Heinrich Wolfflin

Available Winter 2020 | Contact us to pre-order

About the book

Who the Hell is Heinrich Wölfflin? brings one of the founding fathers of art history to life. Although little is known about who Wölfflin was as a person, by tracing his relationships and mentors, which were the sources of his work, we begin to build a picture of this private man whose life was bound up so tightly in his work. Many of his ideas had an enormous impact on the development of art history and he continues to be widely read today. This book delves into Wölfflin's most important ideas and presents them in an engaging and easy-to-understand way.

Chapter 1: Wölfflin's Life Story

Chapter 2: Influences on Wölfflin's Thinking

Chapter 3: Prolegomena and Empathy Theory
This chapter looks at the development of Wölfflin's empathy theory – how he moves from understanding it as a bodily process to a fundamentally optical one. 

Chapter 4: Fundamental Concepts
Wölfflin is best known for his classifying principles which were hugely influential in the development of formalism in art history. This chapter takes us through his method in detail, which set out to show the evolution of artistic vision from one period to another.

Chapter 5: Method in Action: Textile Development
This chapter puts Wölfflin's method into action, comparing textile design from two different periods to determine the stylistic development.

About the author

Joan Hart received her Ph.D in the History of Art from the University of California, Berkeley. She has been writing about art history and historiography for over 30 years, focusing on Heinrich Wölfflin and Erwin Panofsky. Her teaching experience at several major colleges and universities has been on Modern Art and Visual Perception, art historiography and architectural history. Joan is also a textile specialist, with the largest privately owned collection of Kashmir and paisley shawls and related textiles. She currently lives in Berkeley, California.