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already noted that Schlegel considered the characteristic or interesting, not the beautiful, to be the principle of modern art; hence the importance attached by him to the piquant, the striking (frappant), the daring, the cruel, the ugly.1 Solger found here the basis for his dialectic: amongst other things he maintains that the finite, earthly element may be dissolved and absorbed in the divine, which constitutes the tragic: or else the divine element may be entirely corrupted by the earthly, producing the comic.2 These methods of Solger were followed by Weisse (1830), and by Ruge (1837); for the former, ugliness is "the immediate existence of beauty " which is overcome in the sublime and the comic; for the latter, the effort to achieve the Idea, or the Idea searching for itself, generates the sublime; when the Idea loses instead of discovering itself, ugliness is produced; when the Idea rediscovers itself and rises out of ugliness to new life, the comic.3 A whole treatise entitled The ^Esthetic of the Ugly* was published by Rosenkranz in 1853, presenting this concept as intermediate between the beautiful and the comic, and tracing it from its first origin to that "sort of perfection" it attains in the satanic. Passing from the common (Gemeine) which is the petty, the weak, the low, and the sub-species of the low, viz. the usual, the casual, the arbitrary and the crude, Rosenkranz goes on to describe the repugnant, trisected into the awkward, the dead and empty, and the horrible: thus he proceeds from tripartition to tripartition, dividing the horrible into the absurd, the nauseating and the wicked: the wicked into criminal, spectral and diabolical: the diabolical into demoniac, magical and satanic. He opposes the childish notion that ugliness acts as a foil to beauty in art, and justifies its introduction by the necessity for art to represent the entire appearance of the Idea; on the other hand he admits that the ugly
1 Cf. Hartmann, Deutsch. Asth. s. Kant, pp. 363-364.
2 Varies ub. Asth. p. 85.
1 Neue Vorschule d. Asth. Halle, 1837.
4 K. Rosenkranz, Asthetik des Hasslichtn, Konigsberg, 1853.
Passage from abstract to concrete: Vischer.
is not on the same level as the beautiful, for, if the beautiful can stand by itself alone, the other cannot do so and must always be reflected by and in the beautiful.1
The second form prevailed with Vischer. The following extract will serve as an illustration of his manner: "The Idea arouses itself from the tranquil unity in which it was fused with the appearance and pushes onward, affirming, in face of its own finitude, its infinity "; this rebellion and transcendence is the sublime. "But Beauty demands full satisfaction for this disruption of its harmony: the violated right of the image must be reasserted: this can be accomplished only by means of a fresh contradiction, that is to say by the negative position now taken up by the image towards the Idea by rejecting all interpenetration with it and by affirming its own separate existence as the whole "; this second moment is the comic, negation of a negation.2 The same process is further enriched and complicated by Zeising, who compares the modifications of Beauty to the refraction of colours: the three primary modifications, the sublime, the attractive and the humorous, correspond with the primary colours violet, orange and green; the three secondary, pure beauty, comic and tragic, to the colours red, yellow and blue. Each of these six modifications (exactly like the degrees of the Ugly in Rosenkranz) branches out, like fireworks, into three rays: pure beauty into the decorous, noble and pleasing: the attractive into graceful, interesting and piquant: the comic into buffoonery, the diverting and burlesque: the humorous into the quaint, capricious and melancholy: the tragic into the moving, pathetic and demoniac: the sublime into the glorious, majestic and imposing.3
All the works of this period on ^Esthetic are filled in this way with the gest, chanson or romaunt of the knight Sir Purebeauty (Reinschdn) and his extraordinary adventures, recounted in two conflicting versions. According to one story, Sir Purebeauty is constrained to abandon his beloved leisure by the Mephistophelean devices of the temptress Ugliness, who leads him into countless dangers from which he invariably emerges victorious; his victories and successes (his Marengo, Austerlitz and Jena) are called the Sublime, the Comic, the Humorous and so forth. The other story tells how the knight, bored by his life of loneliness, sallies forth purposely to seek adversaries and occasions for fighting; he is always vanquished, but even in his overthrow ferum victorem capit, he transforms and irradiates the enemy. Beyond this artificial mythology, this legend composed without the least imagination or literary skill, this miserably dull tale, it is vain to look for anything whatever in the much elaborated theory of German aestheticians known as the Modifications of Beautv.
The Legend of Sir Purebeauty.
1 Asth. d. Hdssl. pp. 36-40. • Asth. §§ 83-84, 154-155.
3 Asth. Forsch. p. 413.
ESTHETIC IN FRANCE, ENGLAND AND ITALY DURING THE FIRST HALF OF THE NINETEENTH CENTURY
In the last quarter of the eighteenth century and the first half of the nineteenth century German thought, notwithstanding the glaring errors which vitiated it, and were soon to bring about a violent and indeed exaggerated reaction, must on the whole be awarded the foremost place in the general history of European thought as well as in the individual study of ^Esthetic, the contemporary philosophy of other countries standing on an inferior level of the second and third degree. France still lay under the dominion of the sensationalism of Condillac and, at the opening of the century, was quite incapable of grasping the spiritual activity of art. A faint gleam of Winckelmann's abstract spiritualism just appears in the theories of Quatremere de Quincy, who, in criticism of Emeric-David (in his turn a critic of ideal beauty and an adherent of the imitation of nature),1 maintained that the arts of design have pure beauty, devoid of individual character, as their objective; they depict man and not men.2 Some sensationalists, such as Bonstetten, vainly endeavoured to trace the peculiar processes of imagination in life and in art.3 Followers of the orthodox spiritualism of the French universities date the beginning of a new era, and the foundation of ^Esthetic in France, to 1818, the year when Victor Cousin first delivered at the Sorbonne his lectures on the True, the Beautiful and the Good, which later formed his book with the same name, frequently reprinted.1 These lectures of Cousin are but poor stuff, although some scraps of Kant are to be found in them here and there; he denies the identity of the beautiful with the pleasant or useful, and substitutes the affirmation of a threefold beauty, physical, intellectual and moral, the last being the true ideal beauty, having its foundations in God; he says that art expresses ideal Beauty, the infinite, God, that genius is the power of creation, and that taste is a mixture of fancy, sentiment and reason.2 Academic phrases all of them; pompous and void and, for that very reason, well received. Of much greater value were the lectures on Esthetic delivered by Theodore Jouffroy in 1822, before a small audience, and published posthumously in 1843.3 Jouffroy allowed a beauty of expression, to be found alike in art and nature: a beauty of imitation, consisting in the perfect accuracy with which a model is reproduced: a beauty of idealisation, which reproduces the model, accentuating a particular quality in order to give it greater significance: and, finally, a beauty of the invisible or of content, reducible to force (physical, sensible, intellectual, moral), which, as force, awakens sympathy. Ugliness is the negation of this sympathetic beauty; its species or modifications are the sublime and the graceful. One sees that Jouffroy did not succeed in isolating the strictly aesthetic fact in his analysis and gave, instead of a scientific system, little beyond explanations of the use of words. He could not see or understand that expression, imitation and idealization are identical with each other and with artistic activity. Moreover he had many curious ideas, chiefly concerning expression. He said that if we were
1 Kim-rii -1 >.iviil, Recherches sur I'art du slatuaire chez Us anciens, Paris, 1805 (Ital. trans., Florence, 1857).
3 Quatremere de Quincy, Essai sur I'imitaticm dans les beaux arts, 1823.
* Recherches sur la nature et les lois de I'imagination, 1807.