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write it down, or print, or draw, or paint, or expose it to the public. We select from the crowd of intuitions which are formed or at least sketched within us; and the selection is ruled by the criteria of the economic disposition of life and of its moral direction. Therefore, when we have fixed an intuition, we have still to decide whether or no we should communicate it to others, and to whom, and when, and how ; all which deliberations come equally under the utilitarian and ethical criterion. Thus we find the concepts of selection, of the interesting, of morality, of an educational end, of popularity, etc., to some extent justified, although these can in no way be justified when imposed upon art as art, and we have ourselves rejected them in pure AEsthetic. Error always contains an element of truth. He who formulated those erroneous aesthetic propositions in reality had his eye on practical facts, which attach themselves externally to the aesthetic fact and belong to economic and moral life. It is well to advocate yet greater freedom in making known the means of aesthetic reproduction ; we are of the same opinion, and leave projects for legislation and for legal action against immoral art, to hypocrites, to the ingenuous and to wasters of time. But the proclamation of this freedom, and the fixing of its limits, how wide soever they be, is always the task of morality. And it would in any case be out of place to invoke that highest principle, that fundamentum aesthetices, which is the independence of art, to deduce from it the guiltlessness of the artist who calculates like an immoral speculator upon the unhealthy tastes of his readers in the externalization of his imaginings, or the freedom of hawkers to sell obscene statuettes in the public squares. This last case is the affair of the police, as the first must be brought before the tribunal of the moral consciousness. The aesthetic judgement on the work of art has nothing to do with the morality of the artist as a practical man, or with the provisions to be taken that the things of art may not be diverted to evil ends alien to her nature, which is pure theoretic contemplation.

AEsthetic judgement. Its identity with asthetic

reproduction.

XVI
TASTE AND THE REPRODUCTION OF ART

WHEN the entire aesthetic and externalizing process has been completed, when a beautiful expression has been produced and it has been fixed in a definite physical material, what is meant by judging it 2 To reproduce it in oneself, answer the critics of art, almost with one voice. Very good. Let us try thoroughly to understand this fact, and with that object in view, let us represent it schematically. The individual A is seeking the expression of an impression which he feels or anticipates, but has not yet expressed. See him trying various words and phrases which may give the sought-for expression, that expression which must exist, but which he does not possess. He tries the combination m, but rejects it as unsuitable, inexpressive, incomplete, ugly : he tries the combination n, with a like result. He does not see at all, or does not see clearly. The expression still eludes him. After other vain attempts, during which he sometimes approaches, sometimes retreats from the mark at which he aims, all of a sudden (almost as though formed spontaneously of itself) he forms the sought-for expression, and lux facta est. He enjoys for an instant aesthetic pleasure or the pleasure of the beautiful. The ugly, with its correlative displeasure, was the aesthetic activity which had not succeeded in conquering the obstacle; the beautiful is the expressive activity which now displays itself triumphant. We have taken this example from the domain of

speech, as being nearer and more accessible, and because
we all talk, though we do not all draw or paint. Now if
another individual, whom we shall call B, is to judge that
expression and decide whether it be beautiful or ugly, he
must of necessity place himself at A's point of view, and go
through the whole process again, with the help of the
physical sign supplied to him by A. If A has seen clearly,
then B (who has placed himself at A's point of view) will
also see clearly and will see this expression as beautiful.
If A has not seen clearly, then B also will not see clearly,
and will find the expression more or less ugly, just as A did.
It may be observed that we have not taken into con-
sideration two other cases: that of A having a clear and
B an obscure vision ; and that of A having an obscure and
B a clear vision. Strictly speaking, these two cases are
impossible.
Expressive activity, just because it is activity, is
not caprice, but spiritual necessity; it cannot solve a
definite aesthetic problem save in one way, which is the
right way. It will be objected to this plain statement
that works which seem beautiful to the artists are after-
wards found to be ugly by the critics; while other works
with which the artists were discontented and held to be
imperfect or failures are, on the contrary, held to be
beautiful and perfect by the critics. But in this case, one
of the two is wrong : either the critics or the artists, some-
times the artists, at other times the critics. Indeed, the
producer of an expression does not always fully realize
what is happening in his soul. Haste, vanity, want of
reflexion, theoretic prejudices, make people say, and
others sometimes almost believe, that works of ours are
beautiful, which, if we really looked into ourselves, we
should see to be ugly, as they are in reality. Thus poor
Don Quixote, when he had reattached to his helmet as
well as he could the vizor of cardboard—the vizor that
had showed itself to possess but the feeblest force of resist-
ance at the first encounter, took good care not to test
it again with a well-delivered sword-thrust, but simply
declared and maintained it to be (says the author) por

Impossibility of divergences. Identity of taste and genius.

celada finisima de encaxe. And in other cases, the same
reasons, or opposite but analogous ones, trouble the
consciousness of the artist, and cause him to value badly
what he has successfully produced, or to strive to undo
and do again for the worse what he has done well in
artistic spontaneity. An instance of this is Tasso and
his passage from the Gerusalemme liberata to the Geru-
salemme conquistata. In the same way, haste, laziness,
want of reflexion, theoretic prejudices, personal sym-
pathies or animosities, and other motives of a similar sort,
sometimes cause the critics to proclaim ugly what is
beautiful, and beautiful what is ugly. Were they to
eliminate such disturbing elements, they would feel the
work of art as it really is, and would not leave it to
posterity, that more diligent and more dispassionate
judge, to award the palm, or to do that justice which they
have refused.
It is clear from the preceding theorem that the
activity of judgement which criticizes and recognizes the
beautiful is identical with what produces it. The only
difference lies in the diversity of circumstances, since in
the one case it is a question of aesthetic production, in
the other of reproduction. The activity which judges is
called taste ; the productive activity is called genius :
genius and taste are therefore substantially identical.
The common remark that the critic should possess
Something of the genius of the artist and that the artist
should possess taste, gives a glimpse of this identity; or
the remark that there exists an active (productive) and a
passive (reproductive) taste. But it is also negated in
other equally common remarks, as when people speak of
taste without genius, or of genius without taste. These
last observations are meaningless, unless they allude to
quantitative or psychological differences, those being
called geniuses without taste who produce works of art,
inspired in their chief parts and neglected or defective in
their secondary parts, and men of taste without genius,
those who, while they succeed in obtaining certain isolated
or secondary merits, do not possess sufficient power for

a great artistic synthesis. Analogous explanations can
easily be given of other similar expressions. But to posit
a substantial difference between genius and taste, between
artistic production and reproduction, would render both
communication and judgement alike inconceivable. How
could we judge what remained external to us 2 How
could that which is produced by a given activity be
judged by a different activity ? The critic may be a
Small genius, the artist a great one ; the former may have
the strength of ten, the latter of a hundred ; the former,
in order to reach a certain height, will have need of the
assistance of the other ; but the nature of both must
remain the same. To judge Dante, we must raise our-
selves to his level : let it be well understood that em-
pirically we are not Dante, nor Dante we ; but in that
moment of contemplation and judgement, our spirit is
one with that of the poet, and in that moment we and he
are one thing. In this identity alone resides the possi-
bility that our little souls can echo great souls, and grow
great with them in the universality of the spirit.
Let us remark in passing that what has been said of
the aesthetic judgement holds good equally for every other
activity and for every other judgement; and that scientific,
economic, and ethical criticism is effected in a like manner.
To limit ourselves to this last, only if we place ourselves
ideally in the same conditions in which he found himself
who took a given resolution, can we form a judgement as
to whether his decision were moral or immoral. An
action would otherwise remain incomprehensible and
therefore impossible to judge. A homicide may be a
rascal or a hero ; if this be, within limits, indifferent as
regards the defence of society, which condemns both to
the same punishment, it is not indifferent to one who
wishes to distinguish and judge from the moral point of
view, and we therefore cannot dispense with reconstruct-
ing the individual psychology of the homicide, in order to
determine the true nature of his deed, not merely in its
legal, but also in its moral aspect. In Ethics, a moral
taste or tact is sometimes mentioned, answering to what is

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