The Esthetic Basis of Greek Art of the Fifth and Fourth Centuries B. C

The Esthetic Basis of Greek Art of the Fifth and Fourth Centuries B. C

The Esthetic Basis of Greek Art of the Fifth and Fourth Centuries B. C

The Esthetic Basis of Greek Art of the Fifth and Fourth Centuries B. C

Excerpt

The present volume is a critique not of artistic taste but of artistic behavior. It makes no attempt to eulogize or appreciate or evaluate ancient Greek art, but solely to examine Greek artistic procedure and by such an examination to arrive at some fundamental esthetic problems and principles.

Such a study, since it tries to be fundamental, must aim at a method sufficiently general to be applicable not to Greek sculpture only, but to sculpture in all times, and not to Greek architecture alone, but to architecture the world over. The chapters which deal with these arts overpass, therefore, the boundaries of Hellenic antiquities and attempt an esthetic critique of sculpture and architecture as human (and not merely as Grecian) artistic activities. But the starting-point for theorizing has always been Greek practice. A comparable remark would apply to Greek painting, were it not that total destruction of its reputed masterpieces has made its understanding too debatable for reliable argument. With regret, therefore, I have refrained from adding a chapter on painting and have confined myself to passing reference to fifth century vase drawings.

Those who are familiar with the little of value which ancient esthetic speculation offers, will have noticed that the most useful comes, not from the philosophers, but from the . . .

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