Friday, June 8, 2012
The history of art is first and foremost the history of vision. Technique changes as a result of a change in the mode of seeing; it changes whenever the method of seeing changes. It changes so as to keep pace with changes of vision as they occur. And the eye changes its method of seeing according to the relation man establishes with the world around him. An individual views the world according to his attitude towards it. Two influences affect this vision - an outer one and one from within. As soon one realises that his vision is always a result of both external and inner influences, it becomes a question of trust. It becomes a dilemma between trusting more in the outer world or otherwise, more in the inner self. Once one arrives at the point where he can differentiate between himself and the world, when he can separate outer from inner, he can choose to find comfort either in the outer or inner world. A third possibility is that of halting on the boundary line between the two. Significant form, no matter whether it results from the outer or inner world, stands charged with the power to provoke aesthetic emotion in anyone capable of feeling it. The beliefs of men bear different weights during different times; the intellectual feats of one age are the follies of another; only great art remains stable and unobscure. Great art remains stable and unobscure because the feelings that it awakens are independent of time and place. It is generally assumed that people who cannot feel pure aesthetic emotions remember works of art by their subjects; whereas people who can, as often as not bypass the subject of a picture and its representative elements and prefer to talk about the shapes of forms and the relations and quantities of line, colour and texture. By doing so they win an emotion more profound and far more sublime than any that can be described or narrated through facts and ideas. The forms of art are inexhaustible, but all lead by the same road of aesthetic emotion to the same world of aesthetics.