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He was certainly incapable of drawing a figure like Raphael, or of colouring it like Titian; but was Raphael or Titian by any chance capable of creating the Matrimonio di San Francesco con la Povertà, or the Morte di San Francesco? The spirit of Giotto had not felt the attraction of the body beautiful, which the Renaissance studied and raised to a place of honour; but the spirits of Raphael and of Titian were no longer curious of certain movements of ardour and of tenderness, which attracted the man of the fourteenth century. How, then, can a comparison be made, where there is no comparative term?
They are as
The celebrated divisions of the history of art suffer from the same defect. follows: an oriental period, representing a disequilibrium between idea and form, with prevalence of the second; a classical, representing an equilibrium between idea and form; a romantic, representing a new disequilibrium between idea and form, with prevalence of the idea. There are also the divisions into oriental art, representing imperfection of form; classical, perfection of form; romantic or modern, perfection of content and of form. Thus classic and romantic have also received, among their many other meanings, that of progressive or
regressive periods, in respect to the realization of some indefinite artistic ideal of humanity.
There is no such thing, then, as an æsthetic progress of humanity. However, by æsthetic progress is sometimes meant, not what the two words coupled together really signify, but the ever-increasing accumulation of our historical knowledge, which makes us able to sympathize with all the artistic products of all peoples and of all times, or, as is said, to make our taste more catholic. The difference appears very great, if the eighteenth century, so incapable of escaping from itself, be compared with our own time, which enjoys alike Hellenic and Roman art, now better understood, Byzantine, mediæval, Arabic, and Renaissance art, the art of the Cinque Cento, baroque art, and the art of the seventeenth century. Egyptian, Babylonian, Etruscan, and even prehistoric art, are more profoundly studied every day. Certainly, the difference between the savage and civilized man does not lie in the human faculties. The savage has speech, intellect, religion, and morality, in common with civilized man, and he is a complete man. The only difference lies in that civilized man penetrates and dominates a larger portion of the universe with his theoretic and practical activity.
We cannot claim to be more spiritually alert than, for example, the contemporaries of Pericles; but no one can deny that we are richer than they -rich with their riches and with those of how many other peoples and generations besides our own?
By æsthetic progress is also meant, in another sense, which is also improper, the greater abundance of artistic intuitions and the smaller number of imperfect or decadent works which one epoch produces in respect to another. it may be said that there was æsthetic progress, an artistic awakening, at the end of the thirteenth or of the fifteenth centuries.
Finally, æsthetic progress is talked of, with an eye to the refinement and to the psychical complications exhibited in the works of art of the most civilized peoples, as compared with those of less civilized peoples, barbarians and savages. But in this case, the progress is that of the complex conditions of society, not of the artistic activity, to which the material is indifferent.
These are the most important points concerning the method of artistic and literary history.
IDENTITY OF LINGUISTIC AND ÆSTHETIC
Summary of A GLANCE over the path traversed will show that we have completed the entire programme of our
treatise. We have studied the nature of intuitive or expressive knowledge, which is the æsthetic or artistic fact (I. and II.), and we have described the other form of knowledge, namely, the intellectual, with the secondary complications of its forms (III.). Having done this, it became possible to criticize all erroneous theories of art, which arise from the confusion between the various forms, and from the undue transference of the characteristics of one form to those of another (IV.), and in so doing to indicate the inverse errors which are found in the theory of intellectual knowledge and of historiography (V.). Passing on to examine the relations between the aesthetic activity and the other spiritual activities, no longer theoretic but practical, we have indicated the true
character of the practical activity and the place which it occupies in respect to the theoretic activity, which it follows: hence the critique of the invasion of aesthetic theory by practical concepts (VI.). We have also distinguished the two forms of the practical activity, as economic and ethic (VII.), adding to this the statement that there are no other forms of the spirit beyond the four which we have analyzed; hence (VIII.) the critique of every metaphysical Esthetic. And, seeing that there exist no other spiritual forms of equal degree, therefore there are no original subdivisions of the four established, and in particular of Esthetic. From this arises the impossibility of classes of expressions and the critique of Rhetoric, that is, of the partition of expressions into simple and ornate, and of their subclasses (IX.). But, by the law of the unity of the spirit, the æsthetic fact is also a practical fact, and as such, occasions pleasure and pain. This led us to study the feelings of value in general, and those of æsthetic value, or of the beautiful, in particular (X.), to criticize æsthetic hedonism in all its various manifestations and complications (XI.), and to expel from the system of Esthetic the long series of pseudo-æsthetic concepts, which had been introduced into it (XII.). Proceeding