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The Enjoyment of Art

The Enjoyment of Art

by Carleton Eldredge Noyes

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The picture and the man — The work of art as symbol — The work of art as beautiful — Art and appreciation — The artist.


The picture and the man — The work of art as symbol — The work of art as beautiful — Art and appreciation — The artist.

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Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
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Barnes & Noble
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96 KB

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ra THE WORK OF ART AS BEAUTIFUL Just as nature and life are significant as the material manifestation of spiritual forces and relations, so a work of art is in its turn the symbol by which the artist communicates himself; it is his revelation to men of the beauty he has perceived and felt. Beauty is not easy to define. That conception which regards beauty as the power to awaken merely agreeable emotions is limited and in so far false. Another source of misunderstanding is the confusion of beauty with moralistic values. It is said that beauty is the Ideal; and by many the "Ideal" is taken to mean ideal goodness. With righteousness and sin as such beautyhas no concern. Much that is evil in life, much that offends against the moral law, must be regarded as beautiful in so far as it plays its necessary part in the universal whole. Clearing away these misconceptions, then, an approximate definition would be that the essence of beauty is harmony. So soon as a detail is shown in its relation to a whole, then it becomes beautiful because it is expressive of the supreme unity. A discord in music is felt to be a discord only as it is isolated; when it takes its fitting and inevitable place in the large unity of the symphony, it becomes full of meaning. The hippopotamus, dozing in his tank at the Zoo, is wildly grotesque and ugly. But who shall say that, seen in the fastnesses of his native rivers, he is not the beautiful perfect fulfilling of nature's harmony ? To a race of blacks, the fair-skinned Apollo appearing among them could not but be monstrous. The smoking factory,sordid and hideous, is beautiful to him who sees that it accomplishes a necessary function in the great scheme of life.Beauty is adaptation. Whatever is truly useful is in so far truly beautiful. The steam engin...

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