„Einfühlung” • Empathy • Empatía

What Is Empathy? A Definition: "The ability to understand another person’s circumstances, point of view, thoughts, and feelings. When experiencing empathy, you are able to understand someone else’s internal experiences" (Kristalyn Salters-Pedneault).

« How do I know that I know what I know – about you? This is clearly a question about epistemology, about knowledge. But it’s a special kind of knowledge, about others.
The ability to understand what another human being is thinking or feeling is most commonly known as empathy. The word empathy comes from the German [E]infühlung, which literally translates as “feeling into.” For thousands of years, empathy has attracted the attention of great thinkers in many fields of study » (Richard Lopez).

For isn't man is a tree of the field?
Cf. Deuteronomy 20:19 ; The Human Tree
Kim Graham, Man-Tree (Jotuntre), 2007

EMPATHY is the capacity of entering into, and so fully understanding (as if losing one's identity in) the spirit of a person, a work of art, etc. —Mariano Akerman

Mariano Akerman, Shape and Meaning: German Art, montage, 2010
“Not everything that can be counted counts and not everything that counts can be counted. [...] Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow. The important thing is not to stop questioning. [...] Two things awe me the most: the starry heavens above and the moral universe within.” —Albert Einstein.

Something in common

Awareness is not necessarily empathy: I was complaining because I had no shoes, until I saw somebody that had no feet. —Persian proverb

I am a man, nothing human is alien to me. —Terence
Kevin Christy, "You Remind Me of Me," NYT, 2008

"Most people are [...] strongly sensitive to rapport, to charm, to the social music in the person making the pitch" (Benedict Carey, You Remind Me of MeThe New York Times, 12.2.2008).

A cluster of illuminating definitions
• Daniel Batson: "A motivation oriented towards the other."
• D.M. Berger: "The capacity to put one's self in another's shoes."
• Jean Decety: "A sense of similarity in feelings experienced by the self and the other, without confusion between the two individuals."
• Nancy Eisenberg: "An affective response that stems from the apprehension or comprehension of another's emotional state or condition, and that is similar to what the other person is feeling or would be expected to feel."
• William Ickes: "A complex form of psychological inference in which observation, memory, knowledge, and reasoning are combined to yield insights into the thoughts and feelings of others."
• Heinz Kohut: "Empathy is the capacity to think and feel oneself into the inner life of another person."
• Carl Rogers: "To perceive the internal frame of reference of another with accuracy and with the emotional components and meanings which pertain thereto as if one were the person, but without ever losing the 'as if' condition. Thus, it means to sense the hurt or the pleasure of another as he senses it and to perceive the causes thereof as he perceives them, but without ever losing the recognition that it is as if I were hurt or pleased and so forth."
• Roy Schafer: "Empathy involves the inner experience of sharing in and comprehending the momentary psychological state of another person."
• Simon Baron-Cohen: "Empathy is about spontaneously and naturally tuning into the other person's thoughts and feelings, whatever these might be" (+).

Don Quijote y Sancho Panza sobre Clavileño el Alígero
Pintura de Manuel Monedero

La empatía (del griego antiguo εμπαθεια, formado εν, 'en el interior de', y πάθoς, 'sufrimiento, lo que se sufre'), también llamada inteligencia interpersonal (Howard Gardner: Teoría de las inteligencias múltiples) es la capacidad cognitiva de percibir la condición de otro individuo a partir de un sentimiento de participación emocional en la realidad que afecta a esa persona.

Anselm Kiefer, Shulamit, detalle, 1983

• "Siempre que alivies el dolor de otro ser humano, tu vida no será en vano"—Helen Keller.

• "El gran don de los seres humanos es el poder de la empatía"—Meryl Streep.

• "La empatía es la capacidad de pensar y sentir la vida interior de otra persona como si fuera la propia"—Heinz Kohut.

Mariano Akerman, Forma y Significado del Arte de Alemania, montaje, 2010

En otras palabras, empatía es ponerse en el lugar del otro pero teniendo presentes sus deseos, prejuicios, valores, motivaciones, recursos, habilidades, etc. Empatía implica comprender qué y cómo otra persona puede estar sintiendo en un momento dado, al considerar lo que ella tiene dentro de sí misma, e intentar sentirlo como propio. Para ello es necesario ser conscientes de todo lo que ha podido vivir una persona para llegar a sentir como siente, a actuar como actua, y a pensar como piensa (adaptado a partir de esta nota).

¿En su lugar no haría usted lo mismo?

Empatía es la capacidad de compenetrarse, de entender plenamente la naturaleza y condición de una persona (tal como si se fuese esa persona, pero sin llegar a perderse en ella). Lo mismo es aplicable a la obra de arte, cuando se la contempla y se comprende su razón de ser, colcándose el espectador en el lugar del autor, considerando el punto de vista del mismo y el contexto en el que la obra en cuestión ha sido realizada. Es entonces cuando se da la empatía. —Mariano Akerman

Vincent van Gogh, Casas en Auvers-sur-Oise, 1890

Käthe Kollwitz, Madre con mellizos, bronce, 1927-37

Wassily Kandinsky, Composición IV, 1911

René Magritte, El sabor de las lágrimas, 1948

Barbra Kruger, Pensando en ti, c. 1980

Francis Bacon, Autorretrato, 1973

Max Baur, Querubín, Stadtschloß de Potsdam, 1928-44
Deutches Bundesarchiv Bild 170-272

Paul Klee, Insula dulcamara | Isla agridulce, 1938

Mariano Akerman, L'essentiel est invisible, 2006

Akerman, De la importancia de lo auténtico, 1988

Akerman, Templo de Inclusión, 1987-88

¿No es acaso el hombre un árbol del campo?
Kim Graham, Árbol-Hombre (Jotuntre), 2007

The Swiss-German Project
Creadores suizos y alemanes modernos


Hans Hartung

Born in Leipzig, into an artistic family. He studied the work of painters such as Corinth and Nolde, and also learned the basis of French modern art. He studied in the Fine Arts Academies of Dresden and Munich. To prevent succumbing to provincialism, he left in 1927 his native country, and after a bicycle trip through Europe, he moved to Paris.
He lived with Anna-Eva Bergmann and established himself in the French town of Leucate and then in the Balearic Island of Minorca. His first exhibition was held in 1931 in Dresden and his last bonds with Germany were broken as he was rejected from Nazi Germany on account of being a "degenerate" whose work was influenced by that of Wassily Kandinsky. In 1935 when Hartung attempted to sell paintings while visiting Berlin, the police tried to arrest him. He was able to flee the country with the help of his friend Christian Zervos.
After returning to Paris in 1935 as a refugee his wife left him, causing him to become depressive. His friends tried to help him with his financial difficulties, but his paintings were becoming more abstract and did not sell well.
In December 1939, he became a member of the French Foreign Legion. He was closely followed by the Gestapo and arrested for seven months by the French police. After they learned he was a painter, he was put in a red cell in order to wear off his vision. After being released, Hartung rejoined the Legion to fight in North Africa. He earned French citizenship in 1945 and was also awarded the Croix de Guerre.
His work during this period is characterised by suspended areas of colour superimposed by calligraphic bunches of lines. Involving swirling and energetic linear motifs, Hartung’s mature style found an eager public after the war. A successful showing of his work in Paris (1947) was followed by exhibits elsewhere in Europe and in the United States, Japan, and Latin America. In 1960 he was awarded the Grand Prix of the Venice Biennale and an entire room of the French Pavilion was devoted to his work. Hartung had a decisive influence on the postwar generation of abstract painters in Europe. His later works became progressively calmer and more stable. Many of his works are titled by letters and numbers.



Hartung: "In my opinion the painting which is called abstract is none of the "isms" of which there have been so many lately, it is neither a "style" nor an "epoch" in art history, but merely a new means of expression, a different human language - one which is more direct than that of earlier painting" (Art Directory).

Hartung: "Before the blank canvas I feel the need to make a certain spot, a certain color, or a mark. The first marks lead to others. Colors lead to signs which in turn suggest marks whose roles might be to support or to contradict what already exists as much as to stabilize the painting. In any case, I act at first with complete liberty. It is the work, as it goes along, that limits my choices."

L158, 1968

Pintor alemán nacionalizado francés, conocido por sus obras abstractas de trazos caligráficos negros sobre fondo de colores. Nació en Leipzig en el seno de una familia de físicos. Su abuelo era también pintor autodidacta y compositor. Entre 1915 y 1926 estudió lenguas clásicas en el Dresden Gymnasium y filosofía e historia del arte en la universidad y en la Escuela de Bellas Artes de Leipzig. Más adelante ingresó en la Academia de Bellas Artes de Dresde. Durante el verano de 1926 viajó en bicicleta por Francia, Italia y España. En 1931 expuso por primera vez en Dresde. En 1937, en una exposición colectiva en el Jeu de Paume, París, conoció al gran escultor español Julio González, que habría de ejercer una profunda influencia en él. González le brindó todo tipo de ayuda y le animó a emprender su propio camino artístico. Durante el periodo prebélico Hartung se instaló en París para evitar el régimen nazi, y expuso en varias galerías. En 1938 participó en una exposición anti-nazi en la Galería New Burlington de Londres. En 1939, fue encarcelado en España y posteriormente se alistó en la Legión extranjera en el norte de África. En 1944 fue gravemente herido durante el sitio de Belfort y perdió una pierna. Después de la guerra se nacionalizó francés y en 1947 hizo una exposición individual importante en París. Desde el principio se mantuvo alejado del movimiento de la Bauhaus, al que consideraba como una mera moda pasajera. Sus pinturas, puramente abstractas, reflejan su opinión sobre la representación de la realidad: la expresión libre y pura debe trascender la realidad. La pincelada rápida constituyó una característica básica de su método de trabajo. La velocidad en el proceso creativo era, según sus propias palabras, "una necesidad espiritual". Recibió varios premios, entre los que se incluyen el Premio Guggenheim en 1956 y en 1960 el Gran Premio Internacional de la Bienal de Venecia (M.E.).

Pintores de Alemania
Creadores suizos y alemanes modernos


The Human Body in Modern Art

Egon Schiele, Male Nude (Männlicher Akt), 1910
watercolor and charcoal on paper

Marcel Duchamp, Nu descendant un escalier n° 2, 1912
Nude descending a Staircase #2
oil on canvas, 147 × 89.2 cm
Philadelphia Museum of Art

Pablo Picasso, Nude by the Sea, 1929

André Kertész, Distortion, photograph, Paris, 1933

Salvador Dali, Autumnal cannibalism, oil, 1936. Tate Gallery, London

Hans Bellmer, Doll, 1936
Painted aluminum on bronze base, 66 x 25.4 x 27.9 cm.
Zwirner & Wirth, New York

Jean Dubuffet, Will to Power, 1947

Alberto Giacometti, L’Homme qui marche II, bronze, 1960
Fondation Maegth, Saint-Paul de Vence
Walking Man | Man Striding

Henry Moore, Working Model for Reclining Figure: Festival, 1950

Louise Bourgeois, Janus fleuri, 1968
Bronze and golden patina, 25.7 x 31.8 x 21.3 cm

Francis Bacon, Seated Figure, 1989
Oil on canvas
The Estate of Francis Bacon, London

Fases de lo Grotesco
La imagen grotesca del cuerpo