Immagini della pagina

over into the other, that is to say, into reality. Other divisions and subdivisions are made on which it is not necessary to dwell. Imagination is said to produce the Irony essential to true art : this is the Irony of Tieck and Novalis, of whom Solger is in a sense a follower." Solger joins Schelling in placing beauty in the region Art, practice of the Idea, inaccessible to common consciousness. It "****

is distinct from the idea of Truth, because instead of dissolving the appearances of common consciousness after the manner of truth, art accomplishes the miracle of making appearance dissolve itself while still remaining appearance ; artistic thought, therefore, is practical, not theoretical. Furthermore, it is distinct from the idea of Goodness, with which at first sight it would seem to be closely related, because in the case of Goodness the union of ideal with real, of the simple with the multiple, of the infinite with the finite, is not real and complete, but remains ideal, a mere ought-to-be. It is related more closely to Religion, which thinks the Idea as the abyss. of life where our individual conscience must lose itself

in order to become “essential " (wesentlich), while in beauty and art the Idea manifests itself by gathering into itself the world of distinctions between universal

and particular and placing itself in their place. Artistic, activity is more than theoretical, it is of a practical nature, but realized and perfected ; art, therefore, belongs not to theoretical philosophy (as Kant thought, according to Solger), but to practical. Necessarily attached on one side to infinity, it cannot have common nature as its object ; for example, art is absent from a portrait, and the ancients showed their discrimination in selecting gods and heroes for objects in sculpture since every deity —even in limited and particular form—always signifies a determinate modification of the Idea.” The same concept of art appears in the philosophy G.W.F. Hegel.

of Hegel, whatever may be the minor differences which he felt to separate himself from his predecessors. Little concerned as we are with the shades and varieties of

* Vorles. iib. Asth. pp. 186-200. * Op. cit. pp. 48-85.

Art in the sphere of

absolute spirit.

mystical AEsthetic exhibited by each of these thinkers, we are chiefly concerned to lay bare the substantial underlying identity, the mysticism of arbitrarism which gives them their historic place in AEsthetic. Opening the Phenomenology and the Philosophy of Spirit, one need not expect to find any discussion of art in the analysis of the forms of the theoretical Spirit, among definitions of sensibility and intuition, language and symbolism, and various grades of imagination and thought. Hegel places Art in the sphere of absolute Spirit, together with /Religion and Philosophy,” and in this he regards Kant,

| Schiller, Schelling and Solger as his precursors, for like

them he strongly denies that art has the function of
representing the abstract concept, but not that it re-
presents the concrete concept or Idea. Hegel's whole
philosophy consists in the affirmation of a concrete concept,
unknown to ordinary or scientific thought. “Indeed,”
says he, “no concept has in our day been more mis-
handled than the concept in itself and for itself; for by
concept is generally meant the abstract determinateness
or one-sidedness of representation and intellectualistic
thought, with which it is naturally impossible to think
either the entirety of truth or concrete beauty.” ” To
the realm of the concrete concept belongs art, as one of
the three forms wherein the freedom of the spirit is
achieved ; it is the first form, namely that of immediate,
sensible, objective knowledge (the second is religion, a
representative consciousness plus worship, an element
extraneous to mere art : the third is philosophy, free
thought of the absolute spirit).” Beauty and truth are
at the same time one yet distinct. “Truth is Idea as
Idea, according to its being-in-itself and its universal
principle, and so far as it is thought as such. There is
no sensible or material existence in Truth ; thought
contemplates therein nothing but universal idea. But
the Idea must also realize itself externally and attain an .
actual and determinate existence. Truth also as such

Beauty as sensible appearance of the Idea.

* Encykl. d. phil. Wiss. §§ 557-563. * Vorles. iib. Asth. (ed. cit.) i. p. 118. * Op. cit. i. pp. 129-133.

has existence ; but when in its determinate external existence it is immediately for consciousness, and the concept remains immediately one with the external appearance, the Idea is not only true but beautiful. In this way Beauty may be defined as the sensible appearance of the Idea.” + - The Idea is the content of art : its sensible and imaginative configuration; its form : two elements which must interpenetrate and form a whole, hence the necessity that a content destined to become a work of art should show itself capable of such transformation ; otherwise we have but an imperfect union of poetic form with prosaic and incongruous content.” An ideal content must gleam through the sensible form ; the form is spiritualized by this ideal light; * artistic imagination does not work in the same way as the passive or receptive fancy, it does not stop at the appearances of sensible reality but searches for the internal truth and rationality of the real. “The rationality of the object selected by him should not be alone in awakening the consciousness of the artist : he should have well meditated upon the essential and the true in all their extension and profundity, for without reflexion a man cannot become conscious of that which is within himself, and all great works of art show that their material has been thought again and again from every side. No successful work of art can issue from light and careless imagination.” “ It is a delusion to fancy that poet and _painter need nothing beyond intuitions: “a true poet must reflect and meditate before and during the execution of his poem.” " But it is always understood that the thought of the poet does not take the form of abstraction. Some critics" affirm that the aesthetic movement from AEsthetic in Schelling to Hegel is a revived Baumgartenism on the ol.

- - - - idealism and ground that this movement regarded art as a mediator Baumgartenof philosophical concepts; they mention the fact that a follower of Schelling, one Ast, was moved by the trend of his system to substitute didactic poetry for drama as the highest form of art.” Putting aside some isolated

ism. * Vorles. iib. Asth. i. p. 141. * Op. cit. i. p. 89. * Op. cit. i. pp. 50-51. " Op. cit. i. pp. 354-355. * Encykl. § 450. * Danzel, Asth. d. hegel. Sch. p. 62 ; Zimmermann, G. d. A. pp. 693-697; J. Schmidt, L. u. B. pp. Io9-105; Spitzer, Krit. St. p. 48.

and accidental deviations, there is no truth in this affirma

tion : these philosophers are hostile to intellectualistic and moralistic views, frequently entering upon definite

and explicit polemic against them. Schelling wrote : “AEsthetic production is in its origin an absolutely free

production. . . . This independence on any extraneous purpose constitutes the sanctity and purity of art, enabling it to repel all connexion with mere pleasure, a connexion which is a mark of barbarism, or with utility, which cannot be demanded of art save at times when the loftiest form of the human spirit is found in utilitarian discoveries. The same reasons forbid an alliance with morality and hold even science at arm's length, although nearest by reason of her disinterestedness; having her aim, however, outside herself, she must restrict herself definitely to serve as means to something higher than herself: the arts.” ” Hegel says, “Art contains no universal as such.” “If the aim of instruction is treated as an aim, so that the nature of the content represented appears for itself directly, as an abstract proposition, prosaic reflexion, or general theory, and is not merely contained indirectly and implicitly in the concrete artistic form, the result of such a separation is to reduce the sensible and imaginative form, the true constituent of a work of art, to an idle ornament, a covering (Hülle)

presented simply as a covering, an appearance maintained

as mere appearance. The very nature of the work of art

is thus completely altered, for a work of art must not present to intuition a content in its universality, but this universal individualized and converted into a sensible

individual.” It is a bad sign, he adds, when an artist - - -

* Fr. Ast, System der Kunstlehre, Leipzig, 1805; cf. Spitzer, op. cit. p. 48.

* System d. transcend. Idealismus (18oo), part vi. § 2; in Werke, § 1, vol. iii. pp. 622-623.

* Vorles, tib. d. Asth. i. pp. 66-67.

sets himself about his work from a motive of abstract ideas instead of that of the fulness of life (Uberfülle des Lebens)." The aim of art lies in itself, in presentation of truth in a sensible form ; any other aim is altogether extraneous.” It would not be hard to prove, certainly, that by separating art from pure representation and imagination and making it in some sense the vehicle of the concept, the universal, the infinite, these philosophers were facing in the direction of the road opened by Baumgarten. But to prove this would mean accepting as a

presupposition the dilemma that if art be not pure

imagination, it must be sensuous and subordinate to reason; and it is just this presupposition and dilemma that the metaphysical idealists denied. The road they tried to follow was to conceive a faculty which should be neither imagination nor intellect but should partake of both ; an intellectual intuition or intuitive intellect, a mental imagination after the fashion of Plotinus. In a greater degree than any of his predecessors Hegel emphasized the cognitive character of art. But this very merit brought him into a difficulty more easily avoided by the rest. Art being placed in the sphere of absolute Spirit, in company with Religion and Philosophy, how will she be able to hold her own in such powerful and aggressive company, especially in that of Philosophy, which in the Hegelian system stands at the summit of all spiritual evolution ? If Art and Religion fulfilled functions other than the knowledge of the Absolute, they would be inferior levels of the Spirit, but yet necessary and indispensable. But if they have in view the same end as Philosophy and are allowed to compete with it, what value can they retain 2 None whatever; or, at the very most, they may have that sort of value which attaches to transitory historical phases in the life of humanity. The principles of Hegel's system are at bottom rationalistic and hostile to religion, and hostile no less to art. A strange and painful consequence for a

* Vorles. iib. d. Asth. i. p. 353. * Op. cit. i. p. 72.

Mortality and decay of art in Hegel’s system.

« IndietroContinua »