How to Read (Anything as) Art

Kari Jormakka


Alberti defines beauty in architecture as a state of harmony in so much as that any change in the building would be for the worse. Yet, it is hard to believe that any physical object can ever become so perfect. Hence, Alberti seems to leave us with only two alternatives; either there can never be beauty in architecture, or else architectural masterpieces and other works of art are not material things at all, but rather belong to a world of Greek necessity, inhabited by gods and, if Freud is right, dreams as well. Through a discussion of architectural criticism, I try to show how works of art are constituted in interpretation as perfect artifacts in such a way that Alberti's vision is
both possible and inevitable (see note 1).

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