Immagini della pagina

“in ultimate analysis they must be reduced to the same principles.” 1

The purely psychological and associationistic tendency Psychological becomes clearly defined in Professor Teodor Lipps and tendency:

Teodor Lipps. his school. Lipps criticizes and rejects a whole series of æsthetic theories : (a) of play ; (b) of pleasure ; (c) of art as recognition of real life, even if displeasing ; (d) of emotion and passional excitation ; (e) syncretism, attributing to art beside the primary purpose of play and pleasure the further ends of recognition of life, in its reality, revelation of individuality, commotion, freedom from a weight, or free play of the imagination. His theory differs little at bottom from that of Jouffroy, for in his thesis he assumes artistic beauty to be the sympathetic. “The object of sympathy is our objectified ego, transposed into others and therefore discovered in them. We feel ourselves in others and we feel others in ourselves. In others, or by means of them, we feel ourselves happy, free, enlarged, elevated, or the contrary of all these. The æsthetic feeling of sympathy is not a mere mode of æsthetic enjoyment, it is that enjoyment itself. All æsthetic enjoyment is founded, in the last analysis, singly and wholly upon sympathy; even that caused by geometrical, architectonic, tectonic, ceramic, etc., lines and forms.” “Whenever in a work of art we find a personality (not a defect of the man, but something positively human) which harmonizes with and awakes an echo in the possibilities and tendencies of our own life and vital activities : whenever we find positive, objective humanity, pure and free from all real interests lying outside the work of art, as art only can reproduce it and æsthetic contemplation alone can demand ; the harmony, the resonance, fills us with joy. The value of personality is ethical value : outside it there is no possibility or determination of ethical character. All artistic and in general æsthetic enjoyment is, therefore, the enjoyment of something which has ethical value (eines ethische

1 Friedr. Jodl, Lehrb. der Psychologie, Stuttgart, 1896, § 53, pp. 404414,

K. Groos.

Werthvollen); not as element of a complex, but as object of æsthetic intuition.

The desthetic fact is thus deprived of all its own value and allowed merely a reflexion from the value of morality.

Without lingering over Lipps's pupils (such as Stern and others 2) and writers of similar tendency (such as Biese, with his theory of anthropomorphism and universal metaphor ; ? or Konrad Lange, who propounds a thesis that art is conscious self-deception)," we will call attention to Professor Karl Groos (1892), who comes within measurable distance of the concept of æsthetic activity as a theoretic value. Between the two poles of consciousness, sensibility and intellect, are several intermediate grades, amongst which lies intuition or fancy, whose product, the image or appearance (Schein), is midway between sensation and concept. The image is full like sensation, but regulated like the concept; it has neither the inexhaustible richness of the former, or the barren nudity of the latter. Of the nature of image or appearance is the æsthetic fact; which is distinguished from the simple, ordinary image not by its quality, but by its intensity alone : the æsthetic image is merely a simple image occupying the summit of consciousness. Representations pass through consciousness like a crowd of people hurrying over a bridge, each bent on his own business; but when a passer-by halts on the bridge and looks at the scene, then is it holiday, then arises the æsthetic fact. This is therefore not passivity but activity; according to the formula adopted by Groos it is internal imitation (innere Nachahnung). It may be objected against the theory

1 Komik und Humor, eine psychol. ästhet. Untersuch., HamburgLeipzig, pp. 223-227.

• Paul Stern, Einfühling u. Association i. d. neueren Asth., 1898, in Beiträge z. A sth., ed. Lipps and R. M. Werner (Hamburg-Leipzig).

3 Alfr. Biese, Das Associationsprincip u. d. Anthropomorphismus i. d. Asth., 1890; Die Philosophie des Metaphorischen, Hamburg-Leipzig, 1893

* Konrad Lange, Die bewusste Selbsttäuschung als Kern des künstlerischen Genusses, Leipzig, 1895.

• Karl Groos, Einleitung i. d. Asthetik, Giessen, 1892.
• Op. cit. pp. 6-46, 83-100.

that every image, so far as it is an image at all, must occupy the summit of consciousness if only for an instant ; and that the mere image is either the product of an activity just as is the æsthetic image, or it is not a real image at all. It may also be objected that the definition of the image as something sharing in the nature of sensation and concept may lead back to intellectual intuition and the other mysterious faculties of the metaphysical school, for which Groos professes abhorrence. His division of the æsthetic fact into form and content is even less happy. He recognizes four classes of content : associative in the strict sense), symbolic, typical, individual : 1 and into his inquiries he introduces, quite unnecessarily, the concepts of infusion of personality and of play. In connexion with the latter he remarks that "internal imitation is the noblest game of man,” 2 and adds that “the concept of play applies fully to contemplation, but not to æsthetic production, save in the case of primitive peoples.”3

Groos does however free himself from the “ modifica- The tions of Beauty,” because, æsthetic activity having been modifications, identified with internal imitation, it is clear that what- in Groos

and Lipps. ever is not internal imitation is excluded from that activity as something different. “All Beauty (beauty understood in the sense of ' sympathetic ') belongs to the æsthetic activity, but not every æsthetic fact is beautiful.” Beauty, then, is the representation of the sensuously pleasant; ugliness, the representation of the unpleasant ; the sublime, that of a mighty thing (Gewaltiges) in a simple form; the comic, that of an inferiority which arouses in us a pleasing sense of our own superiority. And so forth. With great good sense Groos holds up to derision the office assigned to the ugly by Schasler and Hartmann with their superficial dialectic. To say that an ellipse contains an element of ugliness in comparison with the circle because it is symmetrical about its two axes only and not about infinite diameters is like saying "wine has a relatively unpleasant taste because in it is lacking

1 Einleitung i. d. A sth. pp. 100-147. 2 Op. cit. pp. 168-170.
3 Op. cit. pp. 175-176. 4 Op. cit. Pp. 46-50, and all part iii.

(ist aufgehoben) the pleasant taste of beer."1 Lipps too, in his writings upon Æsthetic, recognizes that the comic (of which he gives an accurate psychological analysis) a has in itself no æsthetic value ; but his moralistic views lead him to outline a theory of it not unlike that of the overcoming of the ugly; he explains it as a process leading

to a higher æsthetic value (i.e. sympathy). E, Véron and Work such as that of Groos and, occasionally, of Lipps the double form is of some value towards the elimination of errors, as well of Æsthetic.

as confining æsthetic research to the field of internal analysis. Merit of the same kind belongs to the work of a Frenchman, Véron, who controverts the Absolute Beauty of academical Æsthetic and, after accusing Taine of confounding Art with Science and Æsthetic with Logic, remarks that if it be the duty of art to make manifest the essence of things, their one dominating quality, then “the greatest artists would be those who have best succeeded in exhibiting this essence . . . and the greatest works would resemble each other more closely than any others and would clearly demonstrate their common identity, whereas the exact opposite happens.” 5 But one looks in vain for scientific method in Véron ; a precursor of Guyau, he asserts that art is at bottom two different things; there are two arts : one decorative, whose end is beauty, that is to say the pleasure of eye and ear resulting from determinate dispositions of lines, forms, colours, sounds, rhythms, movements, light and shade, without necessary interventions of ideas and feelings, and capable of being studied by Optics and Acoustics: the other, expressive, which gives “the agitated expression of human personality.” He considers that decorative art prevails in the ancient world, and expressive art in the modern.?

We cannot here examine in detail the æsthetic theories

1 Einleitung i. d. A sth. p. 292, note. ? See above, pp. 91-92.
3 Komik und Humor, p. 199 seqq.
· Eug. Véron, L'Esthétique, 2nd ed., Paris, 1883.
Op. cit. p. 89.

. See above, pp. 399-400. ? Esthétique, pp. 38, 109, 123 seqq.

of artists and men of letters; the scientific and historicist prejudices, the theory of experiment and human document, which underlie the realism of Zola, or the moralism which underlies the problem-art of Ibsen and the Scandinavian school. Gustave Flaubert wrote of art profoundly, better perhaps than any other Frenchman has ever written, not in special treatises but throughout his letters, which were published after his death.1 Under the influence of Véron and his hatred for the concept of beauty, Leo Tolstoy wrote his book on art,2 L. Tolstoy. which, according to the great Russian artist, communicates feelings in the same way in which words communicate thoughts. The meaning of this theory is made clear by the parallel he drew between Art and Science, and his conclusion that “the mission of art is to render sensible and capable of assimilation that which could not be assimilated under the form of argumentation”; and that“ true science examines truths considered as important for a certain society at a given epoch and fixes them in the consciousness of man, whereas art transports them from the domain of knowledge to that of feeling.” 3 There is therefore no such thing as art for art's sake, any more than science for science' sake. Every human function should be directed to increase morality and to suppress violence. This amounts to saying that nearly all art, from the beginning of the world, is false. Aeschylus, Sophocles, Euripides, Aristophanes, Dante, Tasso, Milton, Shakespeare, Raphael, Michael Angelo, Bach, Beethoven are (according to Tolstoy) artificial reputations created by critics.” 4

Amongst artists rather than amongst philosophers must F. Nietzsche. be reckoned Friedrich Nietzsche, whom we should wrong (as we said of Ruskin) by trying to expound his æsthetic doctrines in scientific language and then holding them up to the facile criticism which, so translated, they would draw upon themselves. In none of his books, not even in

1 Correspondance, 1830-1880, 4 vols., new ed., Paris, 1902-1904. 2 What is Art ? Eng. tr.

8 Op. cit. Pp. 171-172, 308. * Op. cit. Pp. 201-202.

« IndietroContinua »