Henry G. Hartman's Aesthetics: A Critical Theory Of Art

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Art is a body that nourishes the senses. It embodies the beautiful and evokes all sorts of emotion from the observer: joy, sorrow, hate, love, etc. It takes the intellect on a journey towards inquiry and self-exploration. Art stretches the limits of human’s capacity for understanding.
(definition of art) Art dates back to as early as 300,000 years before humans evolved. A zigzag engraved in a shell found by Dutch geologist Eugène Dubois is said to be the oldest art in the world. As time passes, art has become more specific and has branched out into different art movements. Various styles have been established since then, having over seventy movements in the last 155 years. (maybe some art criticism shit here)
Before we attempt to delve further
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Hartman, a professor of philosophy in the University of Cincinnati, states that things cannot be beautiful on their own; that something only becomes beautiful when it “participate[s] in abstract, transcendent beauty,”. Art cannot be qualified as ‘beautiful’ if it is not involved with beauty too intense for physical perception, thus limiting the scope of which could define ‘true…show more content…
Imagine this situation: two people – an onlooker and a critic – go to an art exhibit. As the onlooker gazes at a painting, it sees beauty and feels delight. The critic, on the other hand, articulates beauty and feels saddled with this piece of art. The pleasure felt by the onlooker when he looked at the painting is different from the pleasure – or displeasure – that the critic felt towards the same. By having different tastes and bases of artistic judgement, the onlooker may be at a disadvantage having no professional knowledge and criticality about what he is seeing. The critic, on the other hand, is as problematic as ever; raising questions about the nuances he saw in this piece of art. Pleasure is based on the human sensory experience, of what pleases the senses and what does not; therefore rendering the critic’s judgement useless – but not entirely – to the onlooker no matter how substantial and legitimate it may seem.
Merriam-Webster defines pleasure as “a state of gratification”. Lester F. Ward in his essay The Nature of Pleasure (1897) asserts that “pleasure consists in the satisfaction of desire, actual or potential”. Satisfying pain constitutes to pleasure, and pleasure rests completely with action and utility of the
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