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Jason Gaiger

Jason Gaiger is Professor of Aesthetics and Art Theory, and a Fellow of St Edmund Hall. He is Head of Art History and Theory at the Ruskin School of Art and the Undergraduate Admissions Co-Ordinator.

Jason Gaiger’s main research interests are in aesthetics and art theory from the seventeenth century through to the present day; he also works on theories of depiction and visual meaning, and on contemporary art practice and theory. His most recent book, Philosophy of Painting: Ancient, Modern, Contemporary (Bloomsbury, 2022), provides a historically informed analysis of the contemporary relevance of painting, showing how philosophical reflection can deepen and extend our understanding of this enduring art form. A first edition of this book was published by Continuum in 2008 as Aesthetics and Painting. His other books include Frameworks for Modern Art (Yale University Press, 2003), an English translation of Johann Gottfried Herder’s Sculpture (The University of Chicago Press, 2002), and, as co-editor, Art in Theory: 1648-1815 (Blackwell, 2000) and Art in Theory: 1815-1900 (Blackwell, 1998). He has published widely in journals such as The Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism, The European Journal of Philosophy, Estetika and The British Journal of Aesthetics, as well as in various edited collections. His work on art theory is informed both by the historical resources of the German aesthetic tradition and by debates in contemporary analytic philosophy. His current research projects investigate the temporality of pictorial and sculptural viewing, and the complex mereological questions that are raised by works of visual art.  

Jason Gaiger studied art history and philosophy at the universities of St Andrews, Essex and Heidelberg; before coming to Oxford in 2010, he was Senior Lecturer and Director of Research in the Art History Department at the Open University.  

He is happy to supervise graduate students in areas related to his research. Recent theses completed under his supervision include: ‘The Epistemic Value of Contemporary Art’, ‘Modes of Presence in the Contemporary Sculptural Encounter’, ‘Affective Vision: Urban Landscape Photographs and their Paratexts’, ‘Form Unfollows Function: Subversions of Functionality’, and ‘Going on from Picasso? Late Modernism and the Dynamics of History’. 

Email jason.gaiger@rsa.ox.ac.uk

Click here for St Edmund Hall webpage. 

Selected Publications

Philosophy of Painting: Ancient, Modern, Contemporary, London and New York:  Bloomsbury Academic, 2022.  

‘Projective and Ampliative Imagining’, in Philosophy of Sculpture: Historical Approaches, Contemporary Problems, ed. Kristin Gjesdal, Fred Rush and Ingvild Torsen, London and New York: Routledge, 2020: 17-32.  

‘Pictorial Experience and the Perception of Rhythm’, in The Philosophy of Rhythm: Aesthetics, Music, Poetics, ed. Peter Cheyne, Andy Hamilton and Max Paddison, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2019: 303-330.  

‘The Temporality of Sculptural Viewing in Hemsterhuis’ Lettre sur la sculpture’, Sculpture Journal, Vol. 27 (2), 2018: 225-250.  

‘Can a Painting have a Rhythm?’, The British Journal of Aesthetics, Vol. 58 (4), 2018: 363-383.  

‘Transparency and Imaginative Engagement: Material as Medium in Lessing’s Laocoon’ in , and Rethinking Lessing’s Laocoon: Antiquity, Enlightenment the ‘Limits’ of Painting and Poetry, ed. Avi Lifschitz and Michael Squire, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2017: 279-305.  

‘Intuition and Representation: Wölfflin’s Fundamental Concepts of Art History',  Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism, Vol. 33 (2), 2015: 164–171.  

‘The Idea of a Universal  Bildwissenschaft’,  Estetika: The European Journal of Aesthetics, Vol. 51 (2), 2014: 208–29.  

‘Depiction, Make Believe and Participatory Imagining’, in  The Secret Lives of Artworks: Exploring the Boundaries between Art and Life, ed. Caroline van Eck, Joris van Gastel and Elsje van Kessel, Leiden: Leiden University Press, 2014: 340-359  

‘The Contemporaneity of Lessing’s Aesthetics’, in  Lessing and the German Enlightenment, ed. Ritchie Robertson, Studies in Voltaire and the Eighteenth Century, 2013: 97-117  

‘Value Conflict and the Autonomy of Art’, in  Aesthetic and Artistic Autonomy, ed. Owen Hulatt, London and New York: Bloomsbury Academic, 2013: 65-88.  

‘Meaning and Interpretation: Dutch Painting of the Golden Age’, in Art and Visual Culture 1600–1850: Academy to Avant-Garde, ed. Emma Barker, London: Tate Publishing, 2012: 60-99.  

‘Participatory Imagining and the Explanation of Living-Presence Response’,  British Journal of Aesthetics, Vol. 51 (4), 2011: 363-381.  

‘Hegel’s Contested Legacy: Rethinking the Relation Between Art History and Philosophy’,  The Art Bulletin, Vol. 93 (2), 2011: 178-194.  

‘On Bildwissenschaft: Can there be a Universal “Science of Images”?’, in  The Aesthetic Dimension of Visual Culture, ed. Ondřej Dadejík and Jakub Stejskal, Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2010: 33-49.  

‘Heritage Values’, co-authored with Jorge Otero-Pailos and Susie West, in  Understanding Heritage in Practice, ed. Susie West, Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2010: 47-87.  

‘Dismantling the Frame: Site-Specific Art and Aesthetic Autonomy’,  British Journal of Aesthetics, Vol. 49 (1), 2009: 43-58.  

‘Incidental and Integral Beauty: Danto, Duchamp and the Avant-Garde’ in  Beauty, ed. Dave Beech, Cambridge Mass.: MIT Press, 2009: 119-125.  

Aesthetics and Painting, London and New York: Continuum Press, 2008.  

‘Catching up with History: Hegel and Abstract Painting’ in  Hegel: New Directions, ed. Katerina Deligiorgi, McGill-Queens University Press/Acumen, 2006: 159-176.  

‘Post-Conceptual Painting: Gerhard Richter’s Extended Leave-Taking’, in  Themes in Contemporary Art, ed. Gill Perry and Paul Wood, New Haven & London: Yale University Press, 2004: 89-135.  

‘Expressionism and the Crisis of Subjectivity’ and ‘Approaches to Cubism’, in  Art of the Avant-Gardes, ed. Steve Edwards and Paul Wood, New Haven & London: Yale University Press, 2004: 13-61 and 135-55.  

Frameworks for Modern Art,  New Haven & London: Yale University Press, 2003 (editor).  

‘Interpreting the Readymade: Marcel Duchamp’s Bottlerack’, in  Frameworks for Modern Art, ed. Jason Gaiger, New Haven & London: Yale University Press, 2003: 57-103.  

Art of the Twentieth Century: A Reader, New Haven & London: Yale University Press, 2003 (co-edited with Paul Wood).  

Johann Gottfried Herder’s  Sculpture: Some Observations on Shape and Form from Pygmalion’s Creative Dream, Chicago and London: The University of Chicago Press, 2002 (editor and translator).  

‘The Analysis of Pictorial Style’,  British Journal of Aesthetics, Vol. 42 (1), 2002: 20-36.  

‘The Aesthetics of Kant and Hegel’,  A Companion to Art Theory, ed. Paul Smith and Carolyn Wilde, Oxford: Blackwell, 2002: 127-138.  

Art in Theory 1648-1815, Oxford: Blackwell, 2000 (with Charles Harrison and Paul Wood).  

‘Art as Made and Sensuous: Hegel, Danto and the End of Art’, in  Bulletin of the Hegel Society of Great Britain, Vol. 41-42, 2000: 104-119.  

‘The True Judge of Beauty and the Paradox of Taste’,  European Journal of Philosophy, Vol. 8 (1), 2000: 1-19.  

‘Schiller’s Theory of Landscape Depiction’,  Journal of the History of Ideas, Vol. 61 (3), 2000: 115-132.  

‘Constraints and Conventions: Kant and Greenberg on Aesthetic Judgment’,  British Journal of Aesthetics, Vol. 39 (4), 1999: 376-391.  

‘Modernity in Germany: the Many Sides of Adolph Menzel, in  The Challenge of the Avant-Garde, ed. Paul Wood, New Haven & London: Yale University Press, 1999: 91-111.  

Art in Theory 1815-1900, Oxford: Blackwell, 1998 (with Charles Harrison and Paul Wood).  

‘Lebensphilosophie’,  Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy, general editor, Edward Craig, Routledge, 1998.