Art Theory: A Very Short Introduction (Very Short by Cynthia Freeland

By Cynthia Freeland

Oxford's Very brief Introductions deals concise and unique introductions to a variety of subjects--from Islam to Sociology, Politics to Classics, and Literary conception to historical past. no longer easily a textbook of definitions, every one quantity presents trenchant and provocative--yet continually balanced and complete--discussions of the valuable concerns in a given subject. each Very brief creation offers a readable evolution of the topic in query, demonstrating the way it has constructed and stimulated society. regardless of the zone of research, regardless of the subject that fascinates the reader, the sequence has a convenient and cheap consultant that would most likely end up integral.

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According to him, the Moderns, like the Ancients, generally stayed within the confines of a humanistic ideal of perfection. This ideal was at odds with later ideas of progress, because perfection was a static concept understood independently of its historical context and precluding an open future with various possibilities. In this perspective, the arts and sciences would one day reach a point in which perfection was achieved and after which further perfection would no longer be possible. 23 In Jauss’s reading, the ideal of perfection was central to both the Ancients and the Moderns.

18 In the latter case, the metaphor for life’s journey also implies the decay and degeneration of old age, but as the advocate of a perspective 34 from the ancients and the moderns: a door to the future art in progres 17-10-2003 16:55 Pagina 35 with an open future in which knowledge steadily accumulates, Fontenelle resisted this, as the above passage demonstrates. In the historiography of ideas of progress, such passages become more important than they were in the context of their original discussions.

While he did not deny all progress in art, he did believe progress in poetry was inversely related to progress in culture in general. 9 Herbert Spencer, on the other hand, integrated progress in the arts effortlessly into his description of an all-embracing process of development, by describing the arts in terms of a model of evolution. E. von Baer. He also went beyond evolution in the biological sense, linking his ideas on development to social theories, and ultimately conceiving an integrated ‘synthetic philosophy,’ a universal system in which biological, psychological, sociological, and ethical observations were described in an evolutionary light.

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