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Unformatted text preview: Art, Love, and Beauty 1 1/15/08 Harries 1 1. Introduction 1 Let me begin by saying a few words about how this course relates to another course I have been teaching off and on, called the History of Aesthetics. In course critiques and conversations the question kept returning why I had left out certain thinkers. Schopenhauer and especially Nietzsche were most often mentioned. All I could say was that there wasn't enough time: so Schopenhauer and Nietzsche were left out. In this course, on the other hand, I shall spend quite a lot of time on them, as you can see from the course syllabus. As a matter of fact there is very little overlap between the two courses. Plato of course figured also in the History of Aesthetics , but in that course I read selections from quite a variety of dialogues; this time, on the other hand, I will go rather carefully over just one dialogue, the Symposium . Kant figured in the History of Aesthetics as well. But in this course he will be placed in a quite different context. To repeat: everything considered there is indeed little overlap between the two courses. The philosophy of art, you might say, is done now in a different key. There is indeed a sense in which this course calls into question the very idea of aesthetics by exhibiting and challenging certain key assumptions commonly made about art, assumptions that underlie the aesthetic approach. These assumptions turn on the relationship between Art, Love, and Beauty 1 1/15/08 Harries 2 beauty and art one side and love on the other. Hence the title of this course. As these remarks should have made clear, what really led me to teach this course was not so much dissatisfaction with a certain one-sidedness of my History of Aesthetics course, but a desire to develop a critique of what we call the aesthetic approach. I sketched the outline of that critique in three lectures that were subsequently published as The Broken Frame . Especially the first lecture attempts to sketch something like the central argument of this course. Someone put the text on the internet just search for Light Without Love. But that chapter is all too sketchy. The argument presented there needed to be developed. That argument, I should add, is also a presupposition of my reflections on architecture, to which I shall return in the fall semester. But enough of the background; let me turn to the topic. 2 I would like to approach it by turning to two statements by the painter Giorgio de Chirico. You will also find them in The Broken Frame . The first is from his "Meditations of a Painter" and dates from 1912. Let me recount how I had a revelation of a picture that I will show this year at the Salon d'Autonne , entitled Enigma of an Autumn Afternoon . One clear autumnal afternoon I was sitting on a bench in the middle of the Piazza Santa Croce in Florence. It was of course not the Piazza Santa Croce in Florence....
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- Spring '08