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Hocke, Gustav René

    Image Credit: AVA International

    Full Name: Hocke, Gustav René

    Gender: male

    Date Born: 1908

    Date Died: 1985

    Home Country/ies: Germany

    Subject Area(s): Mannerist (Renaissance-Baroque style), philology, and philosophical anthropology

    Career(s): art critics and art historians


    Journalist and art historian; employed Geistgeschichte mode in his philological and art-historical studies of Mannerism. Hocke studied in Bonn under the literary historian Ernst Robert Curtius (1886-1956) (whose grandfather was the archaeologist/art historian Ernst Curtius), under whom he wrote his dissertation in 1934. As a journalist for the Cologne newspaper, he observed of the rise of national socialism, and, as their correspondent in Italy, observed fascism there as well as the Roman underground. After the Second World War, he again worked again as a journalist in Italy. He published a novel, Der tanzende Gott (The Dancing God), in 1948. His interest in primary source documentation resulting in the following year’s publication of artist’s letters, Europäische Künstlerbriefe. In 1957 he published his Die Welt als Labyrinth his theory of the continual resurfacing of Manneristic tendenices in European art. The book was highly influential for subsequent art historians such as Jacques Bousquet. Throughout his writing, Hocke employs a Geistgeschichte approach to his art history. This was the belief that an art object reflects an artist’s personal expression, not a struggle between, for example, abstraction and naturalism. Geistgeschichte was most fully developed through the Vienna-school art historian Max Dvořák, whom Hocke seems to have used in his conception of the Italian Mannerists as a decline in form reflecting a decline in their spirit(uality).

    Selected Bibliography

    [dissertation:] Lukrez in Frankreich von der Renaissance bis zur Revolution. Ph.D, Bonn, 1934, published, Cologne: Buchdruckerei dr. P. Kerschgens, 1935; Die Welt als Labyrinth: Manier und Manie in der europäischen Kunst. Hamburg: Rowohlt, 1957; Manierismus in der Literatur: Sprach-Alchimie und esoterische Kombinationskunst. Hamburg: Rowohlt 1959; Malerei der Gegenwart: der Neo-Manierismus: vom Surrealismus z. Meditation. Wiesbaden/Munich: Limes, 1975; and Weis, Helmut. Ernst Fuchs:das graphische Werk. Berlin: Jugend und Volk, 1967; Der tanzende Gott: Roman. Munich: Nymphenburger Verlagshandlung, 1948; edited, Europäische Künstlerbriefe: Bekenntnisse zum Geist. Bad Salzig: K. Rauch, 1949.


    Kleinbauer, W. Eugene. Research Guide to the History of Western Art. Sources of Information in the Humanities, no. 2. Chicago: American Library Association, 1982, p. 154; Kleinbauer, W. Eugene. Modern Perspectives in Western Art History: An Anthology of 20th-Century Writings on the Visual Arts. New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1971, p. 98; Bazin 189; Cheney, Liana De Girolami. “Preface.” Readings in Italian Mannerism. New York: Peter Lang, 1997, p. xxvii; Hocke, Gustav René. Das verschwundene Gesicht: ein Abenteuer in Italien. Leipzig: K. Rauch, 1939; Busch, Jutta, and Pauly, Albert. Hommage à Gustav René Hocke: die Welt als Labyrinth. Viersen: Verein für Heimatpflege, 1989; Hocke, Gustav Rene, and Haberland, Detlef. Im Schatten des Leviathan: Lebenserinnerungen 1908-1984. Munich: Deutscher Kunstverlag, 2004.


    "Hocke, Gustav René." Dictionary of Art Historians (website).

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