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objects, in the presence of which is renewed the same
The statements repeated so often, that art is not know- criticism of art ledge, that it does not tell the truth, that it does not &$$%£»* belong to the world of theory, but to the world of feel- not a theoretical ing, and so forth, arise from the failure to realize exactly ^ppearfnc^''0 the theoretic character of simple intuition. This simple «»<* feelingintuition is quite distinct from intellectual knowledge, as it is distinct from perception of the real;•/ and the statements quoted above arise from the belief that_onljr_ intellectual co^ition_jsJcno^ledge^ We have seen that intuition is knowledge, free from concepts and more simple than the so-called perception of the real. Therefore art is knowledge, form; it does not belong to the world of feeling or to psychic matter. The reason why so many aestheticians have so often insisted that art is appearance (Schein), is precisely that they have felt the necessity of distinguishing it from the more complex fact of perception, by maintaining its pure intuitiveness. And if for the same reason it has been claimed that art
is feeling the reason is the same. For if the concept as content of art, and historical reality as such, be excluded from the sphere of art, there remains no other content than reality apprehended in all its ingenuousness and immediacy in the vital impulse, in its feeling, that is to say again, pure intuition. Criticism of the The theory of the (esthetic senses has also arisen from
, the failure to establish, or from having lost to view, the character of expression as distinct from impression, of form as distinct from matter.
This theory can be reduced to the error just indicated of wishing to find a passage from the qualities of the content to those of the form. To ask, in fact, what the aesthetic senses are, implies asking what sensible impressions are able to enter into aesthetic expressions, and which must of necessity do so. To this we must at once reply, that all impressions can enter into aesthetic ex^ pjessions or formations, but that none are bound to do Sq of necessity. Dante raised to the dignity of form not only the " sweet colour of the oriental sapphire" (visual impressions), but also tactual or thermic impressions, such as the " dense air " and the " fresh rivulets " which "parch the more " the throat of the thirsty. The belief
I that a picture yields only visual impressions is a curious illusion. The bloom on a cheek, the warmth of a youthful body, the sweetness and freshness of a fruit, the edge of a sharp knife, are not these, too, impressions obtainable from a picture? Are they visual? What would a picture mean to an imaginary man, lacking all or many of his senses, who should in an instant acquire the organ of sight alone? The picture we are looking at and believe we see only with our eyes would seem to his eyes to be little more than an artist's paint-smeared palette.
Some who hold firmly to the aesthetic character of certain groups of impressions (for example, the visual and auditive), and exclude others, are nevertheless ready to admit that if visual and auditive impressions enter directly into the aesthetic fact, those of the other senses
also enter into it, but only as associated. J But this distinction is altogether arbitrary. ^Esthetic expression is _ synthesis, in which it is impossible to distinguish direct and indirect. All impressions are placed by it on a level, in so far as they are aestheticized. A man who absorbs the subject of a picture or poem does not have it before him as a series of impressions, some of which have prerogatives and precedence over the others. He knows nothing as J ..'..•; to what has happened prior to having absorbed it, just ^., r as, on the other hand, distinctions made after reflexion have nothing whatever to do with art as such.
The theory of the aesthetic senses has also been presented in another way; as an attempt to establish what physiological organs are necessary for the aesthetic fact. The physiological organ or apparatus is nothing but a group of cells, constituted and disposed in a particular manner; that is to say, it is a merely physical and natural fact or concept. But expression does not know physio- .it,:
logical facts. Expression has its point of departure in \ the impressions, and the physiological path by which these have found their way to the mind is to it altogether indifferent. One way or another comes to the same thing: it suffices that they should be impressions./
It is true that the want of given organs, that is, of certain groups of cells, prevents the formation of certain impressions (when these are not otherwise obtained through a kind of organic compensation). The man born blind cannot intuite and express light. But the impressions are not conditioned solely by the organ, but also by the stimuli which operate upon the organ. One who has never had the impression of the sea will never be able to express it, in the same way as one who has never had the impression of the life of high society or of the political arena will never express either. This, however, does not prove the dependence of the expressive function on the stimulus or on the organ. It merely repeats what we know already: expression_presupgpses impression, and particular expressions particular impressions. For the rest, every impression excludes other impressions during the moment in which it dominates; and so does every expression.
Unity and Another corollary of the conception of expression as
Tf th^work'of activity is the indivisibility, of. the__w.Qrk^f_art. Every
art- expression is a single expression. Activity is a fusion
of the impressions in an organic whole. A desire to
express this has always prompted the affirmation that
the work of art should have unity, or, what amounts to
the same thing, unity in variety. Expression is a synthesis
of the various, or~multiple, in the one. ~~——
The fact that we divide a work "of art into parts, a poem into scenes, episodes, similes, sentences, or a picture into single figures and objects, background, foreground, . etc., may seem opposed to this affirmation. But such division annihilates the work, as dividing the organism into heart, brain, nerves, muscles and so on, turns the living being into a corpse. It is true that there exist organisms in which division gives rise to other living beings, but in such a case we must conclude, maintaining the analogy between the organism and the work of art, that in the latter case too there are numerous germs of life each ready to grow, in a moment, into a single com~" plete expression.
It may be said that expression sometimes arises from other expressions. There are simple and there are compound expressions. One must surely admit some difference between the eureka, with which Archimedes expressed all his joy at his discovery, and the expressive act (indeed all the five acts) of a regular tragedy.—Not in the least: expression always arises directly from impressions. He who conceives a tragedy puts into a crucible a great quantity, so to say, of impressions: expressions themselves, conceived on other occasions, are fused together with the new in a single mass, in the same way as we can cast into a melting furnace formless pieces of bronze and choicest statuettes. Those choicest statuettes must be melted just like the pieces of bronze, before there can be a new statue. The old expressions must descend again to the level of impressions, in order to be synthesized in a new single expression.
By elaborating his impressions, man frees himself Art as from them. By objectifying them, he removes them hberatorfrom him and makes himself their superior. The liberat- i
ing and purifying function of art is another aspect and another formula of its character as activity. Activity is. the deliverer, just because it drives away passivity.
This also explains why it is usual to attribute to artists both the maximum of sensibility or passion, and the maximum of insensibility or Olympian serenity. The two characters are compatible, for they do not refer to •/ the same object. The sensibility or passion relates to the rich material which the artist absorbs into his psychic organism; the insensibility or serenity to the form with which he subdues and dominates the tumult of the sensations and passions.