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speaks, only remembering the author (who attitudinized as a disciple of Plato) by his eight characteristics of Beauty, derived by him from examination of a lily. The eight characteristics were as follows:–sufficient size of form, unity, variety, harmony, proportion, normal vivacity of colour, grace and propriety; ultimately reducible to two, size and order. As supplementary proof of the truth of his theory, Levèque applied it to three beautiful things: a child playing with its mother, a symphony of Beethoven and the life of a philosopher (Socrates). Really, it is somewhat difficult (says one of his fellow-spiritualists, venturing to comment on this doctrine though speaking with the utmost deference) to imagine what may be the normal vivacity of colour in the life of a philosopher." Translations and explanatory articles by Charles Bénard” and books by various writers belonging to French Switzerland (Töpffer, Pictet, Cherbuliez) were not successful in popularizing the German systems of Æsthetic in France. England showed even less disposition to interest herself, although John Ruskin may have some claim to be considered a metaphysical aesthetician with a distinctive national stamp. But it is difficult to treat of Ruskin in a history of science, for his temperament was wholly opposed to the scientific. His disposition was that of the artist, impressionable, excitable, voluble, rich in feeling ; a dogmatic tone and the appearance of theoretical form veil, in his exquisite and enthusiastic pages, a texture of dreams and fancies. The reader who recalls those pages will regard as irreverent any detailed and prosaic review of Ruskin's aesthetic thought, which must inevitably reveal its poverty and incoherence. Suffice it to say that, following a finalistic, mystical intuition of nature, he considered beauty as a revelation of divine intentions, the seal “God sets on his works, even upon the smallest.” For him the faculty which perceives the beautiful is neither intellect nor sensibility, but a particular feeling which he names the theoretic faculty. V Natural beauty, which reveals itself to a pure heart when contemplating any object untouched and unspoiled by the hand of man, asserts itself for this reason as immeasurably superior to any work of art. Ruskin was too hasty in analysis to understand the complicated psychological and aesthetic process which went on in his mind when he was moved to an artist's ecstasy by contemplating some humble natural object such as a bird's nest or a flowing rivulet." In Italy the Abate Tornasi wrote a half-Hegelian, halfCatholic AEsthetic, wherein the beautiful is identified with the second person of the Trinity, the Word made man ; * by this means he hoped to raise a bank of opposition against the liberal criticism of De Sanctis, whom he considered, from the sublime height of his own philosophy, as “a subtle grammarian.” Combined Giobertian and German, especially Hegelian, influence produced several works of secondary importance; De Meis developed at length the thesis of the death of Art in the historical world.” Somewhat later Gallo also treated AEsthetic from the Hegelian point of view,” and others repeated, nearly word for word, the doctrines of Schasler and Hartmann on the overcoming of the Ugly." The only genuine Italian teacher of metaphysical AEsthetic according to the Germans was Antonio Tari, who lectured on this very subject in Naples University from 1861 to 1884. He had a meticulous and superstitiously minute knowledge of everything that issued from German printing-presses, and was the author of an Ideal AEsthetic as well as essays on style, taste, serious work and play (Spiel), music and architecture, wherein he tried to keep the mean between the idealism of Hegel and the formalism of Herbart : * his * J. Ruskin, Modern Painters (4th ed., London, 1891); cf. De la Sizeranne, pp. 112-278. * Vito Fornari, Arte del dire, Naples, 1866–1872; cf. vol. iv. * A. C. De Meis, Dopo la laurea, Bologna, 1868–1869. * Nic. Gallo, L’ idealismo e la letteratura, Rome, 188o ; La scienza dell'arte, Turin, 1887. * E.g. F. Masci, Psicologia del comico, Naples, 1888.
* E. Saisset, L'Esthétique française (in app. to vol. L'Ame et la vie,
* Estetica ideale, Naples, 1863; Saggi di critica (collected posthumously), Trani, 1886.
lectures on AEsthetic attracted huge throngs and were one of the regular sights in the noisy, crowded Neapolitan university. Tari divided his treatment under three heads, AEsthesinomy, AEsthesigraphy and AEsthesipraxis, corresponding to the Metaphysic of the beautiful, to the doctrine of beauty in nature, and to that of beauty in art ; like the German idealists, he defined the aesthetic sphere as intermediate between the theoretical and practical :
he says emphatically that “in the world of spirit the
temperate zone is equidistant from the glacial, peopled by the Esquimaux of thought, and from the torrid, peopled by the giants of action.” He pulled Beauty from her throne, substituting in her stead the AEsthetic, of which Beauty is but an initial moment, the simple “beginning of aesthetic life, eternal mortality, flower and fruit in one,” whose successive moments are represented by the Sublime, the Comic, the Humorous, and the Dramatic. But the most attractive part of Tari's lectures was that devoted to Æsthesigraphy, subdivided into Cosmography, Physiography and Psychography, in the course of which he frequently quoted Vischer with great devotion; “the great Vischer ” as he called him, in imitation of whom he constructed his own “aesthetic physics,” brightening it with much varied erudition and enlivening it with quaint comparisons. Is he speaking of beauty in inorganic nature—water, for example 2 He says in his fanciful manner, “When water ripples in the sunshine, in that act it has its smile ; it has its frown in the breaking wave, its caprice in the fountain, its majestic fury in the foam.” Is he speaking of geological configuration ? “The vale, cradle perchance of the human race, is idyllic ; the plain, monotonous but fat, is didactic.” Of metals 2 “Gold is born great; iron, the apotheosis of human toil, achieves greatness; the former boasts of its cradle when it does not bring it to dishonour; the latter causes it to be forgotten.” He looked on vegetable life as a dream, repeating Herder's fine saying that the plant is “the new-born babe that hangs sucking upon the breast of mother nature.” He divided vegetables into three types:
foliaceous, ramified and umbelliferous: “the foliaceous type,” he says, “attains gigantic proportions in the tropics, where the queen of monocotyledons, the Palm-tree, represents despotism, the human Scourge of those desert regions. Of that Solitary pinnacle, all crown, the negro may well be identified as the reptile that crawls round its base.” Amongst flowers, the carnation is “symbol of betrayal, by reason of the variegation of its colours and its deeply-dissected petals"; the celebrated comparison by Ariosto of a rose with a young girl is permissible only when the flower is still in bud, because “when it has unfolded its petals, disdaining the protection of thorns, displaying itself in all the pomp of its full colour, and boldly asking to be plucked by any hand, then it is woman, all woman, to call it by no harsher name, giving pleasure without feeling it, simulating love by its perfume and modesty by the crimson of its petals.” He searches for and comments upon analogies between certain fruits and certain flowers; between the strawberry, for instance, and the violet ; between the orange and the rose; he admired “the luxuriant spirals and the delicate architecture of a bunch of grapes”: the mandarin-orange reminded him of the nobleman qui s'est donné la peine de maitre ; the fig, on the contrary, was the great country bumpkin, “rough, rude, but profitable.” In the animal kingdom, the spider symbolized primitive isolation ; the bee, monasticism ; the ant, republicanism. He noted, with Michelet, that the spider is a living paralogism ; it cannot feed itself without its web, and it cannot spin its web without feeding. Fish he condemns as unaesthetic : “they are of stupid appearance with their wide - open eyes and incessant gaping, which makes them look voraciously gluttonous.” Not so with amphibians, for which he entertains a sympathy: the frog and the crocodile, “alpha and omega of the family, start from the comical, or even the scurrilous, and attain the sublimity of the horrid.” Birds are especially aesthetic by nature, “possessing the three most genial attributes of a living being: love, song, and flight”; moreover, they present contrasts and antitheses: “opposite to the eagle, queen of the skies, stands the swan, the mild king of the marshes; the libertine vainglorious cock has its contrast in the humble uxorious turtle-dove ; the magnificent peacock is balanced by the rude and rustic turkey.” Amongst mammals, nature compensates for defects of pure beauty by dramatic value; if they cannot throw their song into the air, they have the rudiments of speech ; if they have no variegated, myriad-hued plumage, they have dark, heavily-marked colouring, instinct with life; if they cannot fly, they have many other modes of powerful progression ; and, the higher they go, the more do they attain individuality in appearance and life. “The epic of animal life is comedy in the donkey, iniquae mentis asellus ; idyl in the great wild beasts; downright tragedy in the Kaffir bull, that cloven-hoofed Codrus, who gives himself voluntarily to the lion in order to save the herd.” As amongst birds, so amongst beasts attractive contrasts are to be made –the lamb and the kid seem to typify Jesus and the devil; dog and cat, abnegation and egoism; hare and fox, the foolish simpleton and crafty villain. Many quaint and subtle observations does Tari let fall on human beauty and the relative beautyof the sexes, allowing the female to have charm, not beauty: “bodily beauty is poise, and woman's body is so ill-poised that she falls easily when running ; made for child-bearing, she has knock-kneed legs, adapted to support the large pelvis; her shoulders have a curve compensating the convexity of the chest.” He describes the various parts of the body: “curly hair expresses physical force; straight hair, moral ”; “blue, napoleonic eyes have sometimes a depth like the sea ; green eyes have a melancholy fascination ; grey eyes are wanting in individuality; black eyes are the most intensely individual’’; “a lovely mouth has been best described by Heine; two lips evenly matched ; to lovers the mouth will rather seem a shell whose pearl is the kiss.” 1