V
*PSYCHOLOGY AND AESTHETICS*

INTRODUCTION

The psychology of art -- of its creation and of its appreciation -- has been, during the past half century, the enterprise of the most intense fascination for aesthetics. As an instance of social or natural scientists throwing a bridge across into the humanities and making a foray to bring back trophies to their liking, psychoanalysts are leagues ahead of other psychologists -- to say nothing of sociologists and anthropologists. Unfortunately, there has been little cross-cultivation of thought. In most cases (certainly in the "great cases," namely of Freud and Jung) the analysts simply do not know enough about the arts into which they make their commando attacks. Their speculative remarks about art are stimulating, but are not sufficiently well founded to bear the weights that have come to roost on them. In the end their principal supporters have had to defend them against themselves. By the same token, most critics and art historians, even those sympathetic to analytic thought, are not sufficiently experienced to use its principles and axioms for other than superficial purposes. The result has been some twenty-five years' worth of pseudo- scientific criticism and equally misleading pseudoaesthetic writings by analysts.

For the history of serious efforts concerning the investigations into the psychology of art, Douglas N. Morgan's 1950 article is still the best single summary and guide. It is a bibliographical gold mine and a helpful schematic organization of the fragmented field. Morgan presents the three groups -- the psychoanalysts, the Gestalt psychologists, and the experimentalists -- in respect to their primary assumptions or principles; he asks significant questions of their methods and goals; and indicates their actual and possible achievements. It should be perfectly obvious that none of the psychological schools contributes anything toward solving the "normative problem," i.e., the question of means for determining what is good or bad in the arts. Even if lip service is paid to it, formal values are ignored. They either search for explanations of preferences in, and effective powers over, the audience, or try to disclose the creative motivation and driving power within the artist's psyche. Both approaches are causally reductive and tend to "explain away" the work of art. Freud and Jung, for example, are particularly interested in what they call the "meaning" of an art work, and such single significance as they countenance,

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