Universal artwork

DEFINITION

The notion that all the arts, including painting, music, architecture, poetry, and so on, be combined into one unified art. This originated in the German theory of Gesamtkunstwerk, translated variously as "universal artwork" or as "a synthesis of the arts" or as "a total work of art." Gesamt = entire, all, or complete. Kunst = art. Werk = work. This was most famously the goal of Richard Wagner (German, 1813-1883), a composer of music, especially of operas, and champion of Romanticism. Placing most emphasis on the arts of music and poetry, Wagner aimed to synthesize works in which symphonic music would convey the subtle and deep emotions that words and dramatic action alone could never achieve. Although numerous artists have sought to produce works that unify all the arts in the years since, this term seems rarely to have been used to refer to works other than Wagner's, even though other works might be said to have been more successful at attaining this goal. Some works of cinema and performance art might be cited as examples of universal artworks. Also see Gem?tlichkeit, reification, syncretism, synergy, synesthesia, and virtual reality.More related German words: K?nstler = artist (and related words); Die K?nste = The Arts (plural); k?nstlerisch = artful. NOTE: some of these words have u's bearing umlauts over the u's and some do not? ? and u. Thank you Astrid Wilch!

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