Both Hegel and Danto anticipated the art that came after them, but understood it not as progress in a new direction, but as further symptoms of the end of art. Hegel was writing towards the end of the great outburst of creativity known as German Romanticism. He anticipated an increase in the conceptual content of art, a move beyond sensuous art into something radically different. This (incompletely) described many of the features of the great art movements that came after him, which moved away from depicting the world, or conceptual ideas, with complete adequacy, and instead reflected on the very limits of artistic expression itself. Cubism, for example, no longer perfected perspective, or wanted to, but instead interrogated it, and attempted to show us the very limits of the way an artwork might represent something. This can be seen especially in the ‘analytical’ phase of Cubism – for example, in Picasso’s Portrait of Ambroise Vollard (1910).
First, the dreaded "Verifiability Criterion of Meaning." During the palmy days of logical positivism, some thirty or forty years ago, the positivists claimed that most of the sentences Christians characteristically utter-"God loves us," for example, or "God created the heavens and the earth"- don't even have the grace to be false; they are, said the positivists, literally meaningless. It is not that they express false propositions; they don't express any propositions at all. Like that lovely line from Alice in Wonderland, "T'was brillig, and the slithy toves did gyre and gymbol in the wabe," they say nothing false, but only because they say nothing at all; they are "cognitively meaningless," to use the positivist's charming phrase. The sorts of things theists and others had been saying for centuries, they said, were now shown to be without sense; we theists had all been the victims, it seems, of a cruel hoax- perpetrated, perhaps, by ambitious priests and foisted upon us by our own credulous natures.