An aesthetic and critical theory of art which places emphasis on form — the structural qualities instead of either content (sometimes called literal or allegorical qualities) or contextual qualities. According to this point of view, the most important thing about a work of art is the effective organization of the elements of art through the use of the principles of design. Also known as structuralism, in the 1960s and early 1970s formalism was so entrenched as the most powerful critical approach, that artists frequently produced works that were particularly attentive to it, and even now some think of modernism as more or less synonymous with formalism. Critic Clement Greenberg (see flat) is frequently cited as an instigating force, but formalism can be traced back through many artists, including J. A. M. Whistler (American, 1834-1903. See aestheticism, art for art's sake, and fin de siècle) to the philosopher Immanuel Kant. Also see communication, deformalism, emotionalism, imitationalism, isms and -ism, meaning, Minimalism, subject, and viewer.

Glossary of Art Terms. 2014.

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  • Formalism — or formalization is the activity or its product which rigorously follows a set/system of rules previously defined and usually known.It can refer to a set of beliefs in philosophy, art, literature, or music. * Formalism (art) * Formalism (film) *… …   Wikipedia

  • formalism — FORMALÍSM s.n. 1. Orientare în artă, estetică, muzică, literatură care rupe forma de conţinut, tinzând să supraaprecieze forma operei de artă în dauna conţinutului, să considere forma un scop în sine şi nu ca expresie a conţinutului. 2. Atitudine …   Dicționar Român

  • Formalism — Form al*ism (f[^o]rm al*[i^]z m), n. The practice or the doctrine of strict adherence to, or dependence on, external forms, esp. in matters of religion. [1913 Webster] Official formalism. Sir H. Rawlinson. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • formalism — formalism, formal sociology A branch of sociology usually considered to have been founded by Georg Simmel , which aims to capture the underlying forms of social relations, and thus to provide a ‘geometry of social life’. Simmel distinguished the… …   Dictionary of sociology

  • Formalism — formalism, logical …   Philosophy dictionary

  • formalism — formalism, logical …   Philosophy dictionary

  • formalism — (n.) 1840, strict adherence to prescribed forms, from FORMAL (Cf. formal) + ISM (Cf. ism). Attested from 1943 in reference to the Russian literary movement (1916 30). Related: Formalist; formalistic …   Etymology dictionary

  • formalism — [fôr′məl iz΄əm] n. 1. strict or excessive attention to or insistence on outward forms, as in art, or established traditions, as in religion 2. an instance of this formalist n., adj. formalistic adj …   English World dictionary

  • formalism — formalist, n., adj. formalistic, adj. formalistically, adv. /fawr meuh liz euhm/, n. 1. strict adherence to, or observance of, prescribed or traditional forms, as in music, poetry, and art. 2. Relig. strong attachment to external forms and… …   Universalium

  • Formalism — means a number of different things: A certain school in the philosophy of mathematics, stressing axiomatic proofs through theorems specifically associated with David Hilbert. A school of thought in law and jurisprudence which emphasises the… …   Mini philosophy glossary

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