Art and Fine Art (43-45)

Comments and Questions to: John Protevi
LSU French & Italian
Protevi Home Page

Classroom use only. Do not cite w/o permission.

Course given at University of Warwick Fall 1995

43: On Art in General

K: three oppositional grids define art:

1. art/doing/making/work [opus]/production through freedom-reason/human vs. nature/operation/effect

2. art as skill/ability/practical vs. science as mere theory or simple "knowledge"

3. art as free or liberal art/play/agreeable in itself vs. mercenary art/labor/disagreeable/attractive through effect (pay) thus coerced [Zwang]

cf. Nicomachean Ethics 6 and Metaphysics 1.1 & 1.2 on relations of architect/handworkers and techne/episteme

K: yet, free arts need constraint [Zwang] or mechanism; w/o such mechanism, the spirit (free spirit animates the work of art) would have no body; contra "modern pedagogues" who remove all constraint [Zwang] and convert it to "mere" play [vs free play]

44: On Fine Art

K: no science of the beautiful, nor any beautiful science; because sciences must be conceptual, and a science of the beautiful would never work, because beauty if revealed only to feeling, and so can only appear to a judgment of taste; a beautiful science on the other hand would try to shortcut proofs and provide bon mots instead, that is, it would try to please rather than convince.

JD reminds us of AA187 where any cognition had a pleasing base at one time, but that scientific pleasure has been "forgotten"

K: having distinguished art from science, K now distinguishes w/in art mechanical from aesthetic. mechanical arts merely actualize a possible object according to our conception of it; aesthetic arts intend directly to arouse feeling of pleasure.

1. presumably, all aesthetic arts are mechanical, in that an object is produced according to a conception [cf. general definition of art as production through freedom]

2. how to judge intention?

K: aesthetic art is either agreeable [intends sensible pleasure] or fine [intends pure pleasure]; agreeable arts intend enjoyment by providing charms; fine arts are self-intentional [purposive on their own]: they further, but w/o purpose, social communication; as communicable, this pleasure is reflection not sensation

45: Fine Art seems to be Nature

[yet nature was opposed to the entire genus of art; how can a species appear to be what opposes the genus? the key will be genius]

K: we must be conscious that fine art is art rather than nature, yet its purposiveness must seem as free [from consciously chosen and slavishly adhered to rules] as that of natural beauty

1. fine art must not take orders, as mercenary art does, even if its orders are only from following rules for construction of an object

2. fine art must have constraint [cf. 43 on spirit/mechanism] but the constraint must not be apparent

K: we must feel purposive free play of cognitive faculties = universally communicable non-conceptual pleasure

K: nature and art interwoven in the experience of the beautiful as what we like in mere judgment [vs sensation {mechanical, bodily nature} or concept {reason, freedom}]

K: since fine art is art, it is intentional, yet its purposiveness must not be apparent; it must look like nature while we are yet conscious of it as art; it must not be academic [painstaking following of rules that puts fetters on mental powers of artist]