Art Essays

Furthermore, the production of a play which does not afford pleasure to the producer or audience, may yet be a work of art.The inaccuracy of all these definitions arises from the fact that, in them all, the object considered is the pleasure art may give, and not the purpose it may serve in the life of man and of humanity.Aetheticians have attempted to work backwards by first listing acknowledged works of art, and then trying to find a theory to fit them all.

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Thanks to his capacity to express thoughts by words, every man may know the debt he owes to the past, and be able to hand on what he has acheived to future generations.

If humans lacked this capacity, we would be like wild beasts, and if people lacked this capacity for being infected by art, people might be more savage still, and more separated from one another.

In order to define art correctly, it is necessary to cease to consider it as a means to pleasure, and to consider it as one of the conditions of life.

Viewed in this way, we see that art is one of the means of communication between man and man.

Yet that is a less harmful attitude than the attitude in our European society today, where art is regarded as a good thing only if it affords pleasure. It is because the estimation of the value of art (that is, the feeling it transmits) depends on man’s perception of the meaning of life.

Humanity unceasingly moves forward from a lower, more partial view of life to a higher and broader view.

But all attempts to define absolute beauty have failed. All definitions amount to the same thing; that art is that which makes beauty manifest, and beauty is that which pleases without exciting desire.

But there is and can be no explanation of why one thing pleases one man and displeases another, so scientists cannot work out the laws of art.

People who consider the meaning of art to be pleasure cannot realise its true meaning, in fact, people will come to understand the meaning of art only when they cease to consider that the aim of art is pleasure. (Sully) The first definition is inexact, because instead of speaking of the human activity itself, it only speaks of the derivation of it The second definition is inexact because a man may express his emotions by means of lines colours etc, and yet may not act on others by his expression so the result is not art.

The third definition is inexact, because in the production of objects or actions affording pleasure, conjuring tricks or gymnastic exercises may be included, which are not art.

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