Tobias Teutenberg

Psyche’s Horses, or: Prolegomena to a Historical Perceptology

Art historian Tobias Teutenberg is inviting us to mutually think about the new meta-discipline of historical perceptology. He made use of his fellowship at Schloss Wiepersdorf to more precisely map out this field of knowledge as well as frame the ideas, aspirations, and the objectives of the subject of his research. In his essay he states that historical perceptology’s distinguishing feature is the analysis of the conditions and changes in the perception of individuals or large groups, especially in consideration of the artistic, scientific, political, social, and moral ramifications of conventional perception. The essay addresses the history-of-ideas fundamentals of this meta-discipline in the European intellectual history of the early modern period while defining possible fields of application and determining practicable methods. Most importantly it inquires into the current relevance of historical perceptology and how it contributes to a better understanding of perception regimes at present.

Rembrandt’s Star

Whoever chances upon Hans Kauffmann’s dissertation, former professor of art history in Cologne and Berlin, should take a moment for this charming little book on Rembrandts Bildgestaltung (Rembrandt’s pictorial representation), published in 1922. Not for the worthwhile knowledge it still can impart after almost 100 years on probably the most-discussed artist in art history. And also not in hope of any overwhelming bibliophilic thrills, as Kauffmann’s spartanly published qualifying thesis is hardly eligible for such purposes. Rather, the attractions of the publication lie in the strategy Kauffmann adopted to probe and examine his study object, a strategy that strikes us today as rather bizarre. Just a cursory glance at the contents of the volume suffices to give us this impression. It lists, for instance, passages on Rembrandt’s Strahlung (radiant energy), his Strahlenornament (radiant ornament), even his Strahlenmagie (radiant magic). Those who yield to their inquisitiveness and carefully turn the first foxed pages will realize what they have before them is only to a lesser degree a piece of scholarly literature that has been passed down to us and much rather a time capsule filled to the brim with information about an unfamiliar and surprising observation technique. In fact the book actually illustrates in an exemplary way a visual technique in art history that was extremely important around 1900 and has, however, fallen into oblivion in the meantime. It was employed to find answers—in Hans Kauffmann's case—to explain the indescribable intensity found without fail in Rembrandt’s paintings and prints:

“As Goethe viewed the Earth as breathing in diastole and systole, Rembrandt’s imagination saw a radiant system of movement in bodies that was centrally propelled by attraction and repulsion. His compositions articulate this polarity in visual terms, using lines to give shape to the trajectories of centrifugal forces (or radii vectors). This linear radial structure became his stylistic ornament.”[1]

In the basic motif of a star, a core of energy radiating in all directions in pictorial space, Kauffmann recognized a recurring compositional principle specific to this old master, who elaborated on this conception over a period of four decades and presented it in varied forms after first introducing it in his early works of art. This design structure was especially effective in Rembrandt’s representations of artfully crafted objects such as the bonnet worn by Margarete van Bilderbeecq (fig. 1). Later Rembrandt began employing it to organize still life compositions and, in doing so, realized the momentous “synthesis of the ornament and the organism of the three-dimensional world” for his art in future.[2] According to Kauffmann, from this moment star and rosette shapes pervaded all the elements of Rembrandt’s pictures. They determined with growing clarity the organization of the architecture, lighting, and three-dimensional space, and the artist even arranged the human body in keeping with this center-focused, basic geometric structure.

The portrait of the preacher Jan Cornelisz Sylvius is the first example for translating this motif on a compositional scale (fig. 2). The impression of “the magical dignity of the theologian” is based on a star-shaped composition in the print.[3] Kauffmann was able to identify this because of his ability to perceive in an abstract way. The dominating structure has the shape of a palmette, taking root at the front edge of the table and growing out of the sitter’s lap, permeating his entire appearance: the bordering of his coat, draping downward, just as his trim and upright torso, his right lower arm through to the fingertips, and the drooping folds of his left sleeve before it is rounded off by the table and the heavy tome in a fan-like structure encompassing 180 degrees.

What this kind of pictorial organization tells us about the person Rembrandt is the topic of the conclusion of Kauffmann’s dissertation. In contrast to the mathematical triangle based on reason as adopted by the Renaissance masters of Italy, Rembrandt’s radial structure is indebted to his ingenious power of observation. The artist’s particularly fine sensory apparatus, gifted by nature, helped him analyze his baroque environment and recognize in it the star and rosette shape as the omnipresent basic forms. The artistic universal principle of the baroque, setting humankind on par with the sun and making it the focal point of its environment, is not only omnipresent in the ornament of the arts and crafts in the seventeenth century but also in the architecture, gardens, and cities of the period. Rembrandt was, however, the first artist to also adopt this basic absolutistic form for representations of the human figure and thus created truly baroque individuals in his portraits, totally in character with the spirit of the times. Contrary to the still commonly accepted idea in research that Rembrandt was an outsider in the epoch he lived in, in Kauffmann’s eyes the artist reveals that he is indeed a contemporary of the baroque period in taking recourse to this structural motif, a personage who not only shared the same view of the world but had in fact completely internalized it.

The same can be said of Kauffmann, the reason being that it was widespread in perceptual practices in nineteenth- and twentieth-century art history in Germany and beyond to ascribe mathematical basics and proportions in visual terms to paintings and architectural monuments.[4] Related disciplines based on observation in the humanities and the natural sciences also put this visual technique to use, and not least also the avant-garde and its leaning toward abstraction embraced this formalistic view of the world. One hundred years later the significance of such a visual system seems rather odd. As individuals living in the twenty-first century we are governed by different perceptual codes, which no longer have much in common with perceptual customs of the past. But it would be a grave mistake to forget the latter. As historical phenomena they must be attributed to determinable causes and effects that demand description. It is only by complying with such procedures that we can be conscious of the fact that our senses, in this day and age, are dependent on other factors. The goal of historical perceptology is to awaken and heighten awareness about this.

The Beginnings

Goethe’s often-cited aphorism stating that “all truly wise things have been thought already” again proves to be utterly appropriate in view of the history of ideas of historical perceptology. Its beginnings likewise date back to the past, to late in the Age of Enlightenment, to Johann Gottlieb Herder’s essay Vom Erkennen und Empfinden der menschlichen Seele (1778, On the Cognition and Sensation of the Human Soul). There Herder defines every form of perception as an aesthetic practice. He ascribes to the soul the productive power of creating ideas of reality by processes of the imagination that meld the sensations of all the senses. The idiosyncratic character of this process is undeniable, as he states:

“[That] two human beings be identical in kind and strength, depth and extent, is shown by many examples. Sight and hearing, which provide the most material for thought, seldom exist in the same degree of development and natural strength in a human being (...) hence the two steeds that pull first on the soul’s car are unequal.”[5]

Herder’s theory refers to what constitutes phantastische Gesichtserscheinungen (fantastic apparitions of vision).[6] This truly romantic discourse in fact continued throughout the entire nineteenth century, and it was in this context that Jean Paul, for example, put forward the radical and provocative notion of a subjective force peculiar to the senses that ultimately is autopoietically constitutive of how we perceive the world.[7] Thus both Herder and Jean Paul agreed on how the human sensorium processes available data—recognizing not an anthropological, constant process but one that is influenced by variable forces and must inevitably produce different results from individual to individual, group to group, or nation to nation. Building on this premise in his essay, it was Herder who first inquired into the historicity of perception and at the same time introduced a comparative research perspective:

“If one could pursue this difference in the contribution of different senses through lands, times, and peoples, the matter would inevitably become an infinity. [One would ask,] for example, what the cause is of the fact that Frenchmen and Italians in music, Italians and Dutchmen in painting, understand something so different? For obviously at this parting of ways the arts get sensed by [different] nations with different mental senses, perfected with different mental senses.”[8]

The first attempts at realizing a historical perceptology, however, were not made until early in the twentieth century.[9] Then, totally in keeping with Herder, an important indicator for different modes of perception was identified, especially in art. In Vienna, Alois Riegl, in Spätrömische Kunstindustrie (Late Roman Art Industry, 1901) linked stylistic developments in the art and architecture of late antiquity to a growing capacity of the people of those times to perceive three-dimensional space.[10] Erwin Panofsky published his essay Die Perspektive als symbolische Form (Perspective as Symbolic Form) in Hamburg in 1927. The text argues that antiquity, the Middle Ages, and the Renaissance each fostered different spatial concepts that correlated with prevailing world views and, in particular, contemporary notions about the character of visual images.[11] And in 1915 Heinrich Wölfflin’s Kunstgeschichtliche Grundbegriffe (Principles of Art History) was published in Munich, premising that the “forms of representation” in art refer to contemporaneous “forms of beholding” and that the primary task of style analyses in art history was to envisage “a history of the development of occidental seeing.”[12] For all these studies, the insights of nineteenth-century psychophysiology were imperative—in particular the research of Hermann von Helmholtz.[13] He emphasized how experience influenced perception, thus giving impetus to speculations on the historicity of the senses.

All the early historians of perception faced the same problem, however: they had no methods at their disposal that were meaningfully appropriate for research in their field. In this vein and with good reason, Walter Benjamin, in his essay “Das Kunstwerk im Zeitalter seiner technischen Reproduzierbarkeit” (“The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction”, 2nd version, 1935/36), noted that “during long periods of history, the mode of human sense perception changes with humanity’s entire mode of existence,” that research has to the present day only succeeded in uncovering the “formal hallmark” of such developments. He went on to say that his contemporaries still did not see this, that people at the time “did not attempt—and, perhaps, saw no way—to show the social transformations expressed by these changes of perception.”[14]

Initially sociohistorical approaches supplied a remedy. For example, Ernst Gombrich In Art and Illusion advocated the idea that academic art instruction—as the institutional continuous progression of perfection in the visual and painting methods of illusionism—was highly influential in conditioning the perception of artists and beholders.[15] He hence initiated a praxeological turn in perception research, which in its course was to influence Michael Baxandall in particular. Baxandall presented the first monograph of the sociology of seeing in Painting and Experience in Fifteenth Century Italy.[16] The point of departure therein is a critical reflection on individual perception and its deficits, especially in viewing paintings of the quattrocento. The appropriate reception of such works—as conjectured by Baxandall—can only ensue if the beholders, prior to viewing, study the perceptual conventions of the fifteenth century. He explains this as being caused by culture-specific factors, such as the skills learned during training and practiced daily in drawing, calculating, measuring, approximating, calibrating and dancing, all predisposing one to how one sees and therefore playing a role in the creation of artworks as well as in viewing and judging images.

How progressive this approach was at the time becomes apparent if compared to competing positions, as in the case of Marx W. Wartofsky.[17] Owing to argumentative shortcomings, he inadvertently triggered off a fundamental debate on whether the history of perception was in itself legitimate.[18] In the year that Painting and Experience was first published, Wartofsky still adhered to the erroneous conjecture, enduring since Riegl, that advocated that the sense of sight had evolved with recourse to the optimization of artistic methods used in designing visual space until the early modern period, when, with the advent of systems for creating the illusion of depth in pictures, the perceptual conventions (!) of perspectival vision took over.

At first Baxandall’s method had only moderate success, however.[19] Pierre Bourdieu translated the “Period Eye” chapter into the French and wrote a foreword together with Yvette Desault on the sociology of perception. And anthropologist Clifford Geertz, in his essay “Art as a Cultural System,” was able to relate to the angle adopted by Baxandall.[20] But the reaction in art history was reserved. Gombrich for his part understood Baxandall’s period eye to be just another rehash of Hegel’s totalizing zeitgeist concept. And, more recently, likewise sociohistorically minded colleagues like Timothy James Clark criticized the superficial nature of Baxandall’s portrayal of quattrocento social structure. After Baxandall, it was not until Svetlana Alpers that the historical conditions of seeing and representation were addressed again. She investigated them in seventeenth-century Netherlandish painting and under the hegemony of an anti-narrative mode of representation, linking this to the inquisitiveness of the times toward the empirical, material world of objects.[21]

The historicity of perception was no longer purely a matter of opinion subsequent to Baxandall’s and Alper’s efforts with the “living subjects of history.”[22] But they still could not fulfill the desideratum voiced by Riegl and Wölfflin of a history of how perception developed over time. After all, their notions of visual culture in Italy or the Netherlands do not have the appearance of something that was the product of growth, transformation and transience but indicate rather a crystalline and timeless presence. Martin Jay, in his essay “Scopic Regimes of Modernity”, finally confronted this model with an alternative approach.[23] He no longer assumes that perception cultures are unified and regularly organized structures free of contradiction. Instead he argues that they are complex conglomerates of simultaneously existing, long- or short-term perceptual practices that intersect and blend, that in extreme cases also may be at war with and destroy one another.

Histories of Tasting, Smelling, Touching and Listening

Following the debate on the historicity of seeing, from the 1980s on avisual sensory perception too came into focus in study in cultural history, social history, ethnology, anthropology, and art history. Already the paleontologist Moritz Hoernes asserted that the “lower senses”[24] were also shaped by conventions at the close of the nineteenth century:

“That the taste we have for certain material items of indulgence is not the cause but the effect of the habits of consumption […]. We do not use salt for the reason of its strong seasoning, sugar for its sweetness, and flowers for their aromatic scents. Instead it is first subsequent to their usage in human households that we find the taste or scent they have as pleasant. The sensory organs, to which we wrongly ascribe a leading role, are originally indifferent.”[25]

Valuable approaches for research at the end of the twentieth century were offered by thinkers, influenced by Foucault, on the discursiveness of the body.[26] Or the proposition brought forward by Pierre Bourdieu in which every mode of perception that we take for granted in actual fact represents just one of many possible acquired modes, regardless of whether consciously or subconsciously acquired, whether institutionalized or not.[27]

Alain Corbin, for example, made a first attempt at writing a history of the sense of smell in his controversially discussed work Le miasme et la jonquille.[28] He investigated, in eighteenth- and nineteenth-century Paris, the systematic education of the valuable analytical olfactory faculty, which had hitherto been considered hardly worthy of notice. Corbin presents, in his study, how religion, philosophy, science, and technology impacted the meaning and significance of smells in the context of the burgeoning discourse on hygiene at the time. He claimed that the diverse public health measures in deodorizing the city were accompanied by a decline in the sense of smell in modern times. This was then challenged by Annick le Guérer who argued that this episode in olfactory history would have not have left noses less sensitive but instead much more so, especially in regard to disgusting body odors.[29] Independent of their antagonistic results, both studies present important examples of historical perceptology research. The two studies consolidate how an epoch-specific sensitivity can arise that permits historical investigation—from the interplay between transformations in sensory input and temporally dependent sensory education measures.

Comparable attempts have been undertaken for the sense of touch.[30] Sensory biology suggests that touch also does not represent an anthropologically constant capacity but is linked to environmental and cultural factors.[31] Touching obeys normative patterns of behavior that regulate when it is allowable or taboo. Determining what correspondingly governs such behavior is as much part of historical perceptology as is obtaining a solid grounding in the respective historical-discourse backgrounds.

An important issue is to what extent did disciplining the hand play a role in establishing historical gender orders. The senses of distance such as sight and hearing are traditionally masculine domains while the proximate senses of touch, taste, and smell have feminine overtones. This contributed to women facing great difficulties if wishing to pursue the higher arts of painting and architecture, allowing them claim to aesthetic accomplishments only in the domestic handicrafts. Comparable to this situation are the ideological prejudices of class and race, viewing the underprivileged strata of society as well as non-European cultures as relying to a much greater extent on their lower senses.[32] An area demanding research, on the other hand, is institutional coding or habituation of touch in the establishment of the first schools for the blind during the Enlightenment in Paris (1784), Liverpool (1791), and Vienna (1804).[33] An additional topic to be scrutinized is the ensuing psychological and art-educational debates on teaching blind persons around 1900.[34]

Many diverse and appropriate examples in auditory history can be also added to the list. It comes as no surprise really that the decades of the fin de siècle set the time frame for numerous studies; it was no coincidence that also Riegl and Wölfflin evolved their ideas in this period. For the generation to which Walter Benjamin and Paul Valéry belonged, as is well-known, reflected on the significant changes in the world and how it was perceived in the industrial age and urbanization.[35] In this context it is well worth mentioning Georg Simmel’s theories about urban life (1903), describing cities as the source of the overexcitement, nervous intensity, and inurement characterizing modern individuals.[36] On top of this, psychophysiological knowledge about the functions of ears grew considerably in the nineteenth century. Numerous studies have been carried out on metropolitan soundscapes since the 1990s.[37] For example, Peter Payer only very recently called attention to the transformations of urban background and ambient noise in the example of Vienna, how these changes were perceived and evaluated, and what effects they had on planning public space as well as their impact on the sensorium of the modern subject.[38] Marshall McLuhan and Walter Ong, on the other hand, have distinguished themselves as pioneers in the field of auditory history.[39] Especially McLuhan’s thesis of the “kaleidoscope of the senses” made a huge impact, arguing that the significance of the various senses for humankind has evolved over the course of history, contingent on the communications media common to the respective times.[40] Accordingly, the invention of writing and, above all, printing, has led to the growing importance of the word and visual perception to the detriment of oral communication and therefore auditory communication. This idea found fertile ground especially in anthropology. Swept on the tide of the sensual turn that was proclaimed in the 1990s, Cheryl Olkes, Paul Stoller, and David Howes attempted to reconstruct and compare the correlation between sensory experience and cultural order in non-European cultures.[41]


The above-mentioned set of important pioneers, sources, and methods of perceptual history illustrates how diverse models already exist, laying the foundations for a possible orientation in pursuing historical perceptology today. In general it seems worthwhile to focus on sources that unearth not only the causes but also the effects of conventional perception—not least as a criterion for distinguishing this project from comparable ones, such as Sensory Studies.[42] Such a modus operandi would be entirely in keeping with Norbert Elias’s key thesis, who put forward that the socialization of the subject by means of social norms can only be declared successful if disciplinary measures, originally externally imposed to control urges and emotions, are internalized to a degree that individuals or groups themselves accept the responsibility for them.[43]

However, the question of the current relevance of the metadiscipline being discussed here is much more important than defining the limits of its scope. To what degree can historical perceptology make current perceptual regimes visible, comprehensible, and subject to criticism? As far as this problem is concerned, Gert Mattenklott pointed out already in the early 1980s a subject area of lasting controversy when he addressed the daily consequences of sensory professionalization as determined by the working world:

“Because the raging hunger for images of rampant television has been awakened in bodies that have had to maintain distance toward what they see throughout a long day at work. There they faced the multifarious see-that-you-do achievements of abstraction, the controlling eyes of ‘look at what you are doing.’  What counted was to get the general picture, even keep your eyes peeled. That is, viewing for a specific purpose, one that is certain from the start and determines what one is permitted to watch.”[44]

This idea is still appealing almost forty years later, although in the meantime the disciplined eye primarily seeks compensation for its privations on the internet or in video games. This is because virtual spaces have meanwhile become a part of daily life. They are becoming increasingly complex too, constantly demanding of the subject new visual and tactile competencies. Indeed, it is a sign of the times that still receives too little attention—that sensory discipline no longer represents a practice that is relevant exclusively to the human body: Google’s greed for image reservoirs is linked to work in AI projects and based on insatiate iconophage algorithms endowed with cognitive abilities for recognition, linking, and categorization, in continuation of the process of automated seeing. Paul Virilio described its beginnings in reference to the smart bombs of the First Golf War.[45]

Therefore there are many good reasons for investing time in the collective consideration of concepts, fields of research, and, not least, the future prospects of a historical perceptology. Should this essay excite impulses in this direction, it will not have failed in its goal.

Tobias Teutenberg

Translated by Christina Oberstebrink


[1] Hans Kauffmann, Rembrandts Bildgestaltung: Ein Beitrag zur Analyse seines Stils (Stuttgart: Kohlhammer, 1922), 5, original italics.

[2] Kauffmann, Rembrandts Bildgestaltung, 1922, 11

[3] Kauffmann, Rembrandts Bildgestaltung, 1922, 32.

[4] On this topic see Tobias Teutenberg, Die Unterweisung des Blicks: Visuelle Erziehung und visuelle Kultur im langen 19. Jahrhundert (PhD thesis) (Bielefeld: Transcript, 2019).

[5] Johann Gottfried Herder, “On the Cognition and Sensation of the Human Soul (1778),” Philosophical Writings, trans. Michael N. Forster (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2002), 203–204.

[6] On this topic see Helmut Pfotenhauer and Sabine Schneider, Nicht völlig Wachen und nicht ganz ein Traum: Die Halbschlafbilder in der Literatur (Würzburg: Königshausen & Neumann, 2006).

[7] Jean Paul, “Blicke in die Traumwelt (1814),” Jean Paul’s sämtliche Werke, vol. 10.4 (Reimer: Berlin 1827), 172–210.

[8] Herder, “On the Cognition and Sensation of the Human Soul,” 203.

[9] It should also not be forgotten that in the mid-nineteenth century Karl Marx too, in conjunction with his early writings, did think about possibly writing a historiography of the senses and their development, but he did not pursue this idea further. See Karl Marx, “The Economic and Philosophic Manuscripts of 1844,” in Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, The Economic and Philosophic Manuscripts and the Communist Manifesto, trans. Martin Milligan (Amherst, NY: Prometheus Books, 1961), 106ff.

[10] Alois Riegl, Late Roman Art Industry, trans. Rolf Winkes (Rome: G. Bretschneider, 1985).

[11] Erwin Panofsky, Perspective as Symbolic Form, trans. Christopher Wood (New York: Zone Books, 1997). First published 1927.

[12] Heinrich Wölfflin, The Principles of Art History: The Problem of the Development of Style in Later Art, (New York: Dover, 1950), 12, 16. First published in 1915.

[13] Hermann von Helmholtz, Treatise on Physiological Optics (1867), ed. Nicholas Wade, trans. James P. C. Southall (Garden City, NY: Dover Publications, 1962).

[14] Walter Benjamin, “The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction,” trans. Harry Zohn, in Illuminations, ed. Hannah Arendt (New York: Schocken Books, 1969 [1935]), 5 (both quotes), italics from the German publication.

[15] Ernst H. Gombrich, Art and Illusion: A Study in the Psychology of Pictorial Representation, 6th edition (New York: Phaidon Press, 2004). First published in English in 1960.

[16] Michael Baxandall, Painting and Experience in Fifteenth Century Italy: A Primer in the Social History of Pictorial Style (1972), 2nd edition (Oxford et al.: Oxford University Press, 1988).

[17] Marx W. Wartofsky, “Pictures, Representation, and the Understanding,” in Logic and Art: Essays in Honor of Nelson Goodman, eds. Richard Rudner and Israel Scheffler (Indianapolis: Bobbs Merrill, 1972), 150–62.

[18] William J. T. Mitchell, “What is Visual Culture?” (1993), in Meaning in the Visual Arts: Views from the Outside, A Centennial Commemoration of Erwin Panofsky (1892–1968), ed. Irving Lavin (Princeton, NJ: Princeton Institute for Advanced Study): 207–217; Arthur C. Danto, “Seeing and Showing,” The Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 59 (2001): 1–9; Gottfried Boehm, “Sehen: Hermeneutische Reflexionen” (1992), in Boehm, Die Sichtbarkeit der Zeit: Studien zum Bild der Moderne, ed. Ralph Ubl (Munich: Wilhelm Fink Verlag, 2017), 201–217; Whitney Davis, A General Theory of Visual Culture (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2010), 11–42; Hans Belting, Bild-Anthropologie: Entwürfe für eine Bildwissenschaft (2001), 3rd edition (Munich: W. Fink, 2006), 19–22; Gottfried Boehm, “Hat das Sehen eine Geschichte?,” in Werk und Diskurs, Karlheinz Stierle zum 60. Geburtstag, ed. Dieter Ingenschay and Helmut Pfeiffer (Munich: Wilhelm Fink Verlag, 1999), 179–188.

[19] See Allan Langdale, “Aspects of the Critical Reception and Intellectual History of Baxandall’s Concept of the Period Eye,” Art History 21.4 (1998): 479–497.

[20] Michael Baxandall, “L’œil du quattrocento,” trans. Pierre Bourdieu and Yvette Desault, Actes de la recherche en sciences soziales 4 (1981): 10–49; Clifford Geertz, “Art as a Cultural System,” Comparative Literature 91.6 (1976), 1473–1499.

[21] Svetlana Alpers, The Art of Describing: Dutch Art in the Seventeenth Century (Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1983.

[22] Wolfgang Kemp, “Augengeschichte und skopische Regime: Alois Riegls Schrift ‘Das Holländische Gruppenporträt’,” Merkur 45.12 (1991): 1162–1167, 1162.

[23] Martin Jay, “Scopic Regimes of Modernity,” in Vision and Visuality, Discussions in Contemporary Culture 2, ed. Hal Foster (Seattle: Bay Press, 1988) 3–29; Martin Jay, “Scopic Regimes of Modernity Revisited,” in Visual Cultures: Transatlantic Perspectives, eds. Volker Depkat and Maike Zwingenberger (Heidelberg: Universitätsverlag Winter GmbH Heidelberg, 2012), 17–31.

[24] On the hierarchies of the senses see Robert Jütte, Geschichte der Sinne: Von der Antike bis zum Cyberspace (Munich: C. H. Beck, 2000); Martin Jay, Downcast Eyes: The Denigration of Vision in Twentieth-Century French Thought (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1993); David M. Levin ed., Modernity and the Hegemony of Vision (Berkeley: University of California Presset. al, 1993); Jürgen Manthey, Wenn Blicke zeugen könnten: Eine psychohistorische Studie über das Sehen in Literatur und Philosophie (Munich et. al: Hanser, 1983); Hans Jonas, “The Nobility of Sight: A Study in the Phenomenology of the Senses,” Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 14.4 (1954): 507–519.

[25] Moritz Hoernes, Urgeschichte der bildenden Kunst: Von den Anfängen bis um 500 v. Chr. (Vienna: A. Schroll & Co., 1898), 12. On the history of taste see Nikola Langreiter, “Auf den Geschmack gekommen: Geschmackserinnerungen in Lebensgeschichte,” in Sinne und Erfahrung in der Geschichte, eds. Wolfram Aichinger, Franz X. Eder, and Leitner, Claudia (Innsbruck et al.: Studien Verlag, 2003), 135–154. Jütte, Geschichte der Sinne, 2000; David Howes, “Présentation: Les sensation discrètes de la bourgeoisie,” Anthropologie et Sociétés 14.2 (1990): 5–12.

[26] On this topic see Philipp Sarasin, Reizbare Maschinen: Eine Geschichte des Körpers, 17651914 (Frankfurt a. M.: Surhkamp, 2001), 11–16; Michel Foucault, The Birth of the Clinic: An Archaeology of Medical Perception, trans. A. M. Sheridan (Oxford et al.: Routledge, Taylor & Francis Group, 2003). First published in French in 1963; Michel Foucault, Discipline and Punish: The Birth of the Prison, trans. Alan Sheridan (New York: Vintage Books, 1995). First published in French in 1975.

[27] Pierre Bourdieu, “Outline of a Sociological Theory of Art Perception,” in Pierre Bourdieu, The Field of Cultural Production: Essays on Art and Literature (Cambridge et al.: Polity Press, 2004), 215–237.

[28] Alain Corbin, The Foul and the Fragrant: Odor and the French Social Imagination (Harvard: Harvard University Press, 1986). First published in French in 1982. On the reception of this work see Peter A. Heuser, “Der Geruch als Gegenstandhistorischen Lernens: Beispiele vom 16. Jahrhundert bis zur Gegenwart,” in Geschichte für Augen Ohren und Nasen: Sinnliche Wahrnehmungen in der Geschichte, eds. Bärbel Kühn and Astrid Windus (St. Ingbert: Röhrig Universitätsverlag, 2016), 61–67.

[29] Annick Le Guérer, “Le décline d l‘olfactif, mythe ou réalité?,” Anthropologie et sociétés 14.2 (1990): 25–44.

[30] For example Anne Vincent-Buffault, Histoire sensible du toucher (Paris: La Harmattan, 2017); Joe Moshenska, Feeling Pleasures: The Sense of Touch in Renaissance England, (Oxford et al.: Oxford University Press, 2014; Natalie Binczek, Kontakt: Der Tastsinn in Texten der Aufklärung (Tübingen: Max Niemeyer Verlag, 2007); Elizabeth D. Harvey, Sensible Flesh: On Touch in Early Modern Culture (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2003).

[31] Friedrich G. Barth, Vom Sinn der Sinne: Sinnesorgane zwischen Umwelt und Verhalten (Stuttgart: Steiner Verlag, 1989).

[32] On this topic see the chapters by Classen and Leitner in Sinne und Erfahrung in der Geschichte, eds. Wolfram Aichinger, Franz X. Eder, and Claudia Leitner (Innsbruck et al.: Studien Verlag, 2003) 75–90 and 111–134.

[33] Yvonne Eriksson, Tactile Pictures: Pictorial Representations for the Blind 17841940 (Göteborg: Acta Universitatis Gothoburgensis, 1998).

[34] See, for example, Géza Révész, Die Formenwelt des Tastsinns, 2 vols. (Den Haag: Haag Nijhoff, 1938); Ludwig Münz u. Viktor Löwenfeld, Plastische Arbeiten Blinder (Brünn: xxxx, 1934); David Katz, The World of Touch (Hillsdale, NJ: L. Erlbaum Associates, 1989); Karl Bürklen, Blinden-Psychologie (Leipzig: Rudolf M. Rohrer, 1924); Walter Matz, “Zeichen- und Modellierversuch an Volksschülern, Hilfsschülern, Taubstummen und Blinden,” Zeitschrift für angewandte Psychologie und psychologische Sammelforschung 10 (1915): 63–169; Burde, “Die Plastik des Blinden,” Zeitschrift für angewandte Psychologie und psychologische Sammelforschung, 4 (1911): 106–128; W. Uhthoff, Untersuchungen über das Sehenlernen eines siebenjährigen blindgeborenen und mit Erfolg operierten Knaben (Hamburg: Voss, 1891).

[35] On this topic in general see Michael J. Cowan, Cult of the Will: Nervousness and German Modernity (University Park: Penn State University Press, 2008); Wolfgang Schivelbusch, Geschichte der Eisenbahnreise: Zur Industrialisierung von Raum und Zeit im 19. Jahrhundert (1977), 3rd edition (Frankfurt a. M.: Suhrkamp, 2004); Heinz Brüggemann, Architekturen des Augenblicks: Raum-Bilder und Bild-Räume einer urbanen Moderne in Literatur, Kunst und Architektur des 20. Jahrhunderts (Hanover: Offizin Verlag, 2002; Stephen Kern, The Culture of Time and Space: 18801918 (1983), 2nd ed. (Cambridge et. al.: Harvard University Press, 2002); Christoph Asendorf, Batterien der Lebenskraft: Zur Geschichte der Dinge und ihrer Wahrnehmung im 19. Jahrhundert (1984), 2nd ed. (Weimar: VDG Weimar, 2002); Joachim Radkau, Das Zeitalter der Nervosität: Deutschland zwischen Bismarck und Hitler (1998), 2nd ed. (Munich: Hanser Verlag, 2000); Heinz Brüggemann, “Aber schickt keinen Poeten nach London!,” Großstadt und literarische Wahrnehmung im 18. und 19. Jahrhundert (Reinbek: Rowohlt, 1985).

[36] Georg Simmel, Aufsätze und Abhandlungen (1995), in Gesamtausgabe, ed. Otthein Rammstedt, 24 vols. (Frankfurt a. M.: Suhrkamp, 1989–2015), 7:116–131.

[37] Daniel Morat (ed.), Sounds of Modern History: Auditory Cultures in 19th- and 20th-Century Europe (New York: Berghahn Books, 2017); Hans-Joachim Braun, Lärmbelastung und Lärmbekämpfung in der Zwischenkriegszeit, in Sozialgeschichte der Technik, Ulrich Troitzsch zum 60. Geburtstag, eds. Günter Bayerl and Wolfhard Weber (Münster et al.: Waxmann, 1998), 251–258; Klaus Saul, “Wider die ‘Lärmpest:’ Lärmkritik und Lärmbekämpfung im Deutschen Kaiserreich, in Macht Stadt krank? Vom Umgang mit Gesundheit und Krankheit,” eds. Dittmar Machule, Olaf Mischer, and Arnold Sywottek (Hamburg: Dölling und Galitz Verlag, 1996), 151–192.

[38] Peter Payer, Der Klang der Großstadt: Eine Geschichte des Hörens: Wien 18501914 (Vienna et al.: Bohlau Verlag, 2018).

[39] Marshall McLuhan, The Gutenberg Galaxy: The Making of Typographic Man (Toronto et al.: University of Toronto Press, 1962); Walter J. Ong, “‘I See What You Say’: Sense Analogues for Intellect,” in Interfaces of the World: Studies in the Evolution of Consciousness and Culture, ed. Walter J. Ong (Ithaca et al.: Cornell University Press, 1977).

[40] See for example Derrick de Kerckhove and Charles J. Lumsden, eds., The Alphabet and the Brain: The Lateralization of Writing, (Berlin and Heidelberg: Springer Verlag, 1998). First published in French in 1990; Eugene S. Ferguson, Engineering and the Mind’s Eye (Cambridge et al.: MIT Press, 1992); Donald M. Lowe, History of Bourgeois Perception (Brighton: The Harvester Press, 1982).

[41] David Howes, Sensual Relations: Engaging the Senses in Culture and Social Theory (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2003); Paul Stoller and Cheryl Olkes, “La sauce épaisse: Remarques sur le relation social songhaïs,” anthropologiie et societé 14.2 (1990): 57–76.

[42] Michael Bull, Paul Gilroy, David Howes, and Douglas Kahn, “Introducing Sensory Studies,” The Senses and Society 1.1 (2006): 5-–8.

[43] Norbert Elias, The Civilizing Process, eds. Eric Dunning, Johan Goudsblom, and Stephen Mennell, trans. Edmund Jephcott, revised edition (Oxford and Malden, MA: Blackwell Publishers, 2000), see in part IV: “Synopsis: Towards a Theory of Civilizing Processes”  the sections “The Social Constraint of Self-Constraint,” 365–370, and “The Muting of Drives: Psychologization and Rationalization,” 397–398.

[44] Gert Mattenklott, Der übersinnliche Leib: Beiträge zur Metaphysik des Körpers (Reinbek: Rowohlt, 1982), 81–82. Original italics.

[45] Paul Virilio, Desert Screen: War at the Speed of Light, trans. Michael Degener, 2002 edition (London and New York: Athlone Press, 2005), 57–60. First published in French in 1991.

Figs. 1 and 2: Rembrandt: Margarete van Bilderbeecq (1633, left) and Jan Cornelisz Sylvius (1645), Bode / Hofstede de Groot 1896-1906, vol. 2 (1897), no. 97 (left), and vol. 4 (1900), no. 290.

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