ALB - 14

ALB - 14 - Art, Love, and Beauty 14 3/4/08 Harries 1 14....

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Art, Love, and Beauty 14 3/4/08 Harries 1 14. The Beautiful and the Sacred 1 In my last lecture I spoke of the tension between the self- sufficiency demanded of the work of art by Schopenhauer's aesthetic approach and the edification that he looks for and finds in Raphael's St. Cecilia and that Wagner hoped to provide with the Ring . How are the two related? Let me begin by returning to the former. I suggested before, that to demand self-sufficiency of the aesthetic object is to claim that the aesthetic object should not engage our interest, say, because it is a sign of some reality that lies outside it, or because it provides an accurate representation of some person or landscape, or because it signifies a higher reality. Schopenhauer's rejection of allegory in the visual arts is quite in keeping with this demand: if what counts in aesthetic experience is that we become absorbed in the presence of the art work, concepts can only get in the way; from this the rejection of allegory follows: if starting from the concept is objectionable in art, then we shall not be able to approve, when a work of art is intentionally and avowedly chosen to express a concept; this is the case in allegory . An allegory is a work of art signifying something different from what it depicts. .. Here, therefore the picture or statue is supposed to achieve what a written work achieves far more perfectly. (237)
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3/4/08 Harries 2 Not that painters have not been able to paint beautiful allegories. But they succeeded, not because, but despite the fact that they were painting allegories. Allegories in plastic and pictorial art are consequently nothing but hieroglyphics; the artistic value they may have as expressions of perception does not belong to them as allegories but otherwise. That the Night of Correggio, the Genius of Fame of Annibale Carracci, and the Goddesses of the Seasons of Poussin are very beautiful pictures is to be kept quite apart from the fact that they are allegories. (237) Schopenhauer is quite aware that with his rejection of allegory he is quite opposed to Winckelmann and neo-classicism. Here is what Winckelmann had written: Painting reaches up to things which are not sensible; these are its highest goal. ... The painter who thinks further than his palette reaches, desires a store-house of learning from which he can take significant and sensible signs for things which are themselves not sensible. The brush which the artist holds should be steeped in understanding . .. He should leave more to thought than he shows the eye. Winckelmann thought himself a Platonist, but Plato's forms have become mere concepts. With such emphasis on abstract concepts Winckelmann blurs the distinction between artist and philosopher. The mechanical part was distinguished form the ideal part. The former requires a manual skill that can be taught,
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This note was uploaded on 04/12/2008 for the course HUMS 255 taught by Professor Karstenharries during the Spring '08 term at Yale.

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ALB - 14 - Art, Love, and Beauty 14 3/4/08 Harries 1 14....

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