Presentation on theme: "THEORIES ON ART &BEAUTY Plato-Aristotle-Tolstoy-."— Presentation transcript:
THEORIES ON ART &BEAUTY Plato-Aristotle-Tolstoy-
PLATO ON ART Found the arts threatening. He proposed sending the poets and playwrights out of his ideal Republic, or at least censoring what they wrote; and he wanted music and painting severely censored. The arts, he thought, are powerful shapers of character. Thus, to train and protect ideal citizens for an ideal society, the arts must be strictly controlled. Although he approved of certain religious and moralistic kinds of art. Again, his approach is related to his theory of Forms. Plato had a love-hate relationship with the arts.
THE THEORY OF FORMS Forms are perfect Ideals, but they are also more real than physical objects. He called them "the Really Real". The world of the Forms is rational and unchanging; the world of physical appearances is changeable and irrational, and only has reality to the extent that it succeeds in imitating the Forms. Plato saw the changing physical world as a poor, decaying copy of a perfect, rational, eternal, and changeless original. A beautiful flower, for example, is a copy or imitation of the universal Forms "flower ness" and "beauty." The physical flower is one step removed from reality, that is, the Forms. A picture of the flower is, therefore, two steps removed from reality. This also meant that the artist is two steps removed from knowledge, and, indeed, Plato's frequent criticism of the artists is that they lack genuine knowledge of what they are doing. Artistic creation, Plato observed, seems to be rooted in a kind of inspired madness.
According to this theory, since art imitates physical things, which in turn imitate the Forms, art is always a copy of a copy (form), and leads us even further from truth and toward illusion. (Which can be dangerous) According to this theory the artist, perhaps by divine inspiration, makes a better copy of the True than may be found in ordinary experience. Thus the artist is a kind of prophet. Here are some features of the two theories: PLATO HAD TWO THEORIES OF ART Poetry, drama, music, painting, dance, all stir up our emotions. All of the arts move people powerfully. They can strongly influence our behaviour, and even our character. For that reason Plato insisted that art (especially music), along with poetry and drama and the other arts, should be part of the education of young citizens in his ideal republic, but should be strictly censored to present, at first, only the good. 1. Art is Imitation 2. Art is powerful, and therefore dangerous
PROBLEMS WITH THE IMITATION THEORY. With an artist like Jackson Pollack it leaves out everything; what do his drip paintings imitate? And how is the theory supposed to work for music? What does music represent? Plato spoke about music representing natural sounds, and emotions, as did Aristotle. But even if one agrees that music imitates emotions, could one build a theory of music out of this fact alone?
ARISTOTLE ON ART Art is imitation, and that’s all right, even good. Art is defined by Aristotle as the realization in external form of a true idea, and is traced back to that natural love of imitation which characterizes humans, and to the pleasure which we feel in recognizing likenesses. Good art, is positive, constructive, and should play an important role in social life.
However art is not limited to mere copying. It idealizes nature and completes its deficiencies: it seeks to grasp the universal type in the individual phenomenon
Imitation is natural to humans from childhood, it is how children learn, and we all learn from imitation. Tragedy can be a form of education that provides moral insight and fosters emotional growth. Tragedy is the imitation of certain kinds of people and actions.
TOLSTOY ON ART Bio Born One of the immortal geniuses of European literature. Wrote, War and Peace& Anna Karenina He underwent a deep religious conversion and adopted a life of peasant simplicity Leo Tolstoy’s What is Art? (1896) Is a treatise concerning the nature and purpose of art, describing how art can express moral values
Tolstoy argues that there are two basic means by which human beings communicate with one another. 1) SPEECH- Men and Women Communicate their thoughts through speech. 2) ART- Men and Women Communicate their feelings through art. Tolstoy felt that feelings are infectious. Example Laughter. (Tolstoy describes art in this way)
“To evoke in oneself a feeling one has experienced, and having evoked it in oneself, then, by means of movements, lines, colors, sounds, or forms expressed in words, so to transmit that feeling that others may experience the same feeling-this is the activity of art.” “Art is a human activity consisting in this, that one man consciously, by means of certain external signs, hands on to others feelings he has lived through, and that other people are infected by these feelings and also experience them.” -Tolstoy, What is Art?
The stronger the infectiousness the better the art is. Tolstoy defines art in terms of its ability to communicate concepts of morality. (Art does not produce beauty) Art does not belong to any particular class of society. To limit the subject matter of art to the experiences of a particular class of society is to deny that art can be important for all of society. Good art is intelligible (understandable) and comprehensible. Bad art is unintelligible and incomprehensible. The more that art restricts itself to a particular audience, the more obscure and incomprehensible it becomes to people outside that particular audience. Tolstoy believes that art is good if it is judged to be good by the majority of people. Indeed, he claims that a great work of art is only great if it can be understood by everyone.
SHOW & TELL Bring in something to tomorrows class that you consider to be beautiful. You will explain to the class why you feel your ‘thing’ is beautiful.