July 15, 2017

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Author note: Owen Hulatt (Editor)

Whether artwork will be entirely independent has been time and again challenged within the glossy background of aesthetics. during this number of specially-commissioned chapters, a group of specialists speak about the level to which artwork should be defined merely by way of aesthetic categories.

Covering examples from Philosophy, song and paintings background and drawing on continental and analytic resources, this quantity clarifies the connection among artistic endeavors and extra-aesthetic concerns, together with ancient, cultural or financial elements. It offers a complete evaluation of the query of aesthetic autonomy, exploring its relevance to either philosophy and the comprehension of particular works of art themselves. by means of heavily interpreting how the production of artistic endeavors, and our decisions of those artistic endeavors, relate to society and heritage, Aesthetic and creative Autonomy offers an insightful and sustained dialogue of a massive query in aesthetic philosophy.

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It does not confine itself … to discovering the real intention of the artist and accepting that as final. And in this it is right, for the meaning of any beautiful created thing is, at least, as much as the soul of him who looks at it, as it was in his soul who wrought it. Nay, it is rather the eye of the beholder who lends to the beautiful thing its myriad meanings, and makes it marvellous for us. (“Critic” 367) Wilde agrees with Pater that art’s beauty as well as art’s meaning depend in large part on having an artistically attuned receptor.

Wilde values the emphasis on temperament, taste, and the critical spirit not for its import on Life, but solely for its influence on Art. With its origin in antiquity, the so-called “criticism of the highest kind” finds an echo in the work of Wilde’s contemporary, mentor, and friend, Walter Pater, another Oxford student of Classics and another well-known promoter of aestheticism (367). 9 It is no longer the concrete art object, but only one’s impression of it, that can truly be known. Pater advocates that one should strive to answer the questions: “What is this song or picture, this engaging personality presented in life or in a book, to me?

Part of the praise of the Russian memoirist undoubtedly stems from the fact that she shares Silva’s hero’s artistic method and sets off to create art only after engaging with other artistic works, in sharp contrast to Nordau whose only reaction to the artists he names is to classify their supposed manias and to undermine their aesthetic achievements. Thus, in a manner identical to Silva’s protagonist, María Bashkirtsteff uses aesthetic reception as a catalyst for artistic production. As a result of “several hours of reading Balzac,” she brings to fruition the painting of which she had dreamed and realizes “the miracle of translating [it] to oil” (66).

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