Aesthetic As Science Of Expression And General Linguistics by Benedetto Croce

By Benedetto Croce

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IX INDIVISIBILITY OF EXPRESSION INTO MODES OR GRADES AND CRITIQUE OF RHETORIC [Sidenote] The characteristics of art. It is customary to give long enumerations of the characteristics of art. Having reached this point of the treatise, having studied the artistic function as spiritual activity, as theoretic activity, and as special theoretic activity (intuitive), we are able to discern that those various and copious descriptions mean, when they mean anything at all, nothing but a repetition of what may be called the qualities of the aesthetic function, generic, specific, and characteristic.

They are merely taxed in addition with lying and hypocrisy. O you poor women of Verona, how far more subtle you were, when you founded your belief that Dante had really descended to hell, upon his dusky countenance! Yours was at any rate a historical conjecture. [Sidenote] Critique of the concept of sincerity in art. Finally, sincerity imposed upon the artist as a duty (this law of ethics which, they say, is also a law of aesthetic) arises from another equivoke. For by sincerity is meant either the moral duty not to deceive one's neighbour; and in that case Is foreign to the artist.

Man understands things with the theoretical form, with the practical form he changes them; with the one he appropriates the universe, with the other he creates it. But the first form is the basis of the second; and the relation of double degree, which we have already found existing between aesthetic and logical activity, is repeated between these two on a larger scale. Knowledge independent of the will is thinkable; will independent of knowledge is unthinkable. Blind will is not will; true will has eyes.

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