What Defines Art?

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Fido
 
Reply Thu 3 Jul, 2008 06:21 pm
@all-inclusive,
all-inclusive wrote:
And through this explanation you have come to make your point. It took a few questions to understand just what you were trying to get across. This makes sense to me, and I thank you for the insight. So by saying that "no one loves the dead" If I remember right...you are saying it is the reactions one makes in life, that earns ones love, but in death no respect can be earned? At that point s/he is no longer reacting, s/he is neutral?

Well; what I am trying to say mostly is that life dooms us to death, but that life, while we live it, can be seen as so many forms of relationship that begin with birth and end with death. Music excluded because it is so very subjective; Art is subject, and essentially, it has the subject of our existence. Think about how pitiable we are, how mean, deadly and disasterous. Think of all we are given with life sooner or later snatched away. Think of the absolute difficulty of teaching to children what every weed teaches a gardener, that we have only a short time to figure things out, to flirt, flower, breed, and seed; and we better make haste. The human story is one long tragedy, or a cyclorama continually spinning us dizzy with the need to sort truth from appearances. On the one hand, with life we have all; but unless we find some way of reaching peace and fidelity with others, no life is certain; but whether it last for a moment or a century, life is continually what art is, searching for truth, discerning meaning, and terribly fragile. Thanks. What do you think.
 
all-inclusive
 
Reply Thu 3 Jul, 2008 07:12 pm
@Fido,
Quote:
Well; what I am trying to say mostly is that life dooms us to death, but that life, while we live it, can be seen as so many forms of relationship that begin with birth and end with death. Music excluded because it is so very subjective; Art is subject, and essentially, it has the subject of our existence. Think about how pitiable we are, how mean, deadly and disasterous. Think of all we are given with life sooner or later snatched away. Think of the absolute difficulty of teaching to children what every weed teaches a gardener, that we have only a short time to figure things out, to flirt, flower, breed, and seed; and we better make haste. The human story is one long tragedy, or a cyclorama continually spinning us dizzy with the need to sort truth from appearances. On the one hand, with life we have all; but unless we find some way of reaching peace and fidelity with others, no life is certain; but whether it last for a moment or a century, life is continually what art is, searching for truth, discerning meaning, and terribly fragile. Thanks. What do you think.


So, in saying this do you think that man kind is unaware that they are in a sense resentful, for their short time here? I am simply referring to the crude nature of human beings in general, knowing that their time is short, they steal, because it would otherwise take up precious time to aquire themselves. Fight because it would otherwise take too much time to get their point across, or tell them how they feel. Rape because it would otherwise take to much time to make it with a women.

I know there are a few more sides to there reactions, but these are a few examples of my question.Smile

I think that the art represented in death is the rush to get things done, while your trying to live, and to live as well as our beliefs will let us, or as comfortable . We know death is inevitable, so we create after lifes, or theory's to comfort ourselves from this malevolent indignation. The art in death is the absolute mystery that is wrapped around it, is it not?Smile
 
Fido
 
Reply Thu 3 Jul, 2008 07:33 pm
@all-inclusive,
all-inclusive wrote:
So, in saying this do you think that man kind is unaware that they are in a sense resentful, for their short time here? I am simply referring to the crude nature of human beings in general, knowing that their time is short, they steal, because it would otherwise take up precious time to aquire themselves. Fight because it would otherwise take too much time to get their point across, or tell them how they feel. Rape because it would otherwise take to much time to make it with a women.

I know there are a few more sides to there reactions, but these are a few examples of my question.Smile

I think that the art represented in death is the rush to get things done, while your trying to live, and to live as well as our beliefs will let us, or as comfortable . We know death is inevitable, so we create after lifes, or theory's to comfort ourselves from this malevolent indignation. The art in death is the absolute mystery that is wrapped around it, is it not?Smile

I think the belief, commonly held, that we are created by God contributes in no small measure to the creativity of people. But; Sin, as an assertion of will, especially in childhood when the knowledge of impending death and the futility of life still stings, is also a measure of creativity. I think now like Job, and I would dispute with God; but like Job, I have my virtue so I fear not to face God. But when I was young, I was bedeviled by God, thinking like Nietzsche that God was evil -for killing me with life; and I wanted nothing more from life than to deserve the death waiting for me, and I certainly do. But, life is not all death. Life is also existence, and that is a quality held by all humanity, which hopefully will never die no matter how much of her crew she loses. From the perspective of humanity the death of the individual is a celebration of life, where the grieving mourn for a time, and go on with life. And art is a celebration of life, and it is a will to be gods, to create for beauty; but also to create for good, and in art, the form of ones creation reveals the truth/accuracy of ones vision; and that is the nearest thing we have to proof of knowledge, that what we percieve we can reproduce.
Thanks. Does it seem that I go on and on? I guess I have given it some thought.
 
all-inclusive
 
Reply Thu 3 Jul, 2008 08:02 pm
@Fido,
Quote:
And art is a celebration of life, and it is a will to be gods, to create for beauty; but also to create for good, and in art, the form of ones creation reveals the truth/accuracy of ones vision; and that is the nearest thing we have to proof of knowledge, that what we percieve we can reproduce.


But if we percieve death, and of course we do, not that we know what death is exactly or to what it leads to, but we do percieve it, thatn we can create celebrations, and paintings of our interpretation of the subject, which makes death artistic, because our reaction to the subject bring thought , emotions, and interpretation. In mexico, they have a celebration, or a day for the dead believing "that the spirit of the dead visits their families". I don't know if this is generally out of fear for their lives, but in a sense it is artistic, in the sense that they have percieved, and then created from it. There is beauty in death because it helps us appreciate life. Without death, would there be beauty or art? I could not tell you, I would like to think so, but because of death, we have a large variety of art forms conected to the subject. Are you following? Do you agree?


And for your statement on being long winded, or something of that nature, I could tell you I would much rather you explain in quantaty, for somewhere in there you have explain your interpretation, and reasoning of the interpretation. I would rather you have long explanations, that having two or three sentences, stating nothing of importance or little backing.
 
Fido
 
Reply Fri 4 Jul, 2008 04:46 pm
@all-inclusive,
all-inclusive wrote:
But if we percieve death, and of course we do, not that we know what death is exactly or to what it leads to, but we do percieve it, thatn we can create celebrations, and paintings of our interpretation of the subject, which makes death artistic, because our reaction to the subject bring thought , emotions, and interpretation. In mexico, they have a celebration, or a day for the dead believing "that the spirit of the dead visits their families". I don't know if this is generally out of fear for their lives, but in a sense it is artistic, in the sense that they have percieved, and then created from it. There is beauty in death because it helps us appreciate life. Without death, would there be beauty or art? I could not tell you, I would like to think so, but because of death, we have a large variety of art forms conected to the subject. Are you following? Do you agree?


And for your statement on being long winded, or something of that nature, I could tell you I would much rather you explain in quantaty, for somewhere in there you have explain your interpretation, and reasoning of the interpretation. I would rather you have long explanations, that having two or three sentences, stating nothing of importance or little backing.

I think, if you agree with D.H. Lawrence; then American liturature is all about death. I think, as a people, we are fascinated with death. But; for the artist, death is a huge exclamation point that shines a great light at all one does and all of ones struggles. I don't think there is any beauty in death, though plenty of mystery. I have killed, animals, and perhaps some defensless fetus, but I have always went to one too many funerals; and now I can hardly kill a fly or a mouse without an apology to nature. If there were no one to make a big deal over death, who could see ones accomplishments in the short span of life we have; then death would be entirely without meaning. It is not a question of what is the sting of death, or how pretty is her face. Death is only a reminder to get up and keep moving, so that while we live we can improve, and soften, and medicate, and mend the human condition. While we live we can do good, and some times that good is art. In the broader sense, no art is as essential as living a good life, with few injuries to mankind or to nature; and that is the art of which we should become masters.
 
all-inclusive
 
Reply Sat 5 Jul, 2008 07:03 pm
@Fido,
:)Thank you for your input...Today, I was in the woods, or a house in the woods. I was with my lady-friend, and two other friends of mine. In the morning around 1:00pm(I know its not really morning), The lady-friend of mine decided she wanted to go to sleep...so I left to go to another room, only to find five minutes later, that she was gone. The day before we had traveled through the woods, and found this beautiful spot, she started writing instantly, and enjoyed it very much...I looked for in that area for about a couple hours...couldn't find her....at this point I figured she had either hitchhiked home, or got eaten by by an animal of some sort. I kept wondering if she had been gone(dead), and it made me happy...I envied her knowledge of the other side. She's been waiting for it for a while...not to say she's emo or suicidal, but it is a mystery. Life is hard at times...and who knows what happens after death, but we do know it is different.

So for me that was the art...I was happy for her....only to find she had hit the road home, without telling me.
 
Fido
 
Reply Sat 5 Jul, 2008 10:28 pm
@all-inclusive,
Life is art, and the good life is fine art. Death is only life's version of nothing; nothing to do, nothing to say, no one to pay, and nothing to play. Ask them bones what's in theys heads, and nothings the answer becauses they's dead. We give death meaning from the haunted house of the living. Booo!
 
all-inclusive
 
Reply Sun 6 Jul, 2008 05:27 pm
@Fido,
nothing to do but rest, nothing to say but good bye, no one to pay but the boatmen, and nothing to play at all.Smile
 
Fido
 
Reply Mon 7 Jul, 2008 06:49 pm
@all-inclusive,
all-inclusive wrote:
nothing to do but rest, nothing to say but good bye, no one to pay but the boatmen, and nothing to play at all.Smile

Don't get mad and leave. This is the only show in town and if you ever go to the hospital and see old folks all hosed up dragging in their last breaths like a kid sucks down soda pop you might ask why. Why is the inevitable so hard to face? When you open your eyes it is light, and when you close your eyes it is dark, and for millions of years our life, the stuff of all life on earth has been trying to see the light, and has feared the deep deep dark of death. We cannot be made to believe that life will not go on and on; and all our religions that praise life, but offer us life after death only give us hope enough to carry us through death's door. Life is the white before the pitch black of death. Even if it is nothing, has nothing, and offers nothing, death is still a contrast which makes life seem all the brighter, and often more bright than it is.
 
all-inclusive
 
Reply Mon 7 Jul, 2008 09:13 pm
@Fido,
I wouldn't get angry, nor would I leave. I have always believed that religion is false hope. A little help from a higher power, when all yours has diminished and weakened. i have never given inclination to a life after death...I just don't see the proof, nor do such religions have any backing...all they have is hope. But I do see death as a time of rest, and people use religion to say good by to the dead. When you decay in your tome, you are free of constant thought, pain, suffering, you are dead. And as long as you accept your death when it comes, than you are not defeated by the strugles to escape the enevitable. All life experiances death. When I go out, as long as I am able, I will laugh the hardest I will ever laugh, And I will cry the hardest I will ever cry. My strugle is gone, and the irony emence.
 
Fido
 
Reply Mon 7 Jul, 2008 10:46 pm
@all-inclusive,
I don't know if all life experiences death. Since we begin dying at the moment of conception in that every growth signals a decline, and because, for lack of a better word, it is fated; but actually dying. I don't know. My cousin knew she was dying of a brain anurism before it killed her. Since experience is something one takes with them, how far into death do we take the experience? It is a question of syntax, which might be simply a poor choice of words. I think we all die, and live more or less conscious of death. I think life is what we experience, but not being able to experience life is death, rather than as you suggest. To me, the instinctual aversion to death is common to all life, and we are more or less obsessed with it according to our psychological predeliction. I have had to think of it. It was a fact I faced to make my wages, and if that made me brave then it was because of the ability to do in spite of danger, and consider it when it no longer mattered. Naturally, I can consider with some amusment those people, and as often, children, who think contantly of death when it is life that demands both attention and thought. Anyone can die, coward or commoner. Life is a goal only for the couragous, because death waits for pain. Life is always a lost game played for pride. What do you think
 
all-inclusive
 
Reply Tue 8 Jul, 2008 01:46 pm
@Fido,
Quote:
I don't know if all life experiences death. Since we begin dying at the moment of conception in that every growth signals a decline, and because, for lack of a better word, it is fated; but actually dying. I don't know. My cousin knew she was dying of a brain anurism before it killed her. Since experience is something one takes with them, how far into death do we take the experience? It is a question of syntax, which might be simply a poor choice of words.


I understand where you are comming from, and I do believe you are correct, it was a poor choice of wording. Someone can't possably experience death, because you don't observe being dead. So I would say rather, all life is doomed to death. is that accurate? While our instincts would make us susceptable, or inclined to want to escape it. Thus making them cowards, am I right, or would it simply make them instinctual?





Quote:
Anyone can die, coward or commoner. Life is a goal only for the couragous, because death waits for pain. Life is always a lost game played for pride. What do you think


Is their pride in death, if every one is doomed to it, or is their pride in someone who escapes death the longest, and learns from life the longest, or is all knowledge counterfit, or irrelevent, because in death it is useless?
 
Fido
 
Reply Wed 9 Jul, 2008 05:59 am
@all-inclusive,
all-inclusive wrote:
I understand where you are comming from, and I do believe you are correct, it was a poor choice of wording. Someone can't possably experience death, because you don't observe being dead. So I would say rather, all life is doomed to death. is that accurate? While our instincts would make us susceptable, or inclined to want to escape it. Thus making them cowards, am I right, or would it simply make them instinctual?







Is their pride in death, if every one is doomed to it, or is their pride in someone who escapes death the longest, and learns from life the longest, or is all knowledge counterfit, or irrelevent, because in death it is useless?

I don't know. I have given it a lot of thought without a lot of results. I have lost friends, and family, and even pets to death. My Father is battling Prostate cancer now, and it is starting to get a little grim. But then, he has made his life count, and also played a little part in history, fighting in WWII, and riding through Halsey's Typhoon Cobra in the Pacific. But there is also a perfect example, since he was on one of the ships that went down, the Hull, but was transfered to the newly commissioned Pittsburg because he was a screw up. Not really a screwup screwup. It seems that as a clerk, people knew they could get a shore pass from him, and he nearly emptied the ship, which is a no no is war war. Bye-bye sailor; but the ship went down with great loss of life, and those who did survive had to battle thirst, salt water ulcers, and sharks clinging to bits of nothing in the middle of the Ocean for days. The desire for life is such that when it comes down to the nitty gritty of keeping life, all other concerns are put aside. People who lay up gold, and trample on people all of their lives to get it will give up their gold for a moment more of life. We do not have to know what death is, if death is anything, to be terrified of it. But, if all people would live their lives aware that death will some day make us all equal with the equality we deny to others in life then I think we would have the compassion we need to make life, in every sense, as livable and desirable as is possible for all. To me, the greatest crime is not murder, though murder is a close second. My idea of the greatest crime is torture because that makes people wish their lives away like a kid waiting on payday, and since life is all we really have, and is all that gives anything meaning, we should hold close to it as much as we can without taking the same from others. Art is living well. Surely, anyone living well will be much mourned, but it seems that if all live well then we can all avoid death on some distant battlefield or empty ocean, and can expire close to family and friends with time to say good bye, have courage, and thanks. Even here, art is some kind of ideal.
 
Cave Man
 
Reply Sat 17 Jan, 2009 07:05 am
@Lore,
Hello im new to this philosophy site. I have realy bad spelling
concerning art and life.
I believe in creation not descouvery.
I help my self by thinking in first place that the only thing that exists is me. That all what i see around me is issued from me.
In general i think art is amazement,
Normaly you can only be amazed if you try to avoid been amazed as much as possible. Usaly you try to avoid been amazed instinctifly.
exemple you play a chess match agains your friend your going to try to figure all the possibliteies your freind has to chec mate you and after that if he succeeds in chec mating you, you will be amazed. Then lets say you decide to play against Casparof, if your prepared not to be suprised nor amazed when he beats you, you play against him and you beat him so you get amazed because you wernt prepared to win.

You can psychologicly prepare your self to not be amazed when somthing happens by calculating all the possible. OR just physicly avoid that thing happening to not be amazed.
The more you give in effort to avoide been amazed the more you are amazed.

Concerning death what ever methode you use the more effort you put in to it the more you will be amazed when it comes. Most people prepare them selfs psychologicly for death rather then just try to avoid it.

Theire is alot more to this way of thinking.

But in general puting thought to avoiding death rather then just avoiding it instinctfly.
like when you place your hand in a fire you instincifly pull it out to avoid the pain. Is a much better way to be amazed. Some people just avoide pain not death.

But the most important is to but the most effort possible.

Its not how smart people are that makes them better then others its how much effort they put that makes them better then others. Remmeber this when scientist proove you that your not the smartest.
 
TaraD
 
Reply Sat 17 Jan, 2009 07:23 am
@Cave Man,
I am going to respond to the question: what defines art?

As an art student my friends and I discuss this question and what is art almost every week.

I feel you define art, the artist shows you a window into who they are and in turn you see what you want to see. It is the viewer who defines the piece in the end because it is you viewing the art. When you are creating "art" you have a totally different view.
In every piece I have ever made (and I am by no means a great artist) everyone defines it in their own way most of the time far from what I defined the piece as.
 
Cave Man
 
Reply Sat 17 Jan, 2009 10:43 am
@TaraD,
TaraD wrote:
I am going to respond to the question: what defines art?

As an art student my friends and I discuss this question and what is art almost every week.

I feel you define art, the artist shows you a window into who they are and in turn you see what you want to see. It is the viewer who defines the piece in the end because it is you viewing the art. When you are creating "art" you have a totally different view.
In every piece I have ever made (and I am by no means a great artist) everyone defines it in their own way most of the time far from what I defined the piece as.


What if a painting makes more then one viewer think its good art?
what could you deduce from that.
If you consider that each persone has a diffrent view on things,
you might also consider that each persones point of view on things might have similar parts with other points of view of other people.
If everyone had a totaly diffrent point of view on things then we wouldent understand each other. Meaning their are some fondamental similarteries betuin all the points of views of people.
So you could juge artists according to how maney people like what they do.
So affecting the fondamental part of the points of views of people is making art.

Theire might be some problemes in determening art with that methode.

People have no idear themselfs how they have to think when they juge what's art. the majorety o people living in a period of time might say theire isnt any one naked in this painting its not art ( that was an example of a realy primitive persone).
I think thats the real probleme is determening what you your self think art is.
And i think like i previeusly said its amazmente.
 
nameless
 
Reply Sat 17 Jan, 2009 03:19 pm
@Cave Man,
"What Is Art?" (excerpts)

by Leo Tolstoy


Editor's Note: This essay (originally published in 1896) and the translation by Alymer Maude (first published in 1899) are in the public domain and may be freely reproduced.

About the Author: Leo Tolstoy (1828-1910), although best known for his literary works, also wrote various essays on art, history, and religion.

The discussion questions, bibliographic references, and hyperlinks have been added by Julie Van Camp. (Copyright Julie C. Van Camp 1997) They too may be freely reproduced, so long as this complete citation is included with any such reproductions.

Paragraph numbering below has been added to facilitate class discussion. It was not included in the original text.

[DISCUSSION QUESTIONS]

CHAPTER FIVE (excerpts). . .

#1. In order correctly to define art, it is necessary, first of all, to cease to consider it as a means to pleasure and to consider it as one of the conditions of human life. Viewing it in this way we cannot fail to observe that art is one of the means of intercourse between man and man.

#2. Every work of art causes the receiver to enter into a certain kind of relationship both with him who produced, or is producing, the art, and with all those who, simultaneously, previously, or subsequently, receive the same artistic impression.

#3. Speech, transmitting the thoughts and experiences of men, serves as a means of union among them, and art acts in a similar manner. The peculiarity of this latter means of intercourse, distinguishing it from intercourse by means of words, consists in this, that whereas by words a man transmits his thoughts to another, by means of art he transmits his feelings.

#4. The activity of art is based on the fact that a man, receiving through his sense of hearing or sight another man's expression of feeling, is capable of experiencing the emotion which moved the man who expressed it. To take the simplest example; one man laughs, and another who hears becomes merry; or a man weeps, and another who hears feels sorrow. A man is excited or irritated, and another man seeing him comes to a similar state of mind. By his movements or by the sounds of his voice, a man expresses courage and determination or sadness and calmness, and this state of mind passes on to others. A man suffers, expressing his sufferings by groans and spasms, and this suffering transmits itself to other people; a man expresses his feeling of admiration, devotion, fear, respect, or love to certain objects, persons, or phenomena, and others are infected by the same feelings of admiration, devotion, fear, respect, or love to the same objects, persons, and phenomena.

#5. And it is upon this capacity of man to receive another man's expression of feeling and experience those feelings himself, that the activity of art is based.

#6. If a man infects another or others directly, immediately, by his appearance or by the sounds he gives vent to at the very time he experiences the feeling; if he causes another man to yawn when he himself cannot help yawning, or to laugh or cry when he himself is obliged to laugh or cry, or to suffer when he himself is suffering - that does not amount to art.

#7. Art begins when one person, with the object of joining another or others to himself in one and the same feeling, expresses that feeling by certain external indications. To take the simplest example: a boy, having experienced, let us say, fear on encountering a wolf, relates that encounter; and, in order to evoke in others the feeling he has experienced, describes himself, his condition before the encounter, the surroundings, the woods, his own lightheartedness, and then the wolf's appearance, its movements, the distance between himself and the wolf, etc. All this, if only the boy, when telling the story, again experiences the feelings he had lived through and infects the hearers and compels them to feel what the narrator had experienced is art. If even the boy had not seen a wolf but had frequently been afraid of one, and if, wishing to evoke in others the fear he had felt, he invented an encounter with a wolf and recounted it so as to make his hearers share the feelings he experienced when he feared the world, that also would be art. And just in the same way it is art if a man, having experienced either the fear of suffering or the attraction of enjoyment (whether in reality or in imagination) expresses these feelings on canvas or in marble so that others are infected by them. And it is also art if a man feels or imagines to himself feelings of delight, gladness, sorrow, despair, courage, or despondency and the transition from one to another of these feelings, and expresses these feelings by sounds so that the hearers are infected by them and experience them as they were experienced by the composer.

#8. The feelings with which the artist infects others may be most various - very strong or very weak, very important or very insignificant, very bad or very good: feelings of love for one's own country, self-devotion and submission to fate or to God expressed in a drama, raptures of lovers described in a novel, feelings of voluptuousness expressed in a picture, courage expressed in a triumphal march, merriment evoked by a dance, humor evoked by a funny story, the feeling of quietness transmitted by an evening landscape or by a lullaby, or the feeling of admiration evoked by a beautiful arabesque - it is all art.

#9. If only the spectators or auditors are infected by the feelings which the author has felt, it is art.

#10. To evoke in oneself a feeling one has once experienced, and having evoked it in oneself, then, by means of movements, lines, colors, sounds, or forms expressed in words, so to transmit that feeling that others may experience the same feeling - this is the activity of art.

#11. Art is a human activity consisting in this, that one man consciously, by means of certain external signs, hands on to others feelings he has lived through, and that other people are infected by these feelings and also experience them.

#12. Art is not, as the metaphysicians say, the manifestation of some mysterious idea of beauty or God; it is not, as the aesthetical physiologists say, a game in which man lets off his excess of stored-up energy; it is not the expression of man's emotions by external signs; it is not the production of pleasing objects; and, above all, it is not pleasure; but it is a means of union among men, joining them together in the same feelings, and indispensable for the life and progress toward well-being of individuals and of humanity.

#13. As, thanks to man's capacity to express thoughts by words, every man may know all that has been done for him in the realms of thought by all humanity before his day, and can in the present, thanks to this capacity to understand the thoughts of others, become a sharer in their activity and can himself hand on to his contemporaries and descendants the thoughts he has assimilated from others, as well as those which have arisen within himself; so, thanks to man's capacity to be infected with the feelings of others by means of art, all that is being lived through by his contemporaries is accessible to him, as well as the feelings experienced by men thousands of years ago, and he has also the possibility of transmitting his own feelings to others.

#14. If people lacked this capacity to receive the thoughts conceived by the men who preceded them and to pass on to others their own thoughts, men would be like wild beasts, or like Kaspar Houser.

#15. And if men lacked this other capacity of being infected by art, people might be almost more savage still, and, above all, more separated from, and more hostile to, one another.

#16. And therefore the activity of art is a most important one, as important as the activity of speech itself and as generally diffused.

#17. We are accustomed to understand art to be only what we hear and see in theaters, concerts, and exhibitions, together with buildings, statues, poems, novels. . . . But all this is but the smallest part of the art by which we communicate with each other in life. All human life is filled with works of art of every kind - from cradlesong, jest, mimicry, the ornamentation of houses, dress, and utensils, up to church services, buildings, monuments, and triumphal processions. It is all artistic activity. So that by art, in the limited sense of the word, we do not mean all human activity transmitting feelings, but only that part which we for some reason select from it and to which we attach special importance.

#18. This special importance has always been given by all men to that part of this activity which transmits feelings flowing from their religious perception, and this small part of art they have specifically called art, attaching to it the full meaning of the word.

#19. That was how man of old -- Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle - looked on art. Thus did the Hebrew prophets and the ancient Christians regard art; thus it was, and still is, understood by the Mohammedans, and thus it still is understood by religious folk among our own peasantry.

#20. Some teachers of mankind - as Plato in his Republic and people such as the primitive Christians, the strict Mohammedans, and the Buddhists -- have gone so far as to repudiate all art.

#21. People viewing art in this way (in contradiction to the prevalent view of today which regards any art as good if only it affords pleasure) considered, and consider, that art (as contrasted with speech, which need not be listened to) is so highly dangerous in its power to infect people against their wills that mankind will lose far less by banishing all art than by tolerating each and every art.

#22. Evidently such people were wrong in repudiating all art, for they denied that which cannot be denied - one of the indispensable means of communication, without which mankind could not exist. But not less wrong are the people of civilized European society of our class and day in favoring any art if it but serves beauty, i.e., gives people pleasure.

#23. Formerly people feared lest among the works of art there might chance to be some causing corruption, and they prohibited art altogether. Now they only fear lest they should be deprived of any enjoyment art can afford, and patronize any art. And I think the last error is much grosser than the first and that its consequences are far more harmful.

CHAPTER FIFTEEN

#24. Art, in our society, has been so perverted that not only has bad art come to be considered good, but even the very perception of what art really is has been lost. In order to be able to speak about the art of our society, it is, therefore, first of all necessary to distinguish art from counterfeit art.

#25. There is one indubitable indication distinguishing real art from its counterfeit, namely, the infectiousness of art. If a man, without exercising effort and without altering his standpoint on reading, hearing, or seeing another man's work, experiences a mental condition which unites him with that man and with other people who also partake of that work of art, then the object evoking that condition is a work of art. And however poetical, realistic, effectful, or interesting a work may be, it is not a work of art if it does not evoke that feeling (quite distinct from all other feelings) of joy and of spiritual union with another (the author) and with others (those who are also infected by it).

#26. It is true that this indication is an internal one, and that there are people who have forgotten what the action of real art is, who expect something else form art (in our society the great majority are in this state), and that therefore such people may mistake for this aesthetic feeling the feeling of diversion and a certain excitement which they receive from counterfeits of art. But though it is impossible to undeceive these people, just as it is impossible to convince a man suffering from "Daltonism" [a type of color blindness] that green is not red, yet, for all that, this indication remains perfectly definite to those whose feeling for art is neither perverted nor atrophied, and it clearly distinguishes the feeling produced by art from all other feelings.

#27. The chief peculiarity of this feeling is that the receiver of a true artistic impression is so united to the artist that he feels as if the work were his own and not someone else's - as if what it expresses were just what he had long been wishing to express. A real work of art destroys, in the consciousness of the receiver, the separation between himself and the artist - not that alone, but also between himself and all whose minds receive this work of art. In this freeing of our personality from its separation and isolation, in this uniting of it with others, lies the chief characteristic and the great attractive force of art.

#28. If a man is infected by the author's condition of soul, if he feels this emotion and this union with others, then the object which has effected this is art; but if there be no such infection, if there be not this union with the author and with others who are moved by the same work - then it is not art. And not only is infection a sure sign of art, but the degree of infectiousness is also the sole measure of excellence in art.

#29. The stronger the infection, the better is the art as art, speaking now apart from its subject matter, i.e., not considering the quality of the feelings it transmits.

#30. And the degree of the infectiousness of art depends on three conditions:
On the greater or lesser individuality of the feeling transmitted;
on the greater or lesser clearness with which the feeling is transmitted;
on the sincerity of the artist, i.e., on the greater or lesser force with which the artist himself feels the emotion he transmits.

#31. The more individual the feeling transmitted the more strongly does it act on the receiver; the more individual the state of soul into which he is transferred, the more pleasure does the receiver obtain, and therefore the more readily and strongly does he join in it.

#32. The clearness of expression assists infection because the receiver, who mingles in consciousness with the author, is the better satisfied the more clearly the feeling is transmitted, which, as it seems to him, he has long known and felt, and for which he has only now found expression.

#33. But most of all is the degree of infectiousness of art increased by the degree of sincerity in the artist. As soon as the spectator, hearer, or reader feels that the artist is infected by his own production, and writes, sings, or plays for himself, and not merely to act on others, this mental condition of the artist infects the receiver; and contrariwise, as soon as the spectator, reader, or hearer feels that the author is not writing, singing, or playing for his own satisfaction - does not himself feel what he wishes to express - but is doing it for him, the receiver, a resistance immediately springs up, and the most individual and the newest feelings and the cleverest technique not only fail to produce any infection but actually repel.

#34. I have mentioned three conditions of contagiousness in art, but they may be all summed up into one, the last, sincerity, i.e., that the artist should be impelled by an inner need to express his feeling. That condition includes the first; for if the artist is sincere he will express the feeling as he experienced it. And as each man is different from everyone else, his feeling will be individual for everyone else; and the more individual it is - the more the artist has drawn it from the depths of his nature - the more sympathetic and sincere will it be. And this same sincerity will impel the artist to find a clear expression of the feeling which he wishes to transmit.

#35. Therefore this third condition - sincerity - is the most important of the three. It is always complied with in peasant art, and this explains why such art always acts so powerfully; but it is a condition almost entirely absent from our upper-class art, which is continually produced by artists actuated by personal aims of covetousness or vanity.

#36. Such are the three conditions which divide art from its counterfeits, and which also decide the quality of every work of art apart from its subject matter.

#37. The absence of any one of these conditions excludes a work form the category of art and relegates it to that of art's counterfeits. If the work does not transmit the artist's peculiarity of feeling and is therefore not individual, if it is unintelligibly expressed, or if it has not proceeded from the author's inner need for expression - it is not a work of art. If all these conditions are present, even in the smallest degree, then the work, even if a weak one, is yet a work of art.

#38. The presence in various degrees of these three conditions - individuality, clearness, and sincerity - decides the merit of a work of art as art, apart from subject matter. All works of art take rank of merit according to the degree in which they fulfill the first, the second, and the third of these conditions. In one the individuality of the feeling transmitted may predominate; in another, clearness of expression; in a third, sincerity; while a fourth may have sincerity and individuality but be deficient in clearness; a fifth, individuality and clearness but less sincerity; and so forth, in all possible degrees and combinations.

#39. Thus is art divided from that which is not art, and thus is the quality of art as art decided, independently of its subject matter, i.e., apart from whether the feelings it transmits are good or bad.

#40. But how are we to define good and bad art with reference to its subject matter?

This page was put on-line and is maintained by Julie Van Camp, Professor of Philosophy, California State University, Long Beach.
 
Cave Man
 
Reply Sat 17 Jan, 2009 05:51 pm
@nameless,
Code:
nameless;43 #40. But how are we to define good and bad art with reference to its subject matter? This page was put on-line and is maintained by Julie Van Camp, Professor of Philosophy, California State University, Long Beach.[/quote wrote:


I read the whole text but i dont understand to well the last question. Dose it mean that for example its not clear wether its the painting that makes people think its art or the person presenting it or both. I found it realy good though, It realy impressed me. I have to change my way of thinking.
To me he is speaking science a bit like psychology since generly he ses art is good for the mental health.
for me philosophy more like determening your choices. And i think their are only two choices one is folowing your human instincts eat sleep reproduce, express your feelings with art (like leo tolstoy ses) and the other choice is the hard choice wich never becomes easy its to simpely respect a code regardless your feelings.
A code like i must wright numbers 1 to 1000 every day. Or a code like i must not speak to any one.
You will never be used to been hungry for food it will always be as hard to not eat when the plate is right infrunt of you.
Finde the difficulty that never changes, face it and thats the only way you can be better then the rest.
 
MJA
 
Reply Sat 17 Jan, 2009 09:03 pm
@Cave Man,
Why define art?
Why not simply enjoy it?

=
MJA
 
Fido
 
Reply Sun 18 Jan, 2009 12:53 am
@Lore,
Art cannot be defined except in themost general terms... It is an infinite, and every discovery of the past, and creation in the future affects the definition...Sure, I think subject defines art, and yet that subject is one we must relate through, and be worthy of our attention... And it is a form and not substance... A terror bombing is not art But a painting of a terror bombing may be, so the form recreates the reality and on that point, skill will add or detract from the quality of the experience...
 
 

 
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