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

By W. Tatarkiewicz

The historical past of aesthetics, just like the histories of alternative sciences, will be taken care of in a two-fold demeanour: because the heritage of the lads who created the sector of research, or because the heritage of the questions which have been raised and resolved during its pursuit. the sooner historical past of Aesthetics (3 volumes, 1960-68, English-language version 1970-74) via the writer of the current e-book was once a historical past of guys, of writers and artists who in centuries earlier have spoken up relating good looks and paintings, shape and crea­ tivity. the current ebook returns to an identical topic, yet treats it otherwise: because the background of aesthetic questions, options, theories. the problem of the 2 books, the former and the current, is partially an identical; yet simply partly: for the sooner booklet 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 20 th a lot occurred in aesthetics; it used to be merely in that interval that aesthetics completed acceptance as a separate technological know-how, obtained a reputation of its personal, and produced theories that early students and artists had by no means dreamed of.

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Pure or, as it is sometimes called, intrinsic form is one that is independent of its representational or any other function, standing and speaking, as it were, by itself. But art as commonly understood is by no means disdainful of forms which serve non-artistic purposes, such as those of houses to live in and chairs to sit on; indeed, the functional form of these things may enhance their artistic appeal. g. those found in portraits and landscapes. Of course, neither functional nor representational form is 'pure' form.

Beauty is its purpose, its achievement and its prime value. The connec,tion between art and beauty is a very old idea. , 403c) "Service to the Muses should lead to the love of beauty". Two thousand years later L. B. Alberti demanded of the painter (De pictura, II, p. 88) that all parts of his work should "converge into a single beauty". It is this trend that led to the definition of art established by Batteux and which was virtually the accepted canon in the 19th century. But beauty is an ambiguous notion.

For more or less a century and a half the new concept seemed suitable, to the extent that aestheticians and art theoreticians did not consider changing or improving it. Until at last a change did come: it was a result partly of a profounder analysis of the concept, and partly of the evolution which the arts themselves had undergone during this time. They ceased to fit the old concept. art, to correspond to its initial definition. IV. NEW DISPUTES OVER THE SCOPE OF ART The denotation of art varied considerably throughout the ages.

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