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Old 04-10-2012, 06:08 PM
jonathanmehl jonathanmehl is offline
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Use to denote nudity/mature subject matter Is art merely the pursuit of beauty?

In an article in The Central European Journal of Aesthetics Karol Kuzmany claimed that “the aim of all art is the creation and representation of the beautiful” (229).
I'm curious to know what other people think. Is art merely the pursuit of the beautiful, or is there more to art than that? I believe that art is much more than that, but I'd love some feedback to see what others think about that claim.
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Old 04-10-2012, 09:04 PM
KrystalB333 KrystalB333 is offline
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Re: Is art merely the pursuit of beauty?

I think that Karol Kuzmany has not seen much art. I absolutely disagree with her claim and completely side with you.

To only make beautiful images for the sake of beautiful images would be boring and there wouldn't be nearly as much art created in the first place. If we only are seeking aesthetics, we should simply place the brushes, pens, pencils down and go outside. lol

What are your thoughts?
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Old 04-10-2012, 11:04 PM
jonathanmehl jonathanmehl is offline
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Re: Is art merely the pursuit of beauty?

Krystal,
I believe that art goes much deeper than just a sense of beauty or a pursuit of beauty. I think that art is closely attached to emotion, and our negative emotions (anger, hate, sadness, depression, meaninglessness, etc.) are just as strong as our positive emotions of love, joy, etc. In an ideal world where all we experienced was happiness and joy and love perhaps art would be only beautiful, but we live in a world that is so often torn apart by war, hate, broken relationships, and I think that it is only fitting that our art reflects some of that.
And I completely agree that if art was only about seeking aesthetics perhaps we would be better off if we didn't create art. I don't think that there is anything wrong with art that seeks to recreate beauty, but I don't think that art is limited to such narrow confines. I recently read an article published by the American Psychological Association that stated that "art is central to human life, and it is a mystery why something that does not seem essential for survival would capture our interest so intensely and become so ubiquitous in culture."
We certainly don't need art in order to survive, but there is a part of us that senses a need to express emotions and experiences through art and music and poetry. It is not necessarily an attempt to create a perfect world of beauty and order, rather it is an attempt to capture a perspective of the world around us - an interpretation, if you will. Sometimes the arts mingle in ideals, but the art forms that seek ideals are not more truly art than the forms that simply capture a reality, whether of the world around us or of our minds.
But I am starting to ramble....thoughts? Comments? I'm certainly open to hearing other opinions. I have been asking many of these questions about art and I certainly don't think I have arrived at an ultimate definition of art or its purpose. I am interested in continuing to ask questions and hear what art means to many different people.
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Old 04-11-2012, 12:47 AM
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Re: Is art merely the pursuit of beauty?

Quote:
Originally Posted by jonathanmehl
In an article in The Central European Journal of Aesthetics Karol Kuzmany claimed that “the aim of all art is the creation and representation of the beautiful” (229).
I'm curious to know what other people think. Is art merely the pursuit of the beautiful, or is there more to art than that? I believe that art is much more than that, but I'd love some feedback to see what others think about that claim.

This is but a section of a sentence quoted. To get a feel of the actual meaning of the full sentence, within the context meant by the author(s) see here.


And here: "The aim of all art is the creation and representation of the beautiful, or the creation and representation of certain objects in a way that makes it possible to feel their essence..." etc.

Quote:
In the first part of the essay, concerning general aesthetics, Kuzmány presents his theory of beauty – the feeling of the essence of things through perception by the mind (Anschauung or intuitus mentis); the basic idea – truth, the moral good, and beauty – according to Kuzmány, comprises the idea of religion in the broader sense – Humanität, humanitas. Rather than the opposite of beauty, the sublime constitutes beauty’s being raised to a qualitatively higher level: it is based on a contemplated intuitive awareness, which is itself felt. The second part of the essay consists of Kuzmány’s attempt to define art and to categorize kinds of art and genres of poetry. He distinguishes between unmediated art, which represents beauty to the external senses, and mediated art, which is aimed at inner feeling. The latter category includes poetry, which is, according to him, the supreme art, for it can, with the help of language, represent all forms of unmediated art as well. Kuzmány also devotes himself to a speculative justification of its genres, poetic style, and verse.

From what I gather, the concept of "beauty" mentioned above deals with the interpretation of Kant's theory. "According to Kant, the beautiful form conveys representations of imagination that strive towards a presentation of the ideas of reason, that is, the true sublime for Kant, opening up for the mind the prospect of an immensurable field of related representations."

So without reading the sentence in the context of the full text, or without knowing how the terms in the sentence are defined (e.g., beauty is subjective, defined by each individual differently, according to his or her experience), it is impossible to formulate an opinion (based on the fragment above).

What I would recommend, jonathanmeh, is that, if you have access to it, post the entire paragraph in which the phrase is written, or link the relevant texts here.


CC
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Old 04-11-2012, 07:17 AM
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Re: Is art merely the pursuit of beauty?

I am reading a biography of Vincent Van Gogh in which he is cited as saying that art should be "personal and intimate" and concern itself with "what touches us as human beings".

I would be interested to know what other artists, famous and not so famous, have said about the purpose of art.

Certainly some of the greatest art in history does not seem overly tied to the pursuit of beauty. Picasso's Guernica not least of this.
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Old 04-11-2012, 11:43 AM
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Re: Is art merely the pursuit of beauty?

No, it can't possibly be about the pursuit of beauty ONLY - to me, that makes no sense. I'm reading Umberto Eco's On Ugliness right now. I suppose I could have chosen to start with (never read him before) On Beauty, but no...I chose ugliness. It's fascinating and "juicy," as well as disturbing and depressing (especially in the sections about women). So I'd better hurry and read the beauty one to get the ugly out of my mind. I don't have anything smart to add but I think, for me and the way MY brain works, I can find more "inspiration" in this subject than in beauty. Maybe its something about the ideal vs. the real or that I enjoy looking ugliness right in its eye (or multiple bulging bleeding eyes).

Anyway, here's Amazon's description of the book:

In the mold of his acclaimed History of Beauty, renowned cultural critic Umberto Eco’s On Ugliness is an exploration of the monstrous and the repellant in visual culture and the arts. What is the voyeuristic impulse behind our attraction to the gruesome and the horrible? Where does the magnetic appeal of the sordid and the scandalous come from? Is ugliness also in the eye of the beholder? Eco’s encyclopedic knowledge and captivating storytelling skills combine in this ingenious study of the Ugly, revealing that what we often shield ourselves from and shun in everyday life is what we’re most attracted to subliminally. Topics range from Milton’s Satan to Goethe’s Mephistopheles; from witchcraft and medieval torture tactics to martyrs, hermits, and penitents; from lunar births and disemboweled corpses to mythic monsters and sideshow freaks; and from Decadentism and picturesque ugliness to the tacky, kitsch, and camp, and the aesthetics of excess and vice. With abundant examples of painting and sculpture ranging from ancient Greek amphorae to Bosch, Brueghel, and Goya among others, and with quotations from the most celebrated writers and philosophers of each age, this provocative discussion explores in-depth the concepts of evil, depravity, and darkness in art and literature.
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Old 04-11-2012, 01:04 PM
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Re: Is art merely the pursuit of beauty?

I agree with coldcreation2, once the entire paragraph was posted, it became clearer to me. I'm a big Kant fan, so I can see how this can tie in. Also, I believe art does have only an aesthetic purpose, but beauty is not a good word. Aesthetic derives from sensation, and that does not necessarily mean the sensations need be pleasing. It is deeper, but it's about having an emotional impact and inner meaning. It is existential rather than functional.
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Old 04-11-2012, 01:52 PM
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Re: Is art merely the pursuit of beauty?

The emotions are a mixed bag. Rage and anger is also an emotion. I tend to think of art as a kind of personification of the inner world of a person (could also be culture, church, facet of "civilization" as well).
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Old 04-11-2012, 06:34 PM
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Re: Is art merely the pursuit of beauty?

Art is primarily about the artist. It becomes 'art' to the viewer when an emotional response is generated. It is difficult to speak of aesthetics and beauty (which are not the same thing) without considering context. It could be as valid a statement to say that dissonance and ugliness are essential to the artistic experience.
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Old 04-12-2012, 09:45 AM
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Re: Is art merely the pursuit of beauty?

Not merely, but profoundly, art is about beauty.


http://youtu.be/urOg2vVeJVk
http://youtu.be/EVHWqTBhYZw
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Old 04-13-2012, 10:12 AM
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Re: Is art merely the pursuit of beauty?

I don't understand the "merely" in the question either. I would depend on what you included in the catch all term "beauty". Depending on your choice of definition you could include or exclude any work from that set. The word pursuit has uncertain meaning too, it could be an occupation, a search or a chase. Don't worry about making Art, or chasing beauty, if you do what you do as best you can with all your head and heart then either of these things might occur, or not as the case may be. It is not, after all, you who will be the judge of success or failure. In my own experience the more you consciously intend to create "Art" the less likely you are to succeed. So not pursuing, more sneaking up whistling innocently.
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Old 04-13-2012, 10:32 AM
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Re: Is art merely the pursuit of beauty?

If I were asked for a very succint explanation of art, it would be that it is 'communication'. More precisely, a conversation. The artist speaks, not only from his own inspiration, but to the viewer. I have always felt that no work of art is really complete until it resonates with at least one who views it.

Beauty is often a result, but it is so much more than that.
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Old 04-13-2012, 03:47 PM
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Re: Is art merely the pursuit of beauty?

Roger Scruton - Why Beauty Matters (2009) - BBC documentary
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RiajXQUppYY


Philosopher Roger Scruton presents a provocative essay on the importance of beauty in the arts and in our lives.

In the 20th century, Scruton argues, art, architecture and music turned their backs on beauty, making a cult of ugliness and leading us into a spiritual desert.

Using the thoughts of philosophers from Plato to Kant, and by talking to artists Michael Craig-Martin and Alexander Stoddart, Scruton analyses where art went wrong and presents his own impassioned case for restoring beauty to its traditional position at the centre of our civilisation.
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Last edited by jemmett : 04-13-2012 at 03:52 PM.
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Old 04-13-2012, 06:59 PM
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Re: Is art merely the pursuit of beauty?

Art is something that "draws you in...". It acquires and maintains your attention.
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Old 04-13-2012, 09:10 PM
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Re: Is art merely the pursuit of beauty?

Quote:
Originally Posted by edf
Art is something that "draws you in...". It acquires and maintains your attention.

And they should thank you.
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