10
The Aesthetic Relation of the Arts: Aesthetic Structure and the Judgment of Fine Art

. . . the feeling is submitted to the laws of the object.

BOSANQUET

If, as we have argued, the artist expresses by means of works of art which are also works of fine art, not the isolated datum, the individual image, but the potential aesthetic experience, it follows that aesthetic activity, whether of the artist or perceiver, provides the ground for making explicit the values of originality and intelligibility. In this connection, few more enlightening inferences have been drawn from the controversy between the supporters of the theory of art as imitation and the proponents of the theory of art as imagination than that made by Kant1 to the effect that the ideas of the artist-genius "excite like Ideas in his pupils if nature has endowed them with a like proportion of their mental powers." Disregarding the words, "like Ideas," heritage of the imitative theory which does not explain fine art, Kant goes to the core of the problem: the product of genius, he writes, "awakens to a feeling of his own originality" another genius, "whom it stirs to exercise his art in freedom."2

To this inference, we need but bring a clear understanding of the significant contribution of the tradition of the genius to aesthetic theory, the identity of genius and taste, in order to arrive at the basis for the ensuing argument concerning fine art, its originality and intelligibility. On the hypothesis of the identity of genius and taste, not only the artist but the aesthetic

____________________
1
K.d.U., sec. 47, p. 192.
2
Ibid., sec. 49, p. 203.

-281-

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