• Juan Almarza Anwandter

On Style

Actualizado: 23 feb

What is the meaning of “style”? In formal terms, it corresponds to a certain set of compositional attributes that distinctively characterize any form of artistic expression. Thus, we speak of the style of Rafael, as something different from the style of Botticelli. But, in colloquial language, we also use the term as an adjective: “She looked so stylish!”, “He did it with style!”. What does the concept mean in such contexts? Roland Barthes gives us an interesting answer. Inspired by the spectacle given by the Spanish “toreros” (bullfighters), he says: “And what is style? it is to turn a difficult act into a graceful gesture, it is to introduce a rhythm in fatality. It is to be brave without disorder; it is to give what is necessary the appearance of freedom.” Certainly, a beautiful definition. Understood in this sense, conscious volition is a precondition for style. Therefore rocks, clouds and trees may have shapes, but not “style”. They are ruled by necessity and fatality, in a deterministic sense. Entities with a higher level of complexity like animals (in particular beasts of prey), exhibit traits of style in their predatory strategies. It is in human beings where the concept of style can reach a peak of manifestation - in the conscious confrontation with death. I am planning to write a short book on this interesting subject...

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