Eighteenth-Century Aesthetics and the Reconstruction of Art

This choice of essays explores the increase of aesthetics as a reaction to, and as part of, the reshaping of the humanities in smooth society. The theories of paintings constructed below the identify of 'aesthetics' within the eighteenth century have frequently been understood as contributions to a box of research in lifestyles because the time of Plato. If paintings is a convention to be present in all human societies, then the philosophy of artwork is the hunt for common positive aspects of that perform, which might be said in definitions of paintings and wonder. even though, paintings as we all know it - the procedure of 'fine arts' - is basically ordinary to trendy society. Aesthetics, faraway from being a perennial self-discipline, emerged in an attempt either to appreciate and to form this new social perform. those essays percentage the conviction that aesthetic rules may be totally understood while obvious not just when it comes to highbrow and social contexts, yet as themselves built in heritage.

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137). But this democracy of conscience needs to be read in the light of the felt internal democracy among gentlemen, described in J. C. D. 53 Solidarity is fostered among the elite, implicitly against the excluded majority. Smith denies that social differentiations such as local customs, ranks, professions, and "states of life" significantly affect our "sentiments of moral approbation and disapprobation," because these "are founded on the strongest and most vigorous passions of human nature; and though they may be somewhat warpt, cannot be entirely perverted" (p.

He follows Shaftesbury and others in excluding the useful, 24 25 26 sions and Affections (1728), in Collected Works (Hildesheim: Georg Olms, 1971], II, pp. 101-2; and idem, An Inquiry into the Original of our Ideas of Beauty and Virtue (1725), in Works, I, pp. 1 0 - 1 1 . A Treatise of Human Nature, ed. P. H. Nidditch (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1978), pp. 472, 581-2; Henry H o m e (Lord Kames), Elements of Criticism (London, 1762), I, p. 56. See also Samuel Holt Monk, The Sublime: A Study of Critical Theories in XVIII-Century England (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, i960], esp.

In tour after tour, by imposing "the rules of our art" on the idiosyncrasies of what he actually sees, Gilpin elides materially conditioned meaning from the English countryside. By choosing - or producing - landscapes innocent of traces of contemporary civilization or economic struggle, he attempts to uncouple aesthetic perception from the practical use value of land. Ann Radcliffe's picturesque tour A Journey Made in the Summer of 1794, Through Holland and the Western Frontier of Germany (1795) juxtaposes the aesthetic and the practical in an unprecedented friction.

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