Francis Donald Klingender  — 9 July  was a Marxist art historian and exponent of Kunstsoziologie whose uncompromising views meant that he never quite fitted into the British art history establishment. Klingender was born in Goslar , Germany, to British parents. At the start of the first World War, his father, Louis Henry Weston Klingender , was interned near Berlin on suspicion of spying for the British. The family moved back to England in the s and Klingender supported them while attending night classes at the London School of Economics. He subsequently embarked on an academic career in sociology , becoming a lecturer in that subject at the University of Hull , which position he retained until his death.
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At all periods animals have been used by man in art and literature to symbolize his religious, social and political beliefs, and artists have found constant inspiration in the grace and beauty of animal forms. Yet animals have also always been viewed realistically by hunters, sportsmen, farmers, and all who come into daily contact with them or exploit them for food supplies or as beasts of burden. In Animals in Art and Thought Francis Klingender discusses these various attitudes in a survey which ranges from prehistoric cave art to the later Middle Ages.
He is especially concerned with uncovering the latent as well as the manifest meanings of animal art, and he presents a detailed examination of the literary and archaeological monuments of the periods under review. The themes discussed include the Creation myths of pagan and Christian religion, the contribution of the animal art of the ancient Orient to the development of the Romanesque and Gothic styles in Europe, the use of beast fables in social or political satire, and the heroic associations of animals in medieval chivalry.
I shall proceed by comparing representative works of art in each period with contemporary representative works of art in each period with contemporary documents of folklore or literature, on the one hand, and with the 'real' relations between men and beasts typical of the time, on the other.
Wherever possible I shall use the written documents as if they were the verbal associations evoked by the visual imagery in the artist's mind. Where the evidence is too complex or where no written documents survive for this method, I shall endeavor to obtain a similar result by reconstructing the imaginative climate within which the artist worked.
Either approach precludes the discussion of a work of art in isolation from its setting. Men's practical experience of animals as hunters, farmers or scientists, and the relative importance of these activities in the lives of different communities, cannot but affect the ways in which ordinary people dream of animals and artists depict them.
Hence neither the real relationship between men and beasts, nor the symbolic meanings attached at various times to beasts should be neglected to interpret the ever-changing forms of animal art. Search Search. Search Advanced Search close Close. Breadcrumb Home Contributors Francis Klingender. Animals in Art and Thought to the End of the Middle Ages Francis Klingender , Evelyn Antal , and John Harthan At all periods animals have been used by man in art and literature to symbolize his religious, social and political beliefs, and artists have found constant inspiration in the grace and beauty of animal forms.
A principle or system which tends to deflect the artist or thinker from reality is unconditionally inferior to one which directs his energies towards objective truth. But one need only think of Hegel to realize that some of the greatest advances in human understanding have been made within the framework of a reactionary system of thought — or rather in spite of it. Greek, Gothic, etc. It is the task of scientific criticism to discover these concrete achievements of permanent significance within their relative and transitory shell. At that important phase in the development of society, when mental labour was divided from material labour, there emerged another, secondary tradition of spiritualistic, religious or idealistic art. This, too, is continuous until it will vanish with the final negation of the division of labour — i. During this entire period of development, i.
Francis Klingender 1907-1955: A Marxist Art Historian Out of Time
from Marxism and Modern Art – Francis Klingender