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man like Hegel, endowed with a warmly aesthetic spirit and a fervid lover of the arts; almost a repetition of the hard fate endured by Plato. But as the Greek philosopher, in obedience to the presumed command of religion, did not hesitate to condemn the mimetic art and the Homeric poetry he loved, so the German refused to evade the logical exigencies of his system and proclaimed the mortality, nay, the very death, of art. “We have assigned,” he says, “a very high place to art : but it must be recollected that neither in content nor in form can art be considered the most perfect means of bringing before the consciousness of the mind its true interests. Precisely by reason of its form, art is limited to a particular content. Only a definite circle or grade of truth can be made visible in a work of art; that is to say, such truth as may be transfused into the sensible and adequately presented in that form, as were the Greek gods. But there is a deeper conception of truth, by which it is not so intimately allied to the sensible as to permit of its being received or expressed suitably in material fashion. To this class belongs the Christian conception of truth ; and, furthermore, the spirit of our modern world, more especially that of our religion and our mental evolution, seems to have passed the point at which art is the best road to the apprehension of the Absolute. The peculiar character of artistic production no longer satisfies our highest aspirations. . . . Thought and reflexion have superseded fine art.” Many reasons have been adduced in order to account for the moribund condition of modern art; in especial, the prevalence of material and political interests; the true reason, says Hegel, consists of the inferiority in grade of art in comparison with pure thought. “Art in its highest form is and for us must remain a thing of the past ’’; and just because the thing has vanished, one can reason about it philosophically.” The AEsthetic of Hegel is thus a funeral oration : r he passes in review the successive forms of art, shows the progressive steps of internal consumption and lays
* Vorles. iib. d. Asth, i. pp. 13-16.
the whole in its grave, leaving Philosophy to write its epitaph. --> Romanticism and metaphysical idealism had elevated \ art to such a fantastic height among the clouds that at last they were obliged to admit that it was so far away as to be absolutely useless. __
AEsthetic NoTHING, perhaps, shows more clearly how well this !... imaginative conception of art suited the spirit of the of Idealism. times (not only a particular fashion in philosophy, but /* psychological conditions expressed by the Romantic /movement) than the fact that the adversaries of the systems of Schelling, Solger and Hegel either agreed with this conception in general or, while believing themselves to be departing widely from it, actually returned \ to it involuntarily. 4. Schopen- " Everybody knows with what lack, shall we say, of hauer. phlegma philosophicum Arthur Schopenhauer fought against Schelling, Hegel and all the “charlatans” and “professors ” who had divided amongst themselves the heritage of Kant. But what was the artistic theory Ideas as the accepted and developed by Schopenhauer 2 His theory, *** like Hegel's own, turns upon the distinction between the concept which is abstraction and the concept which is concrete, or Idea ; although Schopenhauer's Ideas are by himself likened to Plato's, and in the particular form in which he presents them more nearly resemble those of Schelling than the Idea of Hegel. They have something in common with intellectual concepts, for like them they are unities representing a plurality of real things: but “the concept is abstract and discursive, entirely indeterminate in its sphere, rigorously precise within its own limits only ; the intellect suffices to conceive and understand it, speech expresses it without need for other intermediary, and its own definition exhausts its whole
nature ; the idea, on the contrary (which may be defined clearly as the adequate representative of the concept) is absolutely intuitive, and although it represents an infinite number of individual things, it is not for that any the less determined in all its aspects. The individual, as individual, cannot know it ; in order to conceive it he must strip himself of all will, of all individuality, and raise himself to the state of a pure knowing subject. The idea, therefore, is attained by genius only, or by one who finds himself in a genial disposition attained by that elevation of his cognitive powers inspired usually by genius.” “The idea is unity become plurality by means of space and time, forms of one intuitive apperception ; the concept, on the contrary, is unity extracted from plurality by means of abstraction, which is the procedure of our intellect : the concept may be described as unitas post rem: the idea, unitas ante rem.” Schopenhauer is in the habit of calling ideas the “genera " of things; but on one occasion he remarks that ideas are of species, not genera ; that genera are simply concepts, and that there are natural species, but only logical genera.” This psychological illusion as to the existence of ideas for types originates (as we find elsewhere in Schopenhauer) in the habit of converting the empirical classifications of the natural sciences into living realities. “Do you wish to see ideas 2 ” he asks; “ look at the clouds which scud across the sky; look at a brooklet leaping over rocks; look at the crystallization of hoar-frost on a window-pane with its designs of trees and flowers. The shapes of the clouds, the ripples of the gushing brook, the configurations of the crystals exist for us individual observers, in themselves they are indifferent. The clouds in themselves are elastic vapour; the brook is an incompressible fluid, mobile, transparent, amorphous; the ice obeys the laws of crystallization : and in these determinations their ideas consist.” “ All these are the immediate objectification of will in its various degrees; and it is these, not their pale copies in real things, that art delineates; whence Plato was right in one sense and wrong in another, and is justified and condemned by Schopenhauer exactly in the same way as by Plotinus of old, as well as by Schopenhauer's worst enemy, the modern Schelling." In consequence, each art has a special category of ideas for its own dominion. Architecture, and in some cases hydraulics, facilitate the clear intuition of those ideas which constitute the lower degrees of objectification—weight, cohesion, resistance, hardness, the general properties of stone and some combinations of light ; gardening and (most curious association) landscape painting represent the ideas of vegetable nature ; sculpture and animal painting those of zoology; historical painting and the higher forms of sculpture that of the human body; poetry the very idea of man himself.” As for music, that (let him who can justify the logical discontinuity) is outside the hierarchy of the other arts. We have seen how Schelling considered it to be representative of the very rhythm of the universe; * differing but slightly from this, Schopenhauer affirms that music does not express ideas but, parallel with ideas, Will itself. The analogies between music and the world, between the fundamental bass and crude matter, between the scale and the series of species, between melody and conscious will, led him to the conclusion that music was not, as Leibniz thought, an arithmetic but a metaphysic: exercitium metaphysices occultum mescientis se philosophari animi." To Schopenhauer, no less than his idealistic predecessors, art beatifies ; it is the flower of life; he who contemplates art is no longer an individual but a pure knowing subject, at liberty, free from desire, from pain, from time." Schopenhauer's system no doubt contains here and there premonitions of a better and more profound treatment of art. Schopenhauer, who was capable on occasion
* Welt als Wille u. Vorstellung, 1819 (in Sämmtl. Werke, ed. Grise
bach, vol. i.), bk. iii. § 49.