Origins of Art: A Psychological & Sociological Inquiry

By Yrjö J. Hirn | Go to book overview
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IF the preceding discussion has been to any degree convincing, the reader may perhaps have put to himself a question which has often presented itself to the authorÄÄwhy no complete æsthetic system has been based on the psychology of feeling. In recent times some attempts have indeed been made to deduce the æsthetic value of artÄworks from their emotional content.1 But we do not know of any comprehensive theory in which all the distinctive features of art had been consistently explained by reference to an emotionalistic principle. This fact is so much the more remarkable as the importance of feeling has been at least accidentally acknowledged by some of the greatest writers on æsthetic, such as, for instance, Taine and Ruskin.2 It cannot have been without some reason that these authors have refrained from basing their artÄtheories on the notion of a craving for expression,ÄÄ which would have provided a clear line of demarcaÄ

Tolstoy, What is Art? Julius Lange, Om Kunstvœrdi. Cf. also the remarks in Carpenter, Angels' Wings, the poetic theory of Holmes, as set forth in What is Poetry? and the definition of March, "Evolution and Psychology in Art", Mind, N.S. v. p. 442.
Taine, Philosophie de l'art, p. 50. For a just appreciation of the part of feeling in art see also De l'idéal dans l'art, p. 152; Ruskin, The Laws of Fésole, chap. i. pp. 1Ä7; Modern Painters, iii. iv. i. §§ 13, 14; Lectures on Art, pp. 80, 81.


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