The aim of this contribution is to investigate the possibility that Hegel's thought presents itself as a form of criticism of cultural critique (Kulturkritik), in the sense of a possible source of criticism of modernity. In Hegel’s progressive representation of Neuzeit, aesthetics presents some exceptional elements. The work of art puts modernity in front of what Hegel himself reads as its unconciliated sides and which can be summed up with the expression «prose of the world». Modernity actually possesses that mechanical, alienated and unconciliated side that romanticism and late Enlightenment have recognized; the way to show it is to put history in comparison with the aesthetic element. Reason lies in the dimension of the ideal model within which aesthetics is constituted and in the face of which historical reality appears to be crossed by tensions.
Keywords: Hegel, critic of culture, modernity, progress, freedom