A Rilkean Challege to Herder on Aesthetic Appreciation of Sculpture

K. Whittingslow Prize

Presentation for Best Graduate Essay

by Husayn Ja’fari

Friday, March 24, 2023
2:30pm HST . Sakamaki C308

Johann Gottfried Herder argues in Sculpture that the sense of touch is essential to the aesthetic appreciation of sculpture, while other senses play only a limited role, if any. While we may grant him the inclusion of the long-forgotten sense of touch in our appreciation of statues, 1 argue that Rainer Maria Rilke’s understanding of sculpture—which takes the sculpture of Auguste Rodin as its focal point—presents a direct challenge to Herder’s contention that the sense of sight is inessential to this appreciation