Guardare o toccare? Un’incertezza herderiana

Andrea Pinotti


In the tradition of Western aesthetics and visual culture the practice of touching works of art has always been considered  inappropriate and improper, if not dangerous: "You can watch, but do not touch" is the canonic rule in the institutionalized spaces of museums and galleries. At the same time, touching has been assimilated into the practice of looking itself, in the form of a "touching eye", a "tactile gaze" or "haptic vision". In my paper I will examine Herder's doctrine of sculpture as a crucial theoretical moment in which the oscillation between a real effective touch and a mere virtual and imaginative tactile experience of the artwork has generated a complex series of consequences for the following art theory (Riegl, Wölfflin, Berenson and others).


Haptic; Optic; Sculpture; Herder

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