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that the content is that which is convertible into form, but it has no determinable qualities until this transformation takes place. We know nothing of its nature. It does not become æsthetic content at once, but only when it has been effectively transformed. Esthetic content has also been defined as what is interesting. That is not an untrue statement; it is merely void of meaning. What, then, is interesting? Expressive activity? Certainly the expressive activity would not have raised the content to the dignity of form, had it not been interested. The fact of its having been interested is precisely the fact of its raising the content to the dignity of form. But the word "interesting" has also been employed in another not illegitimate sense, which we shall explain further on.

imitation of

the artistic


The proposition that art is imitation of nature Critique of the has also several meanings. Now truth has been nature and of maintained or at least shadowed with these words, now error. More frequently, nothing definite has been thought. One of the legitimate scientific meanings occurs when imitation is understood as representation or intuition of nature, a form of knowledge. And when this meaning has been understood, by placing in greater relief the spiritual character of the process, the other

proposition becomes also legitimate: namely, that art is the idealization or idealizing imitation of nature. But if by imitation of nature be understood that art gives mechanical reproductions, more or less perfect duplicates of natural objects, before which the same tumult of impressions caused by natural objects begins over again, then the proposition is evidently false. The painted wax figures that seem to be alive, and before which we stand astonished in the museums where such things are shown, do not give æsthetic intuitions. Illusion and hallucination have nothing to do with the calm domain of artistic intuition. If an artist paint the interior of a wax-work museum, or if an actor give a burlesque portrait of a man-statue on the stage, we again have spiritual labour and artistic intuition. Finally, if photography have anything in it of artistic, it will be to the extent that it transmits the intuition of the photographer, his point of view, the pose and the grouping which he has striven to attain, And if it be not altogether art, that is precisely because the element of nature in it remains more or less insubordinate and ineradicable. Do we ever, indeed, feel complete satisfaction before even the best of photographs? Would not an artist

vary and touch up much or little, remove or add something to any of them?

conceived as a

not a theoretical


The statements repeated so often, with others Critique of art similar, that art is not knowledge, that it does sentimental not tell the truth, that it does not belong to the fact. Esthetic world of theory, but to the world of feeling, arise and feeling. from the failure to realize exactly the theoretic character of the simple intuition. This simple intuition is quite distinct from intellectual knowledge, as it is distinct from the perception of the real. The belief that only the intellective is knowledge, or at the most also the perception of the real, also arises from the failure to grasp the theoretic character of the simple intuition. We have seen that intuition is knowledge, free of concepts and more simple than the so-called perception of the real. Since art is knowledge

and form, it does not belong to the world of feeling and of psychic material. The reason why so many æstheticians have so often insisted that art is appearance (Schein), is precisely because they have felt the necessity of distinguishing it from the more complex fact of perception by maintaining its pure intuitivity. For the same reason it has been claimed that art is sentiment. In fact, if the concept as content of art, and historical reality as such, be excluded,

Critique of the theory of

there remains no other content than reality apprehended in all its ingenuousness and immediateness in the vital effort, in sentiment, that is to say, pure intuition.

The theory of the asthetic senses has also aesthetic senses. arisen from the failure to establish, or from having lost to view the character of the expression as distinct from the impression, of the form as distinct from the matter.

As has just been pointed out, this reduces itself to the error of wishing to seek a passage from the quality of the content to that of the form. To ask, in fact, what the æsthetic senses may be, implies asking what sensible impressions may be able to enter into æsthetic expressions, and what must of necessity do so. To this we must at once reply, that all impressions can enter into æsthetic expressions or formations, but that none are bound to do so. Dante raised to the dignity of form not only the "sweet colour of the oriental sapphire" (visual impression), but also tactile or thermic impressions, such as the "thick air" and the "fresh rivulets" which "parch all the more" the throat of the thirsty. The belief that a picture yields only visual impressions is a curious illusion. The bloom of a cheek, the warmth of a youthful

body, the sweetness and freshness of a fruit, the cutting of a sharpened blade, are not these, also, impressions that we have from a picture? Maybe they are visual? What would a picture be for a hypothetical man, deprived of all or many of his senses, who should in an instant acquire the sole organ of sight? The picture we are standing opposite and believe we see only with our eyes, would appear to his eyes as little more than the paint-smeared palette of a painter.

Some who hold firmly to the aesthetic character of given groups of impressions (for example, the visual, the auditive), and exclude others, admit, however, that if visual and auditive impressions enter directly into the æsthetic fact, those of the other senses also enter into it, but only as as associated. But this distinction is altogether arbitrary. Esthetic expression is a synthesis, in which it is impossible to distinguish direct and indirect. All impressions are by it placed on a level, in so far as they are æstheticised. He who takes into himself the image of a picture or of a poem does not experience, as it were, a series of impressions as to this image, some of which have a prerogative or precedence over others. And nothing is known of what happens prior to having received it, for

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