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aim at a like result, when they create fictions and fables.1 Lucretius, in Roman literature, gives us the well-known comparison of the boys for whom the doctors " prius or as pocula circum Contingunt mellis dulci flavoque liquore" in order to administer the bitter wormwood.2 Horace, in certain verses of the Epistle to the Pisones which have become proverbial (perhaps his source for them was the Greek of Neoptolemus of Paros ?), offers both views (that of art as courtesan and of art as pedagogue) in his "Aut prodesse volunt aut delectare poetae . . . omne tulit punctum qui miscuit utile dulci." 3
Thus looked at, the office of the poet was confounded with that of the orator, for he too was a practical man aiming at practical effects; hence there arose discussions as to whether Virgil was to be considered as a poet or as an orator (" Virgilius poeta an orator?"). To both was assigned the triple end of delectare, movere, docere; in any case this tripartition was very empirical, for we clearly perceive that the delectare is here a means and the docere a simple part of the movere: to move in the direction of the good, and therefore, among other goods, towards that of instruction. In like manner, it was said of the orator and poet (recording the meretricious basis of their task, and with a metaphor significant in its naivete) that they were bound to avail themselves of , , the allurements (lenocinium) of form.
Mystical The mystical view, which considers art as a special
'in'antiquity , mode of self-beatification, of entering into relation with the Absolute, with the Summum Bonum, with the ultimate root of things, appeared only in late antiquity, almost at the entrance to the Middle Ages. Its representative is the founder of the neo-Platonic school, Plotimis,,.
It is strange that Plato should be usually selected as the founder and head of this aesthetic tendency, and that for this very reason to him should be attributed the honour of being the father of ^Esthetic. But how could he, who had expounded with such great limpidity and clearness the reasons for which he was not able to accord to art a high place among the activities of the spirit, be credited with having accorded to it one of the highest places, equal, if not superior, to philosophy itself? This misunderstanding has evidently arisen out of the enthusiastic effusions about the Beautiful that we read in the Gorgias, the Philebus, the Phaedrus, the Symposium, and other Platonic dialogues. It is well to dissipate it by declaring that the Beauty of which Plato discourses has nothing to do with art or with artistic beauty.
1 Plutarch, De aud. poetis, chs. 1-4, 14. 1 De rerum natura, i. 935-947. * Ad Pisones, 333-334.
The search for the meaning and scientific content of investigations the word "beautiful" could not but early attract the attention of the subtle and elegant Greek dialecticians. Indeed, we find Socrates engaged in discussing this question in one of the discourses that have been preserved for us by Xenophon; and we find him disposed to stop for the moment at the conclusion that the beautiful is that which is convenient and which answers to the end desired, or at the other conclusion that it is that which one loves.1 Plato too examines this sort of problem and proposes various sorts of solutions or attempts at solutions of it. He sometimes speaks of a beauty that dwells not only in bodies, but also in laws, in actions, in the sciences; sometimes he seems to conjoin and almost to identify it with the true, the good and the divine; now he returns to the view of Socrates and confuses it with the useful; now he distinguishes between a beautiful in itself («a\A KaQ" avrd) and a relatively beautiful (tt/jo? rt Ka\d); or he makes true beauty consist in pure pleasure (r)Sovr; Kadapd), free from all shadow of pain; or he places it in measure and proportion (/wrpton;? /cal gvpperpia); or talks of colours and sounds as possessing a beauty in themselves.2 It was impossible to find an independent dominion for the beautiful, if the artistic or mimetic activity were deserted. This explains his wandering among so many different conceptions, among which it is just possible to say that the identification of
1 Memorab. Hi. ch. 8; iv. ch. 6. * Texts collected in Miiller, op. cit. ii. pp. 84-107.
the Beautiful with the Good prevails. Nothing better describes this uncertainty than the dialogue of the Hippias maior (which, if it be not Plato's, is Platonic). He here wishes to find out not what things are beautiful things, but what the beautiful is; that is to say, what it is that makes beautiful, not only a beautiful virgin, but also a beautiful mare, a beautiful lyre, a beautiful pot with two graceful ears of clay. Hippias and Socrates himself propose in turn the most various solutions; but the latter ends by confuting them all. "That which makes things beautiful is the gold that is added to them by way of ornament." No: gold only embellishes where it is fitting (trpeirtov): for instance, a pot should have a wooden rather than a golden handle. "That is beautiful which cannot seem ugly to any one." But it is not a question of seeming: the question is to define what the beautiful is, whether it seems so or not. It is the fitting which makes things seem to be beautiful. But in that case, the fitting (which makes them appear, not be) is one thing, and the beautiful another. "The beautiful is what leads to the end, that is to say, the useful (xprja-i/j.ov)." But if that were so, then evil would also be beautiful, because the useful leads also to the evil. "The beautiful is the helpful, that which leads to the good (<u^e\ifj.ov)." But in this case, the good would not be beautiful nor the beautiful good; for the cause is not the effect, and the effect is not the cause. "The beautiful is that which delights the sight and hearing." But this fails to persuade for three reasons: firstly, because beautiful studies and laws are beautiful, which have nothing to do with the eye or with the ear; secondly, because we cannot discover a reason for limiting the beautiful to those senses, while excluding the pleasure of eating and smelling, and the extremely vivid pleasures of sex; thirdly, because, if the foundation of the beautiful were visibility, it would not be audibility, and if it were audibility it would not be visibility; hence that which constitutes the beautiful cannot dwell in either of the two qualities. And the question which has been repeated so insistently in the course of the dialogue: what is the beautiful? (ri eVrt To Ka\6v;) remains unanswered.1
Later writers also conducted inquiries into the beautiful, and we possess the titles of several treatises upon the theme, which have been lost. Aristotle shows himself •-• changeable and uncertain upon the point. In the scanty references which he makes to it, he at one time confounds the beautiful with the good, defining it as that which is both good and pleasing ;2 at another he notes that the good consists of action (eV Trpd^ei) and the beautiful also in things that are immoveable (eV rot? a/civr)Tois), drawing from this the argument that mathematics should be studied in order to determine its characters, order, symmetry and limit;3 sometimes he places it in bigness ancj in order (e'z> peyedei /cal .ragei); 4 at others he was led to look upon it as something apparently indefinable.6 Antiquity also established canons of beautiful things, such as that attributed to Polycletus on the proportions of the human body. And Cicero said of the beauty of bodies that they were "quaedam apta figura membrorum cum coloris quadam suavitate." 8 All these affirmations, even when they are not mere empirical observations, Oi verbal glosses and substitutions, meet with unsurmountable obstacles.
In any case, not only is the conception of the beautiful, Distinction taken as a whole, identified with art in none of them ; ^eo'^ofArt but sometimes art and beauty, mimesis and pleasing or and the theory displeasing material of mimesis, are clearly distinguished. Beautiful. Aristotle notes in his Poetics that it pleases us to see the most faithful images of things that are repugnant to us in reality, such, for instance, as the most contemptible forms of animals, or corpses (ra? et/cova? ra? /taXto-ra r)Kpi/3c0[j,eva<; ^aipofj,ev decapovvres) .7 Plutarch demonstrates at length that works of art please us not as beautiful but as resembling (ov% &><? Ka\6v, d\\' o>? opoiov); he affirms that
1 Hippias maior, passim. * Rhet. i. ch. 9.
* Metaphys. xii. ch. 3. « Poet. ch. 7.
• Diog. Laert. v. ch. 1, § 20. • Tuscul. quaest. bk. iv. § 13.
7 Poet. ch. iv. 3.
if the artist beautified things that are ugly in nature he would be offending against fitness and resemblance (to irpeirov Koi To et/cos); and he proclaims the principle that the beautiful is one thing and beautiful imitation another (oil yap ecrn ravro, To Ka\ov ical Ka\w ri fj.ifj,fl<r0at). Paintings of horrible events are pleasing, such as Medea slaying her sons by Timomachus, Orestes the matricide by Theon, and the Pretended madness of Ulysses by Parrhasius; and if the grunting of a pig, the grating of a machine, the noise of the winds and the tumult of the sea are unpleasing, they pleased on the contrary in the case of Parmenon, who imitated the pig perfectly, and in Theodorus, who was not less expert in rendering the grating of machines.1 If the ancients had really wanted to place the beautiful and art in relation, a secondary and partial connexion of the two conceptions was to hand in the shape of the category of the relatively as distinguished from the absolutely beautiful. But where the word /ca\6v or pulchrum is applied to artistic productions in the writings of literary critics, it does not seem to be more than a linguistic usage, as we find, for instance, in the case of Plutarch's beautiful imitation, or also in the terminology of the rhetoricians, who sometimes called elegance and adornment of discourse beauty of elocution (to rrj<; <f>pd<reca<; /caXXo?).
Fusion of the H is only with Plotinus that the two divided territones are united and the beautiful and art are fused into a single concept, not by means of a beneficial absorption of the equivocal Platonic conception of beauty into the unequivocal conception of art, but by absorption of the clear into the confused, of imitative art in the socalled beautiful. And thus we reach an altogether new view: the beautiful and art are now both alike melted into a mystical passion and elevation of the spirit.
Beauty, observes Plotinus, resides chiefly in things visible; but it is also to be found in things audible, such as verbal and musical compositions, and it is not lacking in things supersensible, such as works, offices, actions,
1 De aud. poetis, ch. 3.