Origins of Art: A Psychological & Sociological Inquiry

By Yrjö J. Hirn | Go to book overview

CHAPTER VIII
ART THE RELIEVER

IN the endeavour to secure the transmission and perpetuation of a feeling, the expressional activity gradually loses its purely impulsive character. From an almost reflex outlet for abnormal nervous pressure, it is more and more transformed into deliberate artistic production, which is conscious of its aim as well as of the means for attaining it. The elaboration of a work of art, in which the expression of a feeling-state is to be concentrated, and concentrated in a way which not only facilitates but even enforces in the spectator the assimilation of this state, is a complicated operation which cannot of course take place without the effectual co-operation of intellectual and volitional activities. And their cooperation, on the other hand, must evidently exercise some influence on the primordial feeling.

It is a familiar observation, duly emphasised in all psychological handbooks, that strong feelings make clear thought impossible. Everyday experience, as well as scientific experiment, gives unmistakable evidence of the influence which abnormal excitement or depression exercises, not only on our ideas and their associations, but even on the perceptions. The converse has perhaps not been stated so often. Still, it does not admit of

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Origins of Art: A Psychological & Sociological Inquiry
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Preface v
  • Contents ix
  • Chapter I- The Problem Stated 1
  • Chapter II- The Art-Impulse 18
  • Chapter III- The Feeling-Tone of Sensation 30
  • Chapter IV- The Emotions 43
  • Chapter V- The Enjoyment of Pain 56
  • Chapter VI- Social Expressioin 72
  • Chapter VII 86
  • Chapter VIII- Art the Reliever 102
  • Chapter IX- The Work of Art 111
  • Chapter X- Objections and Answers 134
  • Chapter XI- The Concrete Origins of Art 143
  • Chapter XII- Art and Information 149
  • Chapter XIII- Historical Art 164
  • Chapter XIV- Animal Display 186
  • Chapter XV- Art and Sexual Selection 203
  • Chapter XVI- The Origins of Self-Decoration 214
  • Chapter XVII- Erotic Art 228
  • Chapter XVIII- Art and Work 249
  • Chapter XIX 261
  • Chapter XX- Art and Magic 278
  • Chapter XXI- Conclusions 298
  • Authorities Quoted 307
  • Index of Authors 323
  • Index of Subjects 328
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