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Gesamtkunstwerk (Ger.: ‘total work of art’)locked

  • Barry Millington


A term used by Wagner for his notion, formulated in his theoretical essays of 1849–51, of an art form that combined various media within the framework of a drama. Harking back to ancient Greek drama, he suggested that there the basic elements of dance, music and poetry had been ideally combined. Their division into separate genres had diminished their expressive force; only in the total work of art could they regain their original dignity. Similarly, the arts of architecture, sculpture and painting would recover their classical and authentic stature only as constituents of the ‘artwork of the future’....

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