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The Aesthetic Views of Albert Bazala at the Time of Croatian »Moderna«

Zlatko Posavac

Puni tekst: hrvatski pdf 1.855 Kb

str. 135-158

preuzimanja: 371



The paper starts with the statement of a historic fact - namely, that the period at the turn of the century, roughly between lR90 and 1910, was characterized by distinctive structural features that make it a recognizable whole. In art, one of the distinctive traits was the proliferation of art movements or »isms«, i.e. pluralism of »isms«. In the Croatian cultural, and especially literary, history, the period is known by its original, and very aptly chosen, name of »Moderna«. An active participant in this epoch in the early years of the twentieth century was Albert Bazala, who was then at the start of his philosophical career.
The present author considers that two of Bazala's studies are particularly relevant for his concept of aesthetics and for an understanding of his public involvement: these are the polemical »Moderna i narodna književnost« (»Moderna« and National Literature, 1904) and the largely theoretical »0 umjetnosti« (On Art, 1906). In the first study, Bazala reproached the Modernists for their unwarranted departure from the national character of art. He thus raised a number of important issues which began to preoccupy people at that time and have remained the subject of lively interest until the present day. Pointing at some glaring inconsistencies in the views of the Modernists, particularly, as he thought, their excessive insistence on the absolute freedom of creativity, regardless even of any ethical norms, Bazala identified echoes of Nietzsche's philosophy at the ideological background of »Moderna«, which proved important for the subsequent interpretations of the movement. In the treatise »O umjetnosti«, quite in the modern spirit, Bazala effected a switch from the so-called »objective« to »subjective« aesthetics. Subjectiveness was understood by him in psychologistical terms, and he was the first to introduce the doctrine of Einfühlungstheorie into Croatian aesthetics. Psychologism was thus established and recognized as modernity.
Placing Bazala's views into the European context, the author illustrates their historical relevance and up-to-dateness by drawing parallels with the then loudly dominant theses of Worringer, Volkelt, Jerusalem, and Simmel The conclusion that the present author draws is very clear: though young Bazala took the side of the »old guard«, and against the Modernists, in the conflict between the »old« and the »young« Croatian artists and writers, he was nevertheless, in the two aesthetic studies discussed here, and particulary in the second, »O umjetnosti«, a legitimate explicator and interpreter of the main Modernist ideas, indeed a theorist of »Moderna«.

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