In the late nineteenth century, with the rise of a philosophically oriented art history, the philosophical issues of how we perceive space gave way to the psychological problem of how we come to take delight in the characteristics of form and space. The philosophical art historians sought the "basic principles," (Grundbegriffe ) underlying the creation and appreciation of art, and their historical transformations.
The kindred functions of hand and eye were considered necessary to the experience of space. Touching was considered "a cruder scanning at close range," and seeing "a more subtle touching at a distance." See haptic/optic.
Following Alois Riegl, Wilhelm Worringer described space as "the major enemy of all striving after abstraction. " In this account "It is precisely space, which filled with atmospheric air, linking things together and destroying their individual closedness, gives things their temporal value and draws them into the cosmic interplay of phenomena."
For Adolf Hildebrand, "The Problem of Form in the Fine Arts" involves the artistic representation (Darstellung -- more properly translated as presentation) of the object and the volume of air or space that sourrounds it -- the representation as evidence of the existence of the object in space and not merely as an image of the object's form alone. For Hildebrand, only the visual sense, in particular the distant vision, allows for the apprehension of spatial unity. Even in architecture, where our relation to space finds its direct expression, the inherent form of space becomes effective form for the eye. (p269)
Frankl, Panofsky, Lessing, Alberti,