Henri Bergson and Visual Culture: A Philosophy for a New Aesthetic

    Research output: Book/ReportBookResearchpeer-review


    What does it mean to see time in the visual arts and how does art reveal the nature of time? Henri Bergson and Visual Culture: A Philosophy for a New Aesthetic investigates these questions through the work of the French philosopher Henri Bergson, whose theory of time as duration made him one of the most prominent thinkers of the fin de siècle. Although Bergson never developed an aesthetic theory and did not explicitly write on the visual arts, his philosophy gestures towards a play of sensual differences that is central to aesthetics. This book rethinks Bergson’s philosophy in terms of aesthetics and provides a fascinating and original account of how a Bergsonian ideas aid in understanding time and dynamism in the visual arts.
    From an examination of Bergson’s influence on the visual arts, to a reconsideration of the relationship between aesthetics and metaphysics, Paul Atkinson explores what it means to reconceptualise the visual arts in terms of duration. He revisits four key themes in Bergson’s work – duration, gesture, life and perception. The Bergsonian aesthetics of duration is convincingly revealed through the application of these themes to a number of nineteenth and twentieth-century artworks.
    This book will introduce readers and art lovers to the work of Bergson, contribute to Bergsonian scholarship, as well as present new ways to understand the relationship between art and time.
    Original languageEnglish
    Place of PublicationLondon UK
    PublisherBloomsbury Academic
    Number of pages319
    ISBN (Electronic)9781350161788, 9781350161795
    ISBN (Print)9781350161771, 9781350160764
    Publication statusPublished - 2020


    • Henri Bergson
    • Visual culture
    • aesthetic perception
    • Time perception
    • Artistic Research

    Cite this