Chernyshevski’s conception of ‘life’ as the content of art is thus dynamic, dialectical, it is the struggle of life, life as it is in reality and not in blissful dreams. Francis Klingender, Evelyn Antal, John P Harthan. The idea is sounder and more interesting than Klingender's Freudian orthodoxy allows him to admit. Nor can we derive much help from the conception of art which the Victorians admired in Tennyson: It is the artist’s mission to console his fellow men, ‘even as the calm, gentle, self-reliant physician inspires the fevered sufferer’ by ‘throwing a divine grace over the happier emotions’; he should ‘transport them from the cankering cares of daily life, the perplexities and confusion of their philosophies, the weariness of their haunting thoughts, to some entirely new field of existence, to some place of rest, some “clear walled city by the sea” where they can draw a serene air undimmed by the clouds and smoke which infest their ordinary existence.’ [17] We may agree with the formalists that the artist who makes his work an opium for the people is a traitor to his calling. Those capable of doing so are, he admits, but few: ‘in proportion as art becomes purer, the number of people to whom it appeals gets less’, [9] he had already told the Fabians in 1917. Moreover, in its early stages art for art’s sake was not incompatible with a critical attitude to contemporary society. ‘I want to find out what the function of content is,’ he wrote in 1913 to G. L. Dickinson, ‘and am developing a theory... that it is merely directive of form and that all the essential aesthetic quality has to do with pure form. Genre/Form: History: Additional Physical Format: Online version: Klingender, F.D. Francis Klingender: 'Content and Form in Art' 1935. Structures and circuits begin to appear, surfacing a place for gathering and conjuring. His final views are expressed in a letter which he wrote in 1924 to the Poet Laureate Robert Bridges: ‘I very early became convinced that our emotions before works of art were of many kinds and that we failed as a rule to distinguish the nature of the mixture and I set to work by introspection to discover what the different elements of these compound emotions might be and to try to get at the most constant, unchanging, and therefore I suppose fundamental emotion. Although by 1909 Fry had already abandoned the ‘idea of likeness to Nature, of correctness or incorrectness as a test’ – he had just discovered Cézanne – he was, as he himself says, ‘still obsessed by ideas about the content of a work of art’, for he still felt that the ‘aesthetic whole’ somehow reflected ‘the emotions of life’. ‘Everything that interests man in life’ includes the ugly, as well as the beautiful, the forces that frustrate and crush life, as well as those that support it, death as well as life. Her spunky sculptures look like doodles formed in 2D, which relate back to her formal training in painting and drawing. Marxism and Modern Art: An approach to social realism by F. D. Klingender 1943. It’s horribly difficult to analyse out of all the complex feelings just this one peculiar feeling, but I think that in proportion as poetry becomes more intense the content is entirely remade by the form and has no separate value at all. To Fry, as to most other intellectuals of his generation, the first world war came as a shattering bolt from the blue. It is scarcely necessary to point out that this profound idea is utterly incompatible with the formalism of Roger Fry. essentially social. But it is when he defines the specific manner in which art reproduces reality that Chernyshevski differs most radically from the assumptions on which Fry’s analysis, in common with all other idealist systems of aesthetics, are based. The objects become entry points to knowledge and imagining, creating an in-between space to slip in and out of, with the objects acting as a sort of portal. But an idea can never be fully realised in a particular thing and therefore art, which aims at ideal perfection, always contains an element of myth or illusion. André Breton: from the First Manifesto of Surrealism 1924. (Francis Donald). I therefore assume that the contemplation of form is a peculiarly important spiritual exercise...’ [3]. Of all the critics who have helped to mould our present standards of appreciation none can equal the influence of Roger Fry, the founder of British post-impressionism. André Breton: from the First Manifesto of Surrealism 1924. Roger Fry’s Formalism. Compared with the degradation of art, when it served as the mouthpiece of Victorian cant, the doctrine of art for art’s sake was a great step forward. The image that would result from such an attempt to distil only what is general from a multitude of living individuals, would be of the type which is only too familiar from hundreds of war memorials up and down the country. David A. Siqueiros: 'Towards a Transformation of the Plastic Arts' 1934. Wood This popular anthology of twentieth-century art theoretical texts has now been expanded to take account of new research, and to include significant contributions to art theory from the 1990s. Both agree that the real world in its rich and concrete actuality has no aesthetic significance. Form in relation to positive and negative space . 11. Revised and extended edition, edited and revised by Arthur Elton. Night Workers. 36. To quote his own words: ‘Art, then, is an expression and a stimulus of the imaginative life, which is separated from actual life by the absence of responsive action. Their conception of good art and of its relation to life is thus on their own admission incompatible with the present need of reuniting art and the people. But it is easy to exaggerate the difference between these two conceptions of art. Leon Trotsky: from Literature and Revolution 1922-23. Far from being more significant, the general can only be a pale reflection of the particular, an insubstantial shadow of its rich and vital individuality. Realism as Critique: Leon Trotsky: from Literature and. Roger Fry’s Formalism. It follows that art, too, far from being superior to reality, can only be a pale reflection of it: ‘All that finds expression in science and art can be found in life in a more perfect and complete form, with all those vital details in which the true meaning of the matter usually lies and which are often not understood and even more often disregarded by science and art. Art and the Industrial Revolution. Animals in art and thought. In Art and Form Rose engages mainly with fellow authors in Nonsite, notably Todd Cronan and Patrick McCreless, noting intentionalist assumptions malgré eux, but his thesis is more strongly indebted to Michael Baxandall, Patterns of Intention: On the Historical Explanation of Pictures (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1985). And it also means that the aesthetic value of a work of art must in some way be related to the effect it produces, not merely in its own time, but as long as it survives. the tame still-lives and the harmless holiday scenes of the post-impressionists (not, it is significant to note, what was really new in English art, the war paintings of 1914-18). (Francis Donald). According to this, the purpose of art is 'de-familiarization'. London: Lawrence and Wishart, 1975); and Francis D. Klingender, “Content and Form in Art,” in Art in Theory, 1900-2000, ed. 11. Tennyson became the Laureate of the Victorians because, on the surface at least, he spurned the blandishments of art for art’s sake and accepted the ‘mission’ of teaching and consoling his fellow men. I admit, of course, that it is always conditioned more or less by economic changes, but these are rather conditions of its existence at all than directive influences. The Renard stories became one of tbe most powerful vehicles for satire in the late Middle Ages. Posted on May 17, 2017 in Faculty Picks. André Breton: from the First Manifesto of Surrealism 1924. But there was also another side in Tennyson’s work. The significance of muralism in the United States has received considerable attention in art historical treatments of the period.5 The modernisation and revitalisation of American wall painting was the result of a number of cultural factors, perhaps most importantly the establishment from 1933 of federal funding for public art under President Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s New Deal administration.6 Scant mention can be found of the influence of the American example for artists in England, yet renewed interest in muralis… I also admit that under certain conditions the rhythms of life and of art may coincide with great effect on both; but in the main the two rhythms are distinct, and as often as not play against each other. Adolf Hitler: Speech Inaugurating the 'Great Exhibition of German Art' 1937. Harrison and Wood, 437. Hence his attempt, after say 1912, to disentangle the ‘purely aesthetic’ elements from their accompanying ‘accessories’ was in fact an attempt to explain the indifference of certain artists to the problems of life and the growing isolation of art from all other spheres of existence. ‘To paint a face beautifully’ is quite distinct from ‘painting a beautiful face’. David A. Siqueiros: 'Towards a Transformation of the Plastic Arts' 1934. When Art and Technology Collide… 5 Great Books on Art and Technology selected by Choice reviewer William S. Rodner. Artistic contemplation, being removed from action, is thereby released from all moral ties. Realism as Critique. It can also indicate value and a light source in drawing. But to deny that the general is more significant than the particular does not imply the reverse proposition that the particular as such is what matters in art. Adolf Hitler: Speech Inaugurating the 'Great Exhibition of German Art' 1937. True, such conclusions and ideas are much less complete and universal than life. He himself later summarized its main conclusions as follows: ‘I conceived the form of a work of art to be its most essential quality, but I believed this form to be the direct outcome of an apprehension of some emotion of actual life by the artist, although, no doubt, that apprehension was of a special and peculiar kind and implied a certain detachment. Grant Wood: from Revolt Against the City 1935. However, most typically, form is defined by a combination of these factors, as is the case in this print by Max Ernst. Although, in his view, beauty is that which evokes life and although art reproduces what interests man in life, it by no means follows that art reproduces only what is beautiful in nature. What is more fundamental and hence more significant, Chernyshevski asks, Koramasin’s History of Russia or the Children’s History of Russia which a writer named Tappen abstracted from that work? Lest any Fabian should be crude enough to suspect that the lecturer was referring to ordinary human beings, when he spoke of ‘life’, he hastened to explain: ‘And here let me try to say what I mean by life as contrasted with art. Louis Aragon: from Paris Peasant 1924. [7]. Of all the critics who have helped to mould our present standards of appreciation none can equal the influence of Roger Fry, the founder of British post-impressionism. Animals in Art and Thought to the End a/the Middle Ages: the wily stratagems of the fox, part hero, part villain, appealed to all classes of society. For Klingender, they exist in a form of duality, open and closed, individual and collective. André Breton: from the First Manifesto of Surrealism 1924. Francis Klingender: ‘Content and Form in Art' 1935. They, too, can obtain general significance only through a profound reflection of the particular. Art in Theory, 1900–2000: An Anthology of Changing Ideas Charles Harrison , Paul J. His major works included Art and the Industrial Revolution (1947) , Goya in the Democratic Tradition (1948) and his posthumously published Animals in Art and Thought (1971). Whereas in ordinary life perception is followed by responsive action – the sight of a bull rushing towards us makes us turn to instant flight – Fry claims that artistic perception is of the kind we experience when we see the bull, not in the flesh, but on the screen of a cinema: we enjoy the emotion of fear because we need not act upon it. In terms of art, line is considered to be a moving dot. Francis Klingender: 'Content and Form in Art' 1935. His mother, also British, was Florence Hoette (Klingender) (d. 1944). Realism as Critique. Unable to comprehend the causes of the collapse, he was glad to escape into what now appeared to him as a ‘revolutionary advance’ in art – i.e. Life, reality in general, is more rich and varied, fuller and more significant than any figment of the imagination. Chernyshevski admits that beauty in this sense of perfection of form, or in the language of classical philosophy, of the ‘unity of idea and image’, is an essential element of art. Klingender was a British Marxist whose life spanned the first half of the twentieth century. There have always been artists who have taken the opposite view of art and of its relation to reality. Suppose that a painter, sculptor, writer or film director sets out to create a striking and significant image of, say, the soldier of the 8th Army. Though brilliant and plausible, this argument will not bear examination. London, Routledge and K. Paul, 1971 But life does not trouble to explain its phenomena to us nor to draw conclusions as men do in the works of science and art. For Fry seeks the aesthetic element precisely in the contemplation of form apart from its purpose and divorced from the content which it forms. Klingender & Alsop dissolved their partnership in 1920 as a result of Alsop’s ill health, and Klingender formed a new partnership with R B Hamilton. The Materiality of Exhibition Photography in the Modernist Era: Form, Content, Consequence. The aesthetic assumptions of realism were first systematically defined by N. G. Chernyshevski, a contemporary of Balzac and Daumier, Gogol, Aksakov and Shchedrin, whose thesis Life and Aesthetics was published in 1853. In his pictures or novels, poems or plays such a man will bring up or solve some problem with which life faces thinking men and women. This mythical element is progressively destroyed by the advance of science which, consequently, results in a decline of art. Beauty as the unity of idea and image, or as the perfect realization of an idea, is the aim of art in the widest possible sense of the term, the aim of all skill; it is, in fact, the aim of all practical activities of man.’. But when a person endowed with artistic gifts is intellectually stimulated by problems arising out of the observation of life, his work will consciously or unconsciously embody a tendency to pronounce some vital judgment on the phenomena which occupy his mind (and that of his contemporaries, for a thinking man hardly concerns himself with trifling matters of no interest to anyone but himself). Louis Aragon et al. READ: Edouard Glissant “The Black Beach”; Diego Rivera "The Revolutionary Spirit"(421-424); Maya Lin "Untitled Statements" (524-5); Arthur Danto "The Abuse of Beauty" ; Clifford Geertz "Art … 11. In 1902 the family moved to Goslar in Marxism and Modern Art: An approach to social realism by F. D. Klingender 1943. The assumption which is inherent in all idealist theories of aesthetics, including formalism, that the general is necessarily more fundamental and significant than the particular is thus a fallacy. I know that I have no right to detach myself so completely from the fate of my kind, but I have never been able to believe in political values.’ [11] In the light of this confession it is not difficult to understand the curious phrase which Fry used in a letter to D. S. MacColl (1912) to define his own aim as a practising artist: ‘I’ve always been searching for a style to express my petite sensation in.’ [12] Estranged from life and indifferent to the fate of mankind, art, as here defined, has no other function but to cultivate the sensibility of the few elect. The objects become entry points to knowledge and imagining, creating an in-between space to slip in and out of, with the objects acting as a sort of portal. But, as Chernyshevski points out, ‘alcohol is not wine’. Conscious that works of art inspire different kinds of emotion, he attempts, by introspection, to isolate one specific emotion which is common to all these various compounds, on the assumption that this ‘constant’ factor would reveal the ‘substance’, the irreducible atom, so to speak, of aesthetic experience. In 1909 Fry still seems to have felt this, for he was prepared to accept the idealist point of view that life, far from being the touchstone of aesthetic value, should, on the contrary, itself be judged by the standards of art: ‘It might even be’, he wrote, ‘that from this point of view we should rather justify actual life by its relation to the imaginative, justify nature by its likeness to art. To achieve this he should study the actual soldiers of the 8th Army at their daily work; he should observe just how the various qualities which have made that Army what it is are reflected in the behaviour and bearing of particular individuals, how they modify and are in turn modified by the idiosyncrasies of those individuals; and the more faithfully he succeeds in recreating particular, living characters with all their idiosyncrasies – say the London busman who is now driving a tank or the Australian gunner – the more real and therefore also the more typical and universally significant his image will be felt to be. The quality which is most striking in The Palace of Art is its ambiguity. It can indicate form as well as movement. Forms and shapes can be thought of as positive or negative. Form in relation to positive and negative space . It is by now a commonplace that individual and … Adolf Hitler: Speech Inaugurating the ‘Great Exhibition of German Art' 1937. Our specialist interests are Australian Indigenous Art, Australian Art, Oceanic Art, Modern and Contemporary Art. You see the sense of poetry is analogous to the things represented in painting. On the one hand the poet is tempted and passionately desires to escape into the ‘God-like isolation’ of pure art, [16] on the other hand he realizes that isolation will lead him to despair and death. Chernyshevski’s conception of the moral function of art has nothing in common with that of Tennyson: ‘The attitude of some people to the phenomena of life consists almost entirely in a preference for certain aspects of reality and avoidance of others. In the first place, moral responsibility only begins where the type of action Fry calls instinctive – i.e. Though greatly accentuated since the beginning of the twentieth century, this isolation of the artists was not new, and in Fry’s case, too, the tendency of divorcing art from life was already implicit in his theory of 1909. In other words, the interval of reflection which Fry claims as the distinguishing feature of artistic perception, is just as essential in any behaviour that can be subjected to a moral test. Francis Klingender: 'Content and Form in Art' 1935. I admit that there is also a queer hybrid art of sense and illustration, but it can only arouse particular and definitely conditioned emotions, whereas the emotions of music and pure painting and poetry when it approaches purity are really free abstract and universal.’ [2]. what is politics? to form divorced and abstracted from that which it forms, Fry excluded everything which art was ever intended to convey to mankind. ‘The most universal of all things cherished by men and the one cherished more than anything else in the world is life itself; most of all the life men would like to live but also every other kind of life, for it is in any case better to live than not to live and all live things by their very nature are afraid of death, of extinction – and they all love life. THE ART OF THE WANJINA. Chernyshevski’s conception, on the other hand, anticipates the theories of William Morris and of all modern exponents of ‘functional’ design. Only the aesthetes still assert that art is superior to life and to reality.’, Chernyshevski sums up by stating that it is the essential function of art ‘to reproduce everything that interests man in life’. It is not difficult to explain this seeming paradox; for if one examines Tennyson’s work one soon discovers that the ‘others’ with whom he returned to his Palace were neither the people at large, nor the ‘few elect’, but the Victorian middle class. In other words, it refers to the form and not to the content of the artist’s work. As Francis Klingender states in . But he immediately points out: ‘Perfection of form (unity of idea and form) is not a characteristic of art in the aesthetic sense of the term “fine art” only. For in art the particular becomes the general, the general reveals itself in the particular, and it is the unity of the particular and the general, expressed in the unity of content and form, which makes art an inexhaustible source of significant experience. These theories are not, however, the products of perverse reasoning – they merely reflect what has actually been happening in English art since about 1910. Francis Klingender: 'Content and Form in Art' 1935. It freed the artist from complete subservience to a false morality and enabled him to preserve something, at least, of his integrity. But from about 1870 onwards, as the pressure increased, this critical attitude was more and more replaced by assumed indifference, the artist retreated into ever remoter realms of ‘purely’ aesthetic experience, and the further he retreated, the more rapidly did the sweets he coveted turn to ashes in his mouth. It is by now a commonplace that individual and … Stripped of its illusions, the ideal beauty depicted by art loses its power to console men for the imperfections of reality. Art in Theory, 1900–2000: An Anthology of Changing Ideas Charles Harrison , Paul J. And it was here, where he ceased to be pontifical and gave free vent to his emotions, that Tennyson became the true mirror of an important aspect of his age. If this were true, there could be no art: what else is the work of art but the creative reproduction of the artist’s perception? Nevertheless, he bases his analysis exclusively on what he takes to be the psychology of the individual, or rather of ‘man’ in the abstract. 21 24 25 Introduction First writing assignment – what is art? the reflex behaviour inherited from the pre-human stage of our evolution – ends. Francis Klingender: ′Content and Form in Art′ 1935. Francis Klingender: 'Content and Form in Art… The impact of the Industrial Revolution on modern economic, social, and political life is unquestionably profound. Marxism and Modern Art: An approach to social realism by F. D. Klingender 1943. Realism as Critique. Life as a teacher, as a channel of knowledge, is more full and accurate, even more artistic than all the works of all the scientists and poets. Marxism and Modern Art: An approach to social realism by F. D. Klingender 1943. Indeed, moral behaviour not infrequently implies the suppression of inherited responses: to act morally, when faced by a bull, I must curb my impulse of self-preservation sufficiently to help my less agile companion. It is one of the main points of the Essay in Aesthetics that art has nothing whatever to do with morals. Stuart Davis and Clarence Weinstock: 'Abstract Painting in America', 'Contradictions in Abstractions' and 'A Medium of 2 Dimensions' 1935. I also conceived that the spectator in contemplating the form must inevitably travel in the opposite direction along the same road which the artist had taken, and himself feel the original emotion. Unlike mathematics which interprets reality by reducing its multiplicity to abstract laws, art reproduces reality by means of images. Located in Sydney, Tim Klingender Fine Art is an international business providing a range of services to the primary and secondary art markets. But in reproducing life, the artist also, consciously or unconsciously, expresses his opinion of it, and it is by virtue of this that ‘art becomes a moral activity of man.’. In this respect the images created by art resemble beautiful objects in nature. Taking as his stalking horse a Symbolist literary theory, Shklovsky outlines an opposing view of the nature of art. But whereas the Victorians tolerated a realistic attitude to Nature and society only if it was overlayed with sentimentality, as in Dickens or in the later work of George Cruikshank, the tradition of uncompromising realism continued to advance in nineteenth-century France and Russia. As Shklovsky wrote elsewhere: 'A new form appears not in order to express a new content, but in order to replace an old form, which has already lost its artistic value.' Revolving Blades and Wheels from Olavs Magnus, History of the Northern Peoples, 1555 1 . Francis Klingender: 'Content and Form in Art' 1935. Frogmore, St. Albans: Paladin, 1975, reprinted, xv, 272pp., PAPERBACK, good used reading copy BUT black ink marks mostly in margins on about 19 pages towards start of book. "This pioneer investigation remains one of the most original and arresting accounts of the impact of the new industry and technology upon the landscape of England and the English mind. Laurie Taylor. Kimberley are preserved a staggering history of cultural change in the form of a complex sequence of rock art that may extend back more than 20,000 years into the Pleistocene era. Art and the Industrial Revolution. This does not mean that a work of art can always be justly valued in terms of the moral standards ruling at the time – on the contrary, one need only think of Goya’s Caprichos or of a book like The Grapes of Wrath to realize how often art has been an indictment of those standards. The Procaccini and the Business of Painting in Early Modern Milan. Klingender "Content and Form in Art" (437-9). Morality appreciates emotion by the standard of resultant action, art appreciates emotion in and for itself.’ [4]. They differ in degree, but not in kind. The same applies to the theories put forward by Fry’s successors: those who regard art as an emanation of the ‘sub-conscious’ exclude the whole vast realm of human consciousness; while the advocates of a biological ‘sense of form’ reduce art to the level of a pre-human, because pre-social, reflex. Francis Klingender: ‘Content and Form in Art' 1935. Satta Hashem, email to Suheyla Takesh, November 25, 2017. However, most typically, form is defined by a combination of these factors, as is the case in this print by Max Ernst. 35. Such works will be, as it were, composed on themes set by life.’. André Breton: from the First Manifesto of Surrealism 1924. Leon Trotsky: from Literature and Revolution 1922-23. Adolf Hitler: Speech Inaugurating the 'Great Exhibition of German Art' 1937. In 1920 he added: ‘true art is becoming more and more esoteric and hidden, like an heretical sect – or rather like science in the middle ages’. Art is thus a striking and at the same time a peculiarly revealing illustration of the key conception of dialectics, the unity of opposites. To rid himself of that ‘obsession’ was the main preoccupation of his later thought. It is therefore necessary to amplify the previous definition of the function of form in art – the complete expression of the artist’s aim – by stating: to paint, model, write, compose, act, film, etc., beautifully means so to express the particular that it attains general significance. It will be necessary at a later stage to enquire whether this assumption is valid in so individual, so richly varied and so constantly changing a sphere as art. I mean this, that since the imaginative life comes in the course of time to represent more or less what mankind feels to be the completest expression of its own nature, the freest use of its innate capacities, the actual life may be explained and justified by its approximation here and there, however partially and inadequately, to that freer and fuller life.’ [6], It is interesting to note that Fry was by no means critical of the moral standards of his own age, when he wrote this passage. Both imply an ideal realm of ‘beauty’ or ‘pure form’ which is superior to the ordinary life of men. For the moment let us note that it entails a great impoverishment: by restricting aesthetic feeling to ‘pure’ form, i.e. It has an endless number of uses in the creation of art. (source: Nielsen Book Data) Summary ‘The beautiful’, says Chernyshevski, ‘is an individual, live object and not an abstract thought’. 11. ‘It would seem that the definitions “Beauty is life,” “Beautiful are all things in which we see life as, according to our conceptions, it should be,” “Beautiful is an object which expresses life or reminds us of it” give a satisfactory explanation of all the ways in which the feeling of beauty is roused in us.’ [18]. Translating this example into more familiar terms we may ask: which are more significant, aesthetically and from every other point of view, Shakespeare’s plays or Lamb’s Tales from Shakespeare? I conceived the form and the emotion which it conveyed as being inextricably bound together in the aesthetic whole.’ [1]. From this there was but a small step to the position Fry maintained in his post-war essays and letters, where he defines art as a ‘spiritual exercise’, as remote from actual life as ‘the most useless mathematical theory’, but of ‘infinite importance’ to those who experience it. On the one hand the poet is tempted and passionately desires to escape into the ‘God-like isolation’ of pure art, on the other hand he realizes that isolation will lead him to despair and death. He even compared them favourably with those of the thirteenth century, although he regarded the latter period as more artistic. Wood This popular anthology of twentieth-century art theoretical texts has now been expanded to take account of new research, and to include significant contributions to art theory from the 1990s. Stuart Davis and Clarence Weinstock: 'Abstract Painting in America', 'Contradictions in Abstractions' and 'A Medium of 2 Dimensions' 1935.

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