-gardes (happenings): 1945-1970; 4) in the project of aestheticization of life in Brazil, from Concretism (1952) to guerrilla art (1969-1973).

2. Aesthetics and contemporary art:

This research aims to analyse some matrices of the critique of modern culture from 1970 to 2000: 1) the so-called French Structuralism and Poststructuralism of Jean-François Lyotard, Jean Baudrillard, and Roland Barthes, among others; 2) aesthetic criticism founded on the so-called ‘Critical Theory of Society’ (Theodor Adorno, Herbert Marcuse, Walter Benjamin, and Jürgen Habermas) of Peter Burger or Fredric Jameson; 3) reflection on the relation between art and politics, in Hal Foster, Jacques Rancière, and Nicolas Bourriaud, among others, based on examination of the various forms assumed by artistic language from the 1970s.

Professor in charge: Ricardo Nascimento Fabbrini (


Word and invention. Heuristics and language in Germany in the 18th and 19th centuries

Description: To study various authors (Sulzer, Herder, Moritz, Goethe, Kant, Schleiermacher etc.) who conceived language as a heuristic medium or as a form of ‘ars inveniendi’.

Professor in charge: Márcio Suzuki (


Theory of Laughter and Philosophy of Lights

Description: It is common place to historians to affirm that the rupture of Jean-Jacques Rousseau with the Philosophers is the most important event of the 18th-century French philosophy. Such event has been examined thoroughly: from the perspectives of the ‘political science’ of time, philosophy of history, anthropology, theory of language etc. However, it was not in any of these general areas that it was consummated, but in the Letter to M. D’Alembert on Spectacles (1758), in the specific sphere of theatre theory. Although this issue has also been the object of several studies, which elucidate the general procedure of Rousseau, I believe it is not undue to revisit the Letter to M. D’Alembert to ascertain the fine tuning. The purpose of my research plan, therefore, is to analyse the conflict between Rousseau and the Philosophy from an even more specific point of view: that of the theory of laughter and humour exposed in the letter.

Professor in charge: Luiz Fernando Batista Franklin de Matos (