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The defects of Schiller's aesthetic doctrine are its lack Vagueness of precision and its generality. Who has given a better ::::::" description of certain aspects of art, the catharsis produced in Schiller's by artistic activity, the serenity and calm resulting from * the domination over natural impressions 2 Equally just is his remark that art, although wholly independent of morality, is in some way connected with it. But what precisely this connexion may be, or what the exact nature of aesthetic activity, Schiller does not succeed in explaining. Conceiving the moral and intellectual as the only formal activities (Formtrieb) and denying as a convinced anti-sensationalist in opposition to Burke and philosophers of his type that art can belong to the passionate and sensuous nature (Stofftrieb), he cut himself off from the means of recognizing the general category to which artistic activity belongs. His own concept of the formal is too narrow : too narrow, also, his concept of the cognitive activity, in which he is able to see the logical or intellectual form, but not that of the imagination. What for him was this art he describes as an activity neither formal nor material, neither cognitive nor moral 2 Was it for him, as for Kant, an activity of feeling, a play of several faculties at once 2 It would seem so, since Schiller distinguishes four points of view or relations of man with things: the physical, in which these affect our senses: the logical, in which they excite knowledge : the moral, in which they appear to us as an object of rational volition : and the aesthetic “in which they refer to our powers in entirety without becoming the determinate object of any one faculty.” For example, a man is pleased aesthetically when his feeling depends in no way on the pleasure of the senses and when he is not conscious of thinking about any law or end.” We look in vain for any more conclusive reply.
It must not be overlooked that Schiller delivered a course of lectures on AEsthetic in Jena University in I792, and that his writings on the subject intended for reviews were couched in a popular style: no less popular,
* Briefe, Letter 20.
Schiller's caution and the rashness of the Romanticists.
in his own opinion, was the style of the book quoted
so, suggests to man an intuition of the union of these elements within himself: a union which does not take place actually but ought to do so.” ". The times which followed had no such nice scruples. Kant had given new vigour to the production of works on aesthetic, and, as in the days following Baumgarten, every new year saw a number of new treatises. It was the fashion. “Nothing swarms like aestheticians" (wrote Jean Paul Richter in 1804 when preparing his own book on the subject for publication) : “it is rare for a youth who has paid his fees for a course of lectures on AEsthetic not to produce a book on some point of the science in the hope that the public may refund him his expenses by buying his book: some there "are indeed who pay their professor's fees out of their author's royalties.” ” It was hoped, not unreasonably, that the exploration of the obscure region of aesthetic might throw some light on metaphysics, and the procedure of artists seemed to offer a good example to philosophers seeking to create a world for themselves: so philosophy modelled itself upon art and, as though to render the transition easier, the concept of art was brought as close as possible to that of philosophy. Romanticism, gaining vogue daily, was a renewal or continuation of that “age of genius” in which the youth of Goethe and Schiller had been passed; and as the period of Sturm und Drang had zealously worshipped the genius who breaks all rules and oversteps all limitations, so did Romanticism hail the domination of a faculty called Fancy, or more frequently Imagination, to which were attributed the most diverse characteristics and the most miraculous effects. The Romantic theorists, artists themselves for the most part, abounded in truthful and subtle observations concerning artistic procedure. Jean Paul Richter makes many excellent remarks about productive imagination, which he distinguishes clearly from the reproductive and
* Danzel, Ges. Aufs. p. 241.
Ideas on Art :
J. G. Fichte. pupil of Kant; for though Fichte regarded imagination as the activity which creates the universe, effects the
asserts to be shared by all men as soon as they are able
synthesis of the ego and the non-ego, posits the object and therefore precedes consciousness, he does not connect it with art.” In his aesthetic notions Fichte is influenced by Schiller, with the addition of a moralism imposed upon him by the general character of his system ; hence the ethical sphere, midway between the cognitive and the aesthetic, becomes from his point of view a mere appurtenance of morality, as being the representation of, and hence reverence for, the moral ideal.” His subjective idealism eventually produced an aesthetic doctrine through
* Vorschule d. Asth. chs. 2, 3.
* Grundl. der Wissenschaftslehre, in Werke (Berlin, 1845), vol. i. pp. 2I4-2I 7.
* Danzel, Ges. Aufs. pp. 25-30 ; Zimmermann, G. d. A. pp. 522-572. * Hegel, Vorles. iib. d. Asth. introd. vol. i. pp. 82-88. * Vorles. iib. d. Methode d. akadem. Stud. (18o3), lecture 14; in Werke (Stuttgart, 1856–1861), vol. v. pp. 346-347.
the work of Friedrich Schlegel and Ludwig Tieck; the Irony: doctrine of Irony as the basis of art. The ego which jo, created the universe can also destroy it; the universe is Novais. an empty appearance at which the only true reality, the ego, can Smile, holding itself aloof, like an artist or a creative god, from creatures of its own which it does not take seriously." Friedrich Schlegel described art as a perpetual parody of itself and a “transcendental farce.” Tieck defined irony as “a power which allows the poet to dominate the matter which he handles.” Another Romantic Fichtian, Novalis, dreamed of a magical idealism, an art of creation by the instantaneous act of the ego and of realizing our dreams. But it is only to the System of Transcendental Idealism (1800) of Schelling, F. Schelling. to his Bruno (1802), to his celebrated course of lectures on the Philosophy of Art given at Jena in 1802–1803 (repeated at Würzburg, and distributed subsequently in manuscript notes all over Germany), to the no less celebrated lecture on the Relation between the Figurative Arts and Nature (1807), as well as to other works of this eloquent and enthusiastic philosopher that we owe the first great philosophical affirmation of Romanticism, and of a renewed and conscious neo-Platonism in AEsthetic. Like all the other idealistic philosophers, Schelling held Beauty and firmly to the fusion of the theories of art and the beautiful “”. already effected by Schiller. From this point of view it is interesting to note his explanation of the condemnation of art by Plato : this condemnation, says Schelling, was directed against the art of his time, the natural and realistic art of antiquity in general, with its character of finitude : Plato could not have uttered such a condemnation (as we moderns are unable to utter it) if he had known Christian art, whose characteristic is infinity.” The pure abstract beauty of Winckelmann is not enough ; no less inadequate, false and negative is that concept of the characteristic which would try to make art some