Bring fact-checked results to the top of your browser search. The work of art As the above discussion illustrates, it is impossible to advance far into the theory of aesthetic experience without encountering the specific problems posed by the experience of art. Whether or not we think of art as the central or defining example of the aesthetic object, there is no doubt that it provides the most distinctive illustration both of the elusive nature and the importance of aesthetic interest.
The reader may well ask what possible value expression can have when it becomes an end in itself. Art, no less than practical expression, may have effects on other experiences, which have to be considered in measuring its total worth; but these we shall leave for investigation in our last chapters, after we have reached our fullest comprehension of art; we are interested now, in order to test and complete our definition, in the resident value only.
As a help toward reaching a satisfactory view, let us examine critically some of the chief theories in the field.
But the theory fails in not recognizing the expressive function of sensation in art. As Goethe said, art was long formative, that is, expressive, before it was beautiful, in the narrow sense of charming.
The second theory which I shall examine is the moralistic or Platonic. According to this, art is an image of the good, and has value in so far as through expression it enables us to experience edifying emotions or to contemplate noble objects. The advantage of art over life is supposed to consist in its power to create in the imagination better and more inspiring objects than life can offer, and to free and control the contemplation of them.
This is the narrower interpretation of the theory.
When the notion of the good is liberalized so as to include innocent happiness as well as the strictly ethical and religious values, beauty is conceded to belong to pictures of fair women and children, and to lyrics and romances, provided there is nothing in them to shock the moral Aesthetics in art.
Aesthetic value is the reflection—the imaginative equivalent—of moral or practical value. The prime difficulty of this theory is its inadequacy as an interpretation of the whole of actual art; for, in order to find support among existing examples, it is compelled to make an arbitrary selection of such as can be made to fit it.
Actual art is quite as much an image of evil as of good; there is nothing devilish which it has not represented.
And this part of art is often of the highest aesthetic merit. Now for us who claim that the purpose of art must be divined from the actual practice of artists, from the inside, and should not be an arbitrary construction, from the outside, the existence of such examples is sufficient to refute the theory in question.
If the artist finds a value in the representation of evil, value exists there and can be discovered. If, indeed, the sole effect of artistic expression were to bring to the mind objects and emotions in the same fashion that ordinary life does, then the value of art, the image of life, would be a function of the value of the life imaged.
And just as one seeks contact with the good in real life and avoids the evil, so one would seek in art imaginative contact with the good alone. But expression, and above all artistic expression, does something more than present objects to the imagination and arouse emotions.
Art is not life over again, a mere shadow of life; if it were, what would be its unique value? The expression of life is not life itself; hence, even if the evil in life be always evil, the expression of it may still be a good. There is no difference in purpose or value between science and art, but only a difference in method—science presents truth in the form of the abstract judgment; art, in the form of the concrete image or example.
The difficulty with this theory is the uncertainty as to what is meant by truth; hence the many shapes it assumes. But before going deeply into this question, let us consider some of the simple facts which seem to tell for and against the theory.
There can be no doubt that many examples of the representative arts—painting, sculpture, novel, and drama—are praised for their truth. We demand truth of coloring or line in painting, of form in sculpture, of character and social relation in the drama or novel.
On the other hand, we admit aesthetic value to fanciful painting and literature, and to expressions of beliefs which no one accepts at the present time. No one values the Blue Bird the less because it is not an account of an actual occurrence.
Even with regard to the realistic novel and drama, no one thinks of holding them to the standards of historical or scientific accuracy. And, although we may demand of a landscape painting plausibility of color and line, we certainly do not require that it be a representation of any identifiable scene.
If by truth, therefore, be meant a description or image of matters of fact, then surely it is not the purpose of art to give us this truth. The artist, to be sure, may give this, as when the landscapist paints some locality dear to his client or the portraitist paints the client himself; but he does not need to do this, and the aesthetic value of his work is independent of it; for the picture possesses its beauty even when we know nothing of its model.
The image may be entirely fictitious or fanciful, but so long as the principle is illustrated, essential truth, and that is beauty, is attained. There is, of course, an observance of the general laws of color and space, but does the beauty of the picture consist in that?
Does it not attach to the representation of the concrete, individual pond? I do not mean that there may not be beauty in the expression of universals; in fact, I have explicitly maintained that there may, under certain conditions; I am simply insisting that beauty may belong to expressions of the individual also, and that you cannot reduce these to mere illustrations of universal ideas.
Because of its completeness and internal harmony, the philosopher may find the simplest melody a revelation of the Absolute; but even if it were, its beauty would still pertain to it primarily as a revelation of the individual experience which it embodies.
It is when works of art are profoundly individual that we generalize their meaning.aesthetics - (art) the branch of philosophy dealing with beauty and taste (emphasizing the evaluative criteria that are applied to art); "traditional aesthetics assumed the existence of universal and timeless criteria of artistic value" esthetics.
Aesthetics: Aesthetics, the philosophical study of beauty and taste. It is closely related to the philosophy of art, which is concerned with the nature of art and the concepts in terms of which individual works of art are interpreted and evaluated.
To provide more than a general definition of the subject. The young men who passed the physical exam and completed the necessary paperwork were approved for induction into military service.
Neuroesthetics (or neuroaesthetics) is a relatively recent sub-discipline of empirical aesthetics. Empirical aesthetics takes a scientific approach to the study of aesthetic perceptions of art, music, or any object that can give rise to aesthetic judgments.
. Aesthetics - The work of art: As the above discussion illustrates, it is impossible to advance far into the theory of aesthetic experience without encountering the specific problems posed by the experience of art. The Argentian pianist Martha Argerich is known for her explosive musical temperament and staggering technique.
She has over her career produced many recordings, made in studios and live concerts. Recently, a surreptitiously made MP3 of a Carnegie Hall recital by Argerich came into my eager hands.