What is Art?

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Crowell, 1899 - Aesthetics - 237 pages

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User Review  - DanielSTJ - www.librarything.com

An interesting conception of the basis of art by the famed Tolstoy. The prose is stiff, but the ideas are original and considerable. A pleasant read, and one that gives rise to careful logical, and moral, consideration of the idea of art itself. 3 stars. Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - isolde100 - LibraryThing

A book that could have been written today. His observations on the corruption of art and the creative process are as current as they were in 1899. Read full review

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Page 70 - Nommer un objet, c'est supprimer les trois quarts de la jouissance du poème qui est faite du bonheur de deviner peu à peu; le suggérer, voilà le rêve.
Page 79 - A la nue accablante tu Basse de basalte et de laves A même les échos esclaves Par une trompe sans vertu Quel sépulcral naufrage (tu Le sais, écume, mais y baves) Suprême une entre les épaves Abolit le mât dévêtu Ou cela que furibond faute De quelque perdition haute Tout l'abîme vain éployé Dans le si blanc cheveu...
Page 183 - Art is not a pleasure, a solace, or an amusement ; art is a great matter. Art is an organ of human life, transmitting man's reasonable perception into feeling. In our age the common religious perception of men is the consciousness of the brotherhood of man — we know that the well-being of man lies in union with his fellowmen. True science should indicate the various methods of applying this consciousness to life. Art should transform this perception into feeling.
Page 183 - The task of art is enormous. Through the influence of real art, aided by science, guided by religion, that peaceful co-operation of man which is now maintained by external means — by our law-courts, police, charitable institutions, factory inspection, and so forth — should be obtained by man's free and joyous activity. Art should cause violence to be set aside.
Page 42 - ... imagination), expresses these feelings on canvas or in marble so that others are infected by them. And it is also art if a man feels or imagines to himself feelings of delight, gladness, sorrow, despair, courage, or despondency and the transition from one to another of these feelings, and expresses these feelings by sounds so that the hearers are infected by them and experience them as they were experienced by the composer.
Page 132 - There is one indubitable sign distinguishing real art from its counterfeit — namely, the infectiousness of art. If a man without exercising effort and without altering his standpoint, on reading, hearing, or seeing another man's work experiences a mental condition which unites him with that man and with others who are also affected by that work, then the object evoking that condition is a work of art.
Page 134 - It is always complied with in peasant art, and this explains why such art always acts so powerfully; but it is a condition almost entirely absent from our upperclass art, which is continually produced by artists actuated by personal aims of covetousness or vanity.
Page 144 - ... unites them all as by an electric flash, and in place of their former isolation or even enmity they are all conscious of union and mutual love. Each is glad that another feels what he feels; glad of the communion established not only between him and all present but also with all now living who will yet share the same impression; and, more than that, he feels the mysterious gladness of a communion which, reaching beyond the grave, unites us with all men of the past who have been moved by the same...
Page 76 - Dans l'interminable Ennui de la plaine La neige incertaine Luit comme du sable. Le ciel est de cuivre Sans lueur aucune, On croirait voir vivre Et mourir la lune. Comme des nuées Flottent gris les chênes Des forêts prochaines Parmi les buées.
Page 41 - In order correctly to define art it is necessary first of all to cease to consider it as a means to pleasure, and to consider it as one of the conditions of human life. Viewing it in this way we cannot fail to observe that art is one of the means of intercourse between man and man. Every work of art causes the receiver to enter into a certain kind of relationship both with him who produced or is producing the art, and with all those who, simultaneously, previously, or subsequently, receive the same...

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