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The process is external to the aesthetic fact in this case also; for the only feeling linked with that is the feeling of æsthetic value and disvalue, of the beautiful and of the ugly. The Dantesque Farinata is æsthetically beautiful, and nothing but beautiful: if, in addition, the force of will of this personage appear sublime, or the expression that Dante gives him, by reason of his great genius, seem sublime by comparison with that of a less energetic poet, all this is not a matter for æsthetic consideration. This consists always and only in adequation to truth; that is, in beauty.
THE SO-CALLED PHYSICALLY BEAUTIFUL IN
NATURE AND ART
ESTHETIC activity is distinct from practical Esthetic activity, but when it expresses itself is always physical accompanied by practical activity. Hence its utilitarian or hedonistic side, and the pleasure and pain, which are, as it were, the practical echo of æsthetic values and disvalues, of the beautiful and of the ugly. But this practical side of the æsthetic activity has also, in its turn, a physical or psychophysical accompaniment, which consists of sounds, tones, movements, combinations of lines and colours, and so on.
Does it really possess this side, or does it only seem to possess it, as the result of the construction which we raise in physical science, and of the useful and arbitrary methods, which we have shown to be proper to the empirical and abstract sciences? Our reply cannot be doubtful, that is, it cannot be affirmative as to the first of the two hypotheses.
the aesthetic sense, and expression in
However, it will be better to leave it at this point in suspense, for it is not at present necessary to prosecute this line of inquiry any further. The mention already made must suffice to prevent our having spoken of the physical element as of something objective and existing, for reasons of simplicity and adhesion to ordinary language, from leading to hasty conclusions as to the concepts and the connexion between spirit and
It is important to make clear that as the existence of the hedonistic side in every spiritual the naturalistic activity has given rise to the confusion between the aesthetic activity and the useful or pleasurable, so the existence, or, better, the possibility of constructing this physical side, has generated the confusion between asthetic expression and expression in the naturalistic sense; between a spiritual fact, that is to say, and a mechanical and passive fact (not to say, between a concrete reality and an abstraction or fiction). In common speech, sometimes it is the words of the poet that are called expressions, the notes of the musician, or the figures of the painter; sometimes the blush which is wont to accompany the feeling of shame, the pallor resulting from fear, the grinding of the teeth proper to violent anger, the glittering of
the eyes, and certain movements of the muscles of the mouth, which reveal cheerfulness. A certain degree of heat is also said to be the expression of fever, as the falling of the barometer is of rain, and even that the height of the rate of exchange expresses the discredit of the papermoney of a State, or social discontent the approach of a revolution. One can well imagine what sort of scientific results would be attained by allowing oneself to be governed by linguistic usage and placing in one sheaf facts so widely different. But there is, in fact, an abyss between a man who is the prey of anger with all its natural manifestations, and another man who expresses it æsthetically; between the aspect, the cries, and the contortions of one who is tortured with sorrow at the loss of a dear one, and the words or song with which the same individual portrays his torture at another moment; between the distortion of emotion and the gesture of the actor. Darwin's book on the expression of the feelings in man and animals does not belong to Esthetic; because there is nothing in common between the science of spiritual expression and a Semiotic, whether it be medical, meteorological, political, physiognomic, or chiromantic.
Expression in the naturalistic sense simply
Intuitions and memory.
lacks expression in the spiritual sense, that is to say, the characteristic itself of activity and of spirituality, and therefore the bipartition into poles of beauty and of ugliness. It is nothing more than a relation between cause and effect, fixed by the abstract intellect. The complete process of æsthetic production can be symbolized in four steps, which are: a, impressions; b, expression or spiritual æsthetic synthesis; c, hedonistic accompaniment, or pleasure of the beautiful (æsthetic pleasure); d, translation of the æsthetic fact into physical phenomena (sounds, tones, movements, combinations of lines and colours, etc.). Anyone can see that the capital point, the only one that is properly speaking æsthetic and truly real, is in that b, which is lacking to the mere manifestation or naturalistic construction, metaphorically also called expression.
The expressive process is exhausted when those four steps have been taken. It begins again with new impressions, a new æsthetic synthesis, and relative accompaniments.
Expressions or representations follow and expel one another. Certainly, this passing away, this disassociation, is not perishing, it is not total elimination nothing of what is born dies with