Lecture given by Anthony Steinhoff (PhD, University of Chicago), Professor of History at the Université du Québec à Montréal.
While the ideal of “art for art’s sake” proposes that art has an intrinsic value that is divorced from any political, social or moral considerations, artists themselves often prove to be engaged in the issues of their day. In Germanic Europe, for example, many have been reacting to and commenting on the current conditions, both in their work and their words. Sometimes, when artists want to inspire cultural, social or political change, they play a more active role.
This lecture will explore the socially engaged artist in Germanic Europe from the late 18th century to about 1930. It will also delve into the profound links between art, music and history in this corner of the continent.
Gustav Klimt (1862-1918), Study for the Portrait of Mäda Primavesi, 1912, Graphite, 56 x 36.8 cm. Montreal Museum of Fine Arts.