Informations and abstract
Keywords: Francesco Arcangeli, Art criticism, Existentialism, Romanticism, Informalism.
Francesco Arcangeli’s reputation as art historian rests on an unusual interweaving of elements of existentialism and elements inspired by his mentor Roberto Longhi. This abyssal amalgam of seemingly incompatible traditions can be found in all the essays, both historical and militant; and it attains an exciting synthesis in the lectures he delivered between 1967 and 1974 as distinguished professor of History of Medieval and Modern Art at the University of Bologna. Arcangeli’s Longhian existentialism, which comes to the fore in his academic teaching, does not represent a variant of Longhi’s aesthetics; nor is it an attempt to bring the language of existentialism into the formal tradition of 20th-century art criticism. Rather, it represents an effort to radicalize the themes of existential hermeneutics in the interpretation of artworks from Wiligelmo to Pollock. Against the objectivizing and luminous power of logical and intuitive procedures that characterizes Longhi’s figurative and clarifying «erklaren» (to explain), Arcangeli sets the probing of a nocturnal element: the «obscure zone», of a «pre-art» – Hegel would say – that is not easily explained in language and in «opra d’inchiostro» (work in ink).