By W. Tatarkiewicz
The heritage of aesthetics, just like the histories of alternative sciences, could be taken care of in a two-fold demeanour: because the background of the lads who created the sphere of research, or because the heritage of the questions which were raised and resolved during its pursuit. the sooner historical past of Aesthetics (3 volumes, 1960-68, English-language version 1970-74) by way of the writer of the current publication used to be a background of guys, of writers and artists who in centuries earlier have spoken up referring to good looks and artwork, shape and crea tivity. the current ebook returns to an identical topic, yet treats it another way: because the historical past of aesthetic questions, thoughts, theories. the problem of the 2 books, the former and the current, is partially an analogous; yet simply partly: for the sooner e-book ended with the seventeenth century, whereas the current one brings the topic as much as our personal occasions. And from the 18th century to the 20 th a lot occurred in aesthetics; it was once merely in that interval that aesthetics completed acceptance as a separate technology, acquired a reputation of its personal, and produced theories that early students and artists had by no means dreamed of.
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Extra info for A History of Six Ideas: An Essay in Aesthetics
3) The distinguishing feauture of art is the creation of forms. Art is the shaping of things or, to put it differently, the constructing of things. It endows matter and spirit with form. , 1I05a 27) that "naught is to be demanded of works of art except that they should have form". However, it was not until the twentieth century that this was made part of a definition of art. The first to do so, and in a very radical way, were the Englishmen Clive Bell and Roger Fry, and the Pole, Stanislaw Ignacy Witkiewicz (1885-1939).
DISPUTES OVER THE CONCEPT OF ART Our age has inherited the definition which states that art is the production of beauty, and the supplementary one which says that art imitates nature. Neither, however, has proven really adequate, and this has prompted I. ART the search for new and better definitions. There is no lack of them. Some had already made their appearance at the turn of the century. The generic category to which art belongs has never been questioned: art is a conscious human activity. Controversy turns on what it is that distinguishes art from other kinds of conscious human activity, in other words, on its specific difference.
The former give a certain permanence to what is, the latter construct what is not. From the point of view of value: In many works this value is beauty, but others will excel rather in grace, delicacy, sublimity and other artistic I. ART values which, as M. Beardsley has recently stressed (Aesthetic Experience Regained, 1969), are beyond count. e. a statement in the form 'either - or'. If, for instance, we want to define art by its intention, we shall say that this intention is the need either to capture reality, or to shape, or to express an experience.