On 12 December at 16:15 Holger Rajavee will defend his doctoral thesis "The Birth and Formation of Modern Artistic Genius in French and British Traditions in Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries and its Reflections in Twentieth Century".
Professor PhD Juhan Maiste,
Professor PhD Janika Päll
PhD Kristiina Savin, University of Lund
From its birth in the antiquity the term “genius” has had various meanings. During the history of western civilization it has transformed, changed semantically and in present day has become frequently used noun or adjective, which has largely lost its historical meaning. Still we have to remember that genius has very important role in western culture, especially beginning from renaissance when for the first time starts to emerge the idea of artistic genius.
The aim of this dissertation is to understand the background of the term “genius” as a phenomenon in Western culture and the idea of this historical concept, which has its roots in Ancient Greece referred as daimon or daimones and comes to us through Latin translation as genius, the type of divine power that offered protection and inspiration. Main topic of the work is focused on the period when the idea of modern artistic genius comes into being, i.e. from the middle of seventeenth century to the middle of eighteenth century. This is the time when the meaning of the term genius starts gradually transform from tutorial guiding spirit to paradigmatically new concept denoteing now the genius as the subject itself, idiocyncratic author with unique innate qualities. During this period art theory, philosophy and newborn aesthetic doctrine accomplishes the concept of modern artistic genius – the new type of an artist as we appreciate it today. We can talk about two different versions of developing this new concept, about two different traditions, French and British ones. Both starting from the common source, influenced largely philosophically by neoplatonic doctrine, each of them tries to solve the problem of the phenomena of artistic genius in its own way and the symbiosis of the two genius-teachings reflects vividly the way we understand the artist in the twentieth century and onwards.