Who is Richard Wollheim?June 26, 2021
Richard Arthur Wollheim was an art philosopher who lived between May 5, 1923 – November 4, 2003 and worked mainly on visual arts and painting.
Wollheim served as president of the British Society of Aesthetics from 1992 until his death.
Richard Wollheim believes we should resist our tendency to view art as an abstract idea that needs to be analyzed and explained. If we want to fully understand art, we must always define it in relation to its social context. Wollheim describes art as “a way of life” in his “Art and Objects” (1968), using the term coined by Austrian-born philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein to describe the structure of language. For Wittgenstein, language is “a way of life” because the way we use it is a reflection of our individual experiences, habits, and skills. It tries to resist philosophy’s tendency to make simplistic generalizations about language and instead draw attention to the very different roles language plays in our lives.
What we define as art may change depending on the context we are in when evaluating it.
Wollheim shares the same opinion as Wittgenstein, but with regard to works of art. He states that artists are conditioned by their own contexts and states that the world they interpret is a constantly changing world. One of the implications of this, according to Wollheim, is that there is no general “artistic impulse” or instinct for art creation that is completely independent of the institutions in which he works.
Prepared by: Sociologist Ömer YILDIRIM
Source: Omer YILDIRIM’s Personal Lecture Notes. Atatürk University Sociology Department 1st Year “Introduction to Philosophy” and 2nd, 3rd, 4th Grade “History of Philosophy” Lecture Notes (Ömer YILDIRIM); Open Education Philosophy Textbook