- 18th century artistic movement
- Reaction against aspects of the enlightenment which emphasised science and a mechanistic approach to the universe
- Eulogised nature, mankind and emotions
- Shelley, Beethoven, Goethe
How they produced artwork\;
1. Control emotions and channel them towards artistic creation
2. Produce the artwork, carrying out the emotional charge from which the inspiration came.
3. Reception from an audience , who should recieve the works emotionsl impart and be effected by it.
Immanuel Kant - Aesthetic Judgement
Four stages in aesthetic judgement:
1. Disinterestedness - no strong emotions arroused, and no feeling of possession of the object.
2. Universality - beautiful to all whom behold it
3. Purposiveness - no end/purpose, yet an element of directedness associated with the objects and the feelings it arrouses.
4. Neccessity - everyone should feel the same, even if they don't realise the universality; aesthetic appreciation and pleasure for the object. .
David Hume - Aesthetic Appreciation
- Aesthetic judgements are subjective
- Feelings, not thoughts, give us an idea of beauty in an object.
- Nothing in the object carries aesthetic property
- The feeling constitutes our praise and admiration
- The experienced emotion is the beauty of the object
- Standards of taste
- Collective resource of humanity, derived from experience, resulting in a broad consensus about a common human sentiment
- Follow the collective wisdom of highly competant critics with a delicacy of taste, who practice comparing artworks, refine their judgement and have a calm, neutral and non prejudiced approach.
- Test of time: a way of examining the universal potential of an artwork; if an artwork has been appreciated by generations, who have felt some sentiment towards it, it's likely because of its quality
- Art is a falsehood that hides real life and has little values
- Art is a limited depiction
- Art is a copy of a copy, and a further step from reality - the forms - eternal and non physical ideals.
- Art has power to excite strong emotions and individuals may act without rational control, e.g. Chatterton inspires irrantional actions and stems from mental illness, which should not be celebrated. It is valued more if people keep their emotions under control.
Aristotle - Poetics
- Art can convey universal truths in an understandable way
- Art can effect us emotionally - 'catharsis' - purging cleansing
- Referred to the emotional effect in tragic dramas
- Audience follow the fortunes of characters
- Experience tumultuous emotions
- Emerge emotionally purged
- Arts prime value is emotional expression and response
- Art is an artists experience and conveys emotion, which the audience recieve in response
- Value of art = quality or moral worth of the feelings communicated
- Art that produces feelings of self indulgence, arrogance or excessive individuality are not worth as much as artworks which produce 'higher' feelings like charity, love and selflessness.
- Art should serve moral, religious or political purposes, and convey an ethical message (for him, a Christian one)
Idealists - R.G. Collingwood and B. Croce
- Conscious expression is the sole criteria for assessing art
- Pure expression must be separated from non artistic concerns, e.g. a religious song may not be pure as it is produced to arrouse religiously motivated emotions.
- A true artist has no concern but artistic expression, so they don't know the outcomeof their expression until the artwork is complete
Pure expression brings greater clarity and refinement to our emotions, as unclear emotions are brought into full fucus by the depth and power of the expression.
The qualitative aspect of the emotion matters most, and that the emotion expressed is noble, selfless and pure.
Form is the object of aesthetic appreciation
We don't need to consider what is represented, the purpose, intention, or background
Every art has formal qualities, and formal qualities are properties of representation - we can be interested in an artwork but not what's represented
Art explores, develops abd manipulates formal qualities for the sake of contemplation
All good art, and only art can have significant form
Signifcant form creates aesthetic emotion, independent of time and space, as it is the expression of the artists emotion, so we should focus on significant form
Significant form is a combination of lines, shapes and colours in cetain relations, and is that which gives rise to aesthetic emotion
Aesthetic beauty is an extacy experienced from an artwork differenty to the arrousal from natural beauty, and is more profound than an emotion of general life,
We can recognise the presence of significant form trough aesthetic emotion
Criticisms of Bell
There is no obvious method for deciding between competing claims about works of art
It is circular - there is no independent way of understanding tthe concepts of 'significant form' or 'aesthetic emotion'.
Elitist - those who disagree with Bell's artistic judgements can't discern artistic form.