Simmel as a "Hidden King"? On his relations to Egon Friedell and Max Raphael


Simmel as a "Hidden King"? On his relations to Egon Friedell and Max Raphael. Egon Friedell, a Karl Kraus disciple, who wrote his famous "Kulturgeschichte der Neuzeit" (1927pp.), DOES what Simmel described as the 'hidden King': every epoch, every era - says Friedell - has its specific idea, concept, fashion, even furniture style. He tries to expose this from late Middle Ages up to World War I, with a enormous knowledge, but he doesn't care about empirical validation, just evidence (like Simmel): instead of having no thesis, he prefers to put out even false ones (like, sometimes, Simmel, too). He read Simmel, but found him, strange enough, as "hard to understand". The other case is Max Raphael, art historian and, like Bloch, a Simmel student. Simmel, e.g., managed that he could get in contact with Rodin. Raphael began in "From Monet to Picasso", a dissertation Wölfflin refused because being focused on contemporary art, to demand an "absolute Gestaltung" (total creation) from any particular piece of art. He obviously learned this 'hidden King' from Simmel's "Rembrandt" and overexaggerates it: modern art yet fails, says Raphael, to execute that. Later on, he switched over to Communism, but one still can show that underneath his concept of 'empirical art history' Simmel's ideas on art themselves wound up as a 'hidden King'.

DOI Code: 10.1285/i22840753n10p13

Keywords: Simmel; Friedell; Raphael; modern art

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