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A History of Six Ideas: An Essay in Aesthetics by W. Tatarkiewicz

By W. Tatarkiewicz

The background of aesthetics, just like the histories of alternative sciences, should be taken care of in a two-fold demeanour: because the heritage of the lads who created the sector of analysis, or because the heritage of the questions which have been raised and resolved during its pursuit. the sooner historical past of Aesthetics (3 volumes, 1960-68, English-language variation 1970-74) via the writer of the current e-book was once a historical past of fellows, of writers and artists who in centuries previous have spoken up touching on attractiveness and paintings, shape and crea­ tivity. the current booklet returns to an identical topic, yet treats it differently: because the historical past of aesthetic questions, ideas, theories. the problem of the 2 books, the former and the current, is partially a similar; yet simply partly: for the sooner ebook 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 twentieth a lot occurred in aesthetics; it used to be merely in that interval that aesthetics accomplished reputation as a separate technology, obtained a reputation of its personal, and produced theories that early students and artists had by no means dreamed of.

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For more or less a century and a half the new concept seemed suitable, to the extent that aestheticians and art theoreticians did not consider changing or improving it. Until at last a change did come: it was a result partly of a profounder analysis of the concept, and partly of the evolution which the arts themselves had undergone during this time. They ceased to fit the old concept. art, to correspond to its initial definition. IV. NEW DISPUTES OVER THE SCOPE OF ART The denotation of art varied considerably throughout the ages.

It may mean art as a whole, a single art in many forms (ars una, species mille), or any particular art such as painting, sculpture, music, etc. Such, then, are the areas of uncertainty. They are not as troublesome as might appear at first sight because for the purpose of any particular THE CONCEPT OF ART 27 discourse we can settle the matter by adopting a particular convention. We state at the outset in which sense we are going to use the word 'art'. Let us say, then, that in the present discourse we shall adopt a liberal concept of art, that is, one which does not exclude utilitarian art; that we shall understand art as a productive process (or as the ability to produce certain tnings), because for the products themselves we have a different expression, 'works of art'; and that we shall not worry about the purely formal ambiguity involved in speaking on the one hand about art in general and on the other about particular arts.

For works of art are not THE CONCEPT OF ART 31 the only things that have form. And the form possessed by works of art need not be pure form; it may also be functional or representational. (4) The distinguishing feature of art is expression. This definition shifts our attention from the activity to the agent, and concentrates on the intention of the artist. It is of relatively recent origin; there is little evidence of it before the nineteenth century. Most earlier theoreticians never even employed the word 'expression'; one of them, Francesco Patrizi (Della poetica, 1586, p.

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