Lore Mariano, Legal Applications Educator/Business Analyst, and Aesthetic Realism associate, writes:
Whenever I visit the Metropolitan Museum of Art I’m astounded by the great variety that’s there. Is there anything all those many artworks have centrally in common? I love the fact that Eli Siegel and Aesthetic Realism describe what beauty is—of any time or place, and in every form. In “What Is Art For?” Mr. Siegel asks whether there is something all art is going for—a purpose present in every instance, from a Corinthian column to Stonehenge to a Russian cathedral, from a Navaho blanket to a Chippendale Chair.
Discussing Helen Gardner’s Art Through the Ages, he shows the vital meaning of art for every person’s life as he asks “whether art puts into action the deepest desire of man, with that desire being to like the world.” Through this issue of The Right of Aesthetic Realism to Be Known, you will have more feeling, not only about art, but about people everywhere. Eli Siegel writes:
There are two deep, permanent purposes in man: one, is to be pleased or happy; two, is to organize this desire to be pleased or happy so that it takes in a sight of the world. A boy may be pleased by the lively whirling of a butterfly in a New England summer morning. The pleasure is there. However, when later the boy sees how a butterfly’s wing has a structure enabling it to play with the sun, the earlier pleasure has become more organized. Both aesthetics and science are the affirmation of immediate, pleasing sensation. We get a pleasure seeing how a pebble is made which, while it includes the earlier pleasure of seeing it quietly among green grass, has the pleasure from seeing structure as life, from composition as representing reality.
Aesthetic Realism sees the purpose of art as, from the beginning, the liking of the world more.
This Is Asked
What is art for?—
To like the world more,
To like ourselves more,
To like time more.
It is well to look at an American history of world art to ascertain whether art puts into action the deepest desire of man, with that desire being to like the world.
1. Helen Gardner, Chicago
If any woman gave her life to the understanding of art in all its forms and in all its historical modes, it was Helen Gardner, Professor, in 1936, of the History of Art in the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Miss Gardner’s mighty work, Art Through the Ages (Revised Edition, Harcourt, Brace, 1936), tells carefully of Etruscan art, medieval Russian art, and certainly the art of Renaissance Italy; tells of the art of the American Indian and of United States art.
In Miss Gardner’s book, art unifies the world. A Navaho Blanket (page 556)
mingles in time and possibility with a Chippendale Chair (page 498). <<Read more