A History of Six Ideas: An Essay in Aesthetics by W. Tatarkiewicz PDF

By W. Tatarkiewicz

The background of aesthetics, just like the histories of alternative sciences, might be handled in a two-fold demeanour: because the historical past of the boys who created the sphere of analysis, or because the background of the questions which have been raised and resolved during its pursuit. the sooner heritage of Aesthetics (3 volumes, 1960-68, English-language version 1970-74) through the writer of the current publication was once a heritage of guys, of writers and artists who in centuries earlier have spoken up referring to attractiveness and artwork, shape and crea­ tivity. the current ebook returns to an analogous topic, yet treats it otherwise: because the heritage of aesthetic questions, innovations, theories. the problem of the 2 books, the former and the current, is partially an identical; yet in basic terms partly: for the sooner e-book ended with the seventeenth century, whereas the current one brings the topic as much as our personal occasions. And from the 18th century to the twentieth a lot occurred in aesthetics; it used to be simply in that interval that aesthetics accomplished attractiveness as a separate technology, got a reputation of its personal, and produced theories that early students and artists had by no means dreamed of.

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He argued that all the noble arts work with images ("travaillent en images"). The poetic arts. Horace's motto was also at times in the 16th and 17th centuries reversed to read, "ut poesis pictura". This reversal gave expression to the conviction that the poetic quality, the kinship with poetry, is what separates such arts as painting from the crafts. The manner of thinking in those centuries was such that 'poetic' designated the figurative, the metaphorical. And for some writers this figurative, metaphorical quality constituted the true common denominator of the noble, the nonhandicrafts arts.

It says, in effect, that art is capable of producing the experience of beauty. And the difficulties are the same as before. The term 'aesthetic experience' is no more clear and unambiguous than the term 'beauty'. As it stands, the definition is obviously too broad because aesthetic experience may be produced by other things besides art. g. that art not only produces aesthetic experience but is intended to produce it. This, however, is of doubtful value. From another point of view the definition appears too narrow, and it is from this point of view that it has been criticised in the twentieth century.

In its broadest sense the word may mean anything that pleases; it is not so much a concept as a sort of exclamation, a sign of approval. In a narrow sense it is most often taken to mean a sort of equilibrium, clarity, harmony of forms. "Pulchrum est quid commensuratum est" (that is beautiful which is harmonious), wrote Cardano in the sixteenth century. This is all very well so long as we remain in the realm of classical art, but it is doubtful whether such a narrow sense of beauty has any meaning in reference to Gothic art, to the Baroque or to much of twentieth-century art.

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