Franz roh (February 21, 1890 - December 30, 1965) was a German historian, photographer and art critic known for being the one who created the term “magical realism”In 1925.
Roh was born in Apolda (present-day Thuringia), Germany, and studied at the universities of Leipzig, Berlin, and Basel, earning his doctorate in Munich with a study on Dutch paintings of the 17th century.
Franz Roh is remembered for being the critic who coined the term magical realism, which, although its lineage is direct, its magical realism is different from that used to describe the work of magical realism writers such as Gabriel García Márquez.
This is stated in his 1925 book "Nach Expressionismus: Magischer Realismus: Probleme der neuesten europäischen Malerei” (“After Expressionism: Magical Realism: Problems of Newer European Painting”).
Roh, encouraged by the post-expressionist return of the visual arts to figurative representation, used the phenomenology of Edmund husserl Y Martin heidegger to emphasize that “the autonomy of the objective world that surrounds us is to be enjoyed.
At that moment, Roh identified the precise details of magical realism: the fluid photographic clarity and the portrait of the “magical” nature of the rational world.
Roh believed that magical realism was related to surrealism, but being a different movement due to the focus of magical realism on the material object and the real existence of things in the world.
Thus, in his book, Roh emphasizes the magic of the normal world as it is presented to us, that is to say, as when we really look at the objects that surround us and that can seem strange and fantastic to us; and not the world of magic, in which objects are literally transformed into something fantastic.
In the 1950s and after seeing the confusion that his term caused in this regard, he emphasized that his use of the word magic was "of course, not in the religious-psychological sense of ethnology”.
The roh magic realism, although not very frequent in recent years, was the great contribution to the phenomenological or existential theory of aesthetics, and more when in that same year (1925), Fernando Vela, writer in “Western MagazineFounded by José Ortega y Gasset in 1923 and of whom Vela was a disciple, he translated and published Roh's essay into Spanish in that magazine, setting the stage for its appropriation by the literary movement.
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