Notes per Hegel’s “The Philosophy of Fine Art”

January 22, 2009

content of art = IDEA

Hegel states that one must mediate between these two in a “mode of free totality”
1. The first determinant: The content shall disclose an essential capacity for display/configuration
2. The second requirement: The content shall not be anything distract
3. The third consideration: The content must be clearly individual, entirely “concrete” and a self-enclosed unity

concreteness: the point in which both coalesce and fall in with one another

As it relates to sensuality…
“The work of art has no such naive and independent being.” […like the forest, for instance…]
“It is essentially a question, an address to the responding soul of man, an appeal to affections and intelligence.”

There is a significant amount of talk about the degree of intimacy and that union with which the IDEA and CONFIGURATION appear together in an elaborate fusion. I believe that these two components are at the crux of Hegel’s philosophy of art.

— Matthew Murray


The Power of the Perceiver

January 22, 2009

Johann Joachim Winckelmann says that beauty exists irrespectively of the perceiver and that people must receive training on that which is beautiful in order to correctly judge what the beautiful is. Immanuel Kant, on the other hand, suggests that the subjective (though universally agreed upon) judgment of a perceiver establishes that which is beautiful. Kant suggests, then, that beauty does not exist apart from the perceiver, but rather that it is created through the perceiver. From Winckelmann to Kant, the power of the perceiver shifts tremendously—from the perceiver as someone who must be schooled in how to judge beauty correctly to the perceiver as the determinant of beauty. Under Kant’s logic, the perceiver is more powerful than the object of beauty itself because the object of beauty does not exist without the perceiver. This suggests, then, that an artwork cannot be beautiful if its audience and critics do not perceive it to be so.

-Laura Biagi

Hello world!

January 10, 2009

This is the class blog for Northwestern University’s English 383: Topics in Theory course on aesthetics. We will be posting snippets from the critical journals that students in the class will be keeping throughout the quarter.