Adolf Zeyzing

Adolf Zeyzing

German poet and philosopher
Country: Germany

  1. Adolf Zeising: German Poet and Philosopher
  2. Contributions to Aesthetics and Mathematics
  3. Other Works
  4. Biography and Legacy

Adolf Zeising: German Poet and Philosopher

Adolf Zeising (born in 1810) was a German poet and philosopher. In the 1830s, he published a collection of poems called "Wolken" under the pseudonym Richarda Mornings. His collection of poems, "Zeitgedichte," which was published in 1846, was destroyed due to its liberal tendencies. Zeising participated in the 1848 movement, which resulted in him losing his position as a high school teacher. In 1854, he released his book "Neue Lehre von den Proportionen des menschlichen Körpers aus einem bisher unerkannt gebliebenen, die ganze Natur und Kunst durchdringenden morphologischen Grundgesetze entwickelt" (Leipzig). This work solidified Zeising's place in the history of aesthetic theories.

Contributions to Aesthetics and Mathematics

In his book, Zeising developed the concept of the law of proportionality. According to Zeising, if a whole is divided into unequal parts, the aesthetic impression is most pleasing when the smaller part is related to the larger part in the same way the larger part is related to the whole. This law, known as the "golden section," was understood in ancient times. Zeising illustrated this law using examples from the human body and plant anatomy. His book also included a historical overview of aesthetics.

In the following year, Zeising published a systematic exposition of aesthetics called "Aesthetische Forschungen" (Frankfurt am Main, 1854), which can be considered alongside Fischer's classic work due to its breadth of scope. Zeising aimed to examine beauty from a natural-historical perspective and explain the spatial, temporal, material, and formal conditions that make a phenomenon aesthetic. His goal was to determine the qualities that allow a representation to embody the original forms that exist in the human soul. Zeising's work was influential, notably on M. Carrère.

Zeising's articles in the journals "Kritische Monatshefte" and "Zeitschrift für Philosophie" were later included in the collection "Religion und Wissenschaft, Staat und Kirche."

Other Works

Aside from his contributions to aesthetics, Zeising also wrote novels such as "Kunst und Gunst" and "Hausse und Baisse," which did not showcase exceptional talent, and the tragedy "Kaiserin Eudoxia," which was performed in Munich but is now largely forgotten. His mathematical work focused on mathematical aesthetics. Based on the idea that the eye and spirit of a person are only satisfied by dividing a line segment in extreme and mean ratio, Zeising applied this concept to the division of various objects. He set himself the bold task of demonstrating its correctness in numerous specific cases.

In addition to the mentioned works, Zeising published "Das Normalverhältniss der chemischen und morphologischen Proportionen" (Leipzig, 1856); "D. regulären Polyeder" (1869); "Ueber die Metamorphosen in den Verhältnissen der menschlichen Gestalt von der Geburt bis zur Vollendung des Längenwachsthums" ("XXII Band der neuen Publicationen der kaiserh leopold.-karolin. Akademie der Naturforscher"); "Ueber die Unterschiede in den Verhältnissen der Racentypen" ("Archiv für physiologische Heilkunde," Jahrgang 1856); "Aesthetische Forschungen im Gebiete der geometrischen Formen" ("Deutsche Vierteljahrsschrift," 31 Jahrgang, IV); "Das Pentagramm. Culturhistorische Studie" (same journal, I).

Biography and Legacy

For a biography of Zeising, refer to "Beilage der Augsburger allgemeine Zeitung" in 1876, and for an assessment of his work, see Dr. S. Günther's article, "Adolph Zeising als Mathematiker" in "Zeitschrift für Mathematik und Physik" (XXI, 1876).