What is Gesamtkunstwerk?

Gesamtkunstwerk is a German word that translates into “ideal work of art” and has its etymology in the essay by a German writer and philosopher KFE Trahndorf in 1827. The term was again found in the two works of another German Richard Wagner in 1849. Wagner was an opera composer. Wagner’s awareness of Trahndorff’s essay has not been established. The term Gesamtkunstwerk has since found an association with the aesthetic ideals of Richard Wagner and the word has been associated with aesthetics in English.

Meaning and application

Gesamtkunstwerk found further use in the twentieth century with some writers who applied the term to some forms of architecture as well as films and mass media. It can therefore be said that Gesamtkunstwerk describes “universal, total, complete, synthetic, ideal or all-encompassing form”. In simpler terms, it is used to indicate a creation of art that makes use of all or many forms of art or that aims to achieve the same.

Gesamtkunstwerk in Performance Art

In his essays 1849, “Art and Revolution” and “The Work of the Future”, Wagner used the exact term Gesamtkunstwerk in expressing his ideal of bringing together all the creations of art through theater. His desire was emphasized in his essays by the use of expressions such as “the consummate work of the future” and “integrated drama”. In addition to the philosophers of KFE Strandroff, such as Gottfried Lessing and Ludwig Trek, he also wrote on the synthesis of the arts. According to Wagner, works such as the Grand Opera that characterized singing and sensational scenic effects and textures were meaningless and were the result of contact drift in the various arts. Outline his vision of the union of the work and the drama in an extensive way, Wagner in the book “Opera and Drama” emphasized the union of different individual arts for a common goal. He deepened this idea in his cycle of works Der Ring Nibelungen and more precisely in the components Das Rheingold and Die Walkure: the work was the farthest Wagner himself and his colleagues struggled to create an ideal.

Gesamtkunstwerk in architecture

The use and application of the term Gesamtkunstwerk has influenced not only the field of the arts but also the field of architecture; although in the later stages of its use. There are no explicit references to the application of this term in construction and construction. Gesamtkunstwerk also has a wide range of applications, for example in design, in the supervision of the whole, in furnishing, in the perfection of the landscape and in other details of a structure. The contextual use of the term came during the Renaissance period with artists such as Michelangelo who saw no boundaries or separation in various tasks such as architecture, interior design, sculpture, painting and engineering.

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