Gesamtkunstwerk  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

Gesamtkunstwerk ("total work of art" or "complete artwork") is a German term attributed to the German opera composer Richard Wagner which refers to an operatic performance encompassing music, theater, and the visual arts. Wagner felt that in ancient Greek tragedy, these had been fused, but at some point they drifted apart — he was critical of the opera of his time which he felt emphasized the music too heavily and did not contain quality drama.

The term, which might also be translated "synthesis of the arts," is commonly used (especially by Germans) to describe any integration of multiple art forms.

The term is also used in architecture to describe a building where every part is designed to be part of a whole.

Wagner placed great importance on "mood setting" elements, such as a darkened theater, sound effects, and seating arrangements which focused the attention of the audience on the stage, completely immersing them in the imaginary world of the music drama. These concepts were revolutionary at the time, but they have since come to be taken for granted in the modern operatic environment.

This term was also used by the Vienna Secessionists to describe their ultimate aesthetic goal.

In the absence of mass media, Total work of art, sustaines the ideological hegemony of totalitarian regimes, such as, but not limited to, the Nazi Germany.




Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Gesamtkunstwerk" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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