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self. The subject for the nonce is emancipated from its ordinary desires and impulses, apprehensions and interests, and becomes, so to speak, raised to a higher potency of consciousness. It is conscious no longer of the individual thing, but of the eternal form."13 Schopenhauer says, "Every painting, by the very fact that it fixes forever the fleeting moment, and thus takes it out of time, gives us not the individual but the idea, that which endures amid all change."14
Such statements reveal Schopenhauer's debt to Plotinus and Neo-Platonism, especially when he says, "The essence of Art supposes that its one case answers for thousands, since what it intends by the careful and detailed portrayal of the individual is the revelation of the Idea of its kind.”15
That Art was not imitative Schopenhauer explained thus: “The true reason why wax figures made no ästhetic impression and are therefore not works of art in the æsthetic sense, is, that they give not merely the form but the matter as well and hence produce the illusion that one has the thing itself before one. When well made they produce one hundred times greater illusion than the best picture can do, and hence, if illusive imitation of the Real were the purpose of art, they would occupy the first rank. Thus, unlike the true work of art, which leads us away from that which exists only once and never again, i.e. the individual, to that which is there continuously through endless times, and in endless number, in short, to the mere form or Idea. The wax figure gives us apparently the individual itself, yet without the only thing which lends to such a transitory existence
13Introduction to Schopenhauer's Essays, Belfort Box, P. xxxviii.
14P. 276. Schopenhauer's Essay “Of the Metaphysics of the Beautiful and on Aesthetic,” tr. by Box, p. 276.
15 Ibid., p. 281. All the above ideas are practically summed up in the following passage of the original: "So ist dagegen die Kunst überall am Ziel. Denn sie reisst das Objekt ihrer Kontemplation heraus aus dem Strome des Weltlaufs und hat es isoliert vor sich, und dieses Einzelne was in jenem Strom ein verschwindend kleiner Teil war, wird ihr ein Repräsentant des Ganzen, ein Aequivalent des in Raum und Zeit unendlich Vielen.” Schopenhauer's Philisophie der Kunst, p. 29.
its value, to-wit, life. Hence the wax figure excites a shudder, its effect being that of a stiff corpse.
"16 To be freed from the individual self is the pessimistic reason for Schopenhauer's appreciation of Art. He explains this in speaking of nature. After discussing the reasons why we are gladdened by some forms of nature, and saddened by others, he says, “What so delights us in the appearance of vegetable nature is the expression of rest, peace and satisfaction which it bears.
Hence it is that it succeeds so readily in transforming us into the state of pure cognition which frees us from ourselves."17 And further on he continues, “It is surprising to see how vegetable nature, in itself of the most commonplace and insignificant character, immediately groups and displays itself beautifully and picturesquely, when once it is removed from the influence of human caprice."17
"For Schopenhauer," says Croce, 18 "as for his idealist predecessors, Art is beatific. It is the flower of life, he who is plunged in artistic contemplation ceases to be an individual, he is the conscious subject, pure, freed from will, from pain, and from time.”
Art, therefore, must be removed from everything that will remind us of our individual existence. For this reason, perhaps, Schopenhauer said: “A man who undertakes to live by the grace of the Muses is like a girl who lives by her charms. Both alike profane, by base livelihood, what should be the free gift of their innermost. Both alike suffer exhaustion and both will probably end disgracefully. . Poetic gifts belong to the holidays, not to the working days of life."19
This is the narcotic attitude toward art. Art induces the calm of reverie, of forgetfulness of self, not the calm of the mystic, the ataraxia20 which distinguishes him. It is difficult to find any passages of Schopenhauer which strike the true mystic note. He did not look earnestly into the problem of æsthetic, but clung to
his prejudices. For instance, in his admiration for classicism he overlooked the Middle Ages, which he termed dark in every sense, and hence he had no understanding of the Gothic. Gothic architecture, with its many purposeless ornaments and knick- All wet! ! knacks, was in direct opposition to classic architecture, which was perfect in its simplicity. There was doubtless too much of the personal in Gothic art for Schopenhauer.
It has been necessary to dwell at this length on the æsthetics of Schopenhauer, because in his system there exist elements for a better and a more profound treatment of the problems of art. It is readily seen that he reached his conclusion through a longing to be lulled into forgetfulness of existence. But in spite of himself, in spite of his pessimism and his irreligion, he attained a vision which the mystic recognizes as similar to his own.
It is not in Germany that we will find the aesthetics of the mystic. In our own day, Benedetto Croce's æsthetics comes close to being mystic. In his endeavor to find five kinds of æsthetics, he enumerates them as follows: (1) empirical, (2) utilitarian, moralistic or practical, (3) intellectualistic, (4) agnostic and, finally, (5) mystic. Of this latter æsthetic he says, “According to this view, art would be the highest pinnacle of knowledge, whence what is seen from other points seems narrow and partial; art would alone reveal the whole horizon or all the abysses of Real
In other words, Croce sees that the mystic must, if consistent, place art upon the highest plane, and hence he seems to give mystic æsthetic the greatest praise. But, he states, “Empiricism, practicism, intellectualism, agnosticism, mysticism, are all eternal stages of the search for truth. They are eternally relieved and rethought in the truth which each contains. Thus it would be necessary for him who had not yet turned his attention to æsthetic facts to begin by passing them before his eyes, that is to say, he must first traverse the empirical stage (about equivalent to that occupied by mere men of letters and mere amateurs of art), and
"Æsthetic, appendix. Lecture on “Pure Intuition and the Lyrical Nature of Art,” tr. by Douglas Ainslie.
while he is at this stage he must be aroused to feel the want of a principle of explanation, by making him compare his present knowledge with the facts and see if they are explained by it, if they be utilitarian and moral or logical and intellective. Then we should drive him who has made this examination to the conclusion that the æsthetic activity is something different from all known forms—a form of the spirit, which it yet remains to characterize.” Having thus come so close to the mystic attitude toward ästhetic, Croce goes on to explain that the progressive thinker will proceed from one to the other until he finds himself on the ground of mystical æsthetic.
But, with reason enough, Croce finds fault with mystic æsthetic as it has been historically presented. As this æsthetic places art above philosophy, it involves itself in an inextricable difficulty, for how could art be superior to philosophy, when philosophy places it upon the operating table and analyses it? Mystic æsthetic thus oversteps its boundary, while, too, it often sinks below its proper level, as when it affirms that art is a function of the spirit, ineffable and cannot be defined. Therefore Croce offers a sixth æsthetic, that of intuition, which is neither superior to nor inferior to philosophy. The æsthetic of intuition would make art the simplest form of the spirit, the strength of art lies in being thus simple, hence its fascination. As man is intuitionally, that is, in his simplest moments, a poet, so art perpetually makes us poets again.
This theory of art, Croce himself states, “takes its origin from the criticism of the loftiest of all the other doctrines of æsthetics, from the criticism of mystical æsthetic, and contains in itself the criticism and the truth of all the others."
A full discussion of Croce's intuitional æsthetic would involve a study of Croce's use of terms. What is intuition, we must ask, in distinction from illumination ?-the illumination of the mystic. Without going into this matter, it is difficult to understand Croce's distinction between intuition and mystic æsthetics. Ananda Coomeraswamy, who seems to be a real mystic, does not separate the two. “The history of a work of art,"
he states, 22 “is as follows: first, there is an æsthetic intuition on the part of the original artist, the poet or creator; then, second, there is the internal expression of this intuition, the true creation or vision of beauty; third, there is the indication of this by external signs, language, for the purpose of communication, the technical activity; and, fourth, we find the resulting stimulation of the critic or rasika to reproduction of the original intuition or of some approximation to it."
This is mystic and at the same time intuitional æsthetics, and it is to be noted how this Indian mystic keeps his feet upon firm ground by asserting the artistic transaction. “Works of art are reminders of the Beauty discovered by the artist who created them,” he says, and again: "The true critic perceives the Beauty of which the artist exhibited the signs."
Croce's chief criticism of mystic æsthetics is of its apparent disdain of philosophy and science. Yet Croce's intuitional æsthetics seems to have the same disdain. To use his own words: “Art does not allow itself to be troubled with the abstractions of the intellect, and therefore does not make mistakes,”28 and “Art is the dream of the life of knowledge."
This is also what Coomeraswamy says: “The vision of Beauty is spontaneous, just as is the Inward Light.” . "It is a state of grace that cannot be achieved by deliberate effort.”
The Italian and the Indian both explain the mystical interpretation of Art.
What Croce has endeavored to do is to reconcile the various conflicting theories of æsthetics. It may be possible to do this with some of them. Rudolf Eucken has attempted to reconcile mystic and moral aesthetics. He writes24: "When the great object (of progress) is to attain to a new world and a new life, to rise above the petty aims of the mere man and mere every day life, then art, with its quiet and sure labour, conditioned by the inner necessities of things, with its inner liberation of the soul,
22 Burlington Magazine, April, 1915.