Introducing Aesthetics: A Graphic Guide
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Every day we talk about the aesthetics of a piece of art or design. More than a simple response, aesthetics is a philosophy in which perceptions, feelings, and emotions combine to form the whole nature of experience. Through clear text and fitting illustrations, Introducing Aesthetics provides a captivating insight into the subject.
Following the Russian Revolution in 1917, Communists agreed that art should be appropriate to the needs of the proletariat. But there was much debate about what form this art should take. Underlying this debate lay different interpretations of the implications of Marx’s notional division of society into a base and a superstructure. I IDENTIFY SOCIETY’S BASE AS PRIMARILY ECONOMIC … … WHILE THE SUPERSTRUCTURE IS IDEOLOGICAL AND CONSISTS OF SOCIETY’S VALUE, IDEAS AND ASSUMPTIONS ENSHRINED IN FORMS
the issue of experience relates to the question of consciousness and, by implication, the role of unconscious experience in shaping identity. So, while aesthetics began as a specialist branch of philosophy, it was actually in the right position to form the kernel for nearly all future philosophical inquiry. THE SUBJECT OF EXPERIENCE BECAME BOUND UP WITH QUESTIONS OF POLITICS, PSYCHOANALYSIS AND ART … … AND, MORE WIDELY, WITH THE VITAL ISSUES OF MODERNITY AND POSTMODERNITY. Prior to Baumgarten,
Horkheimer, Dialectic of Enlightenment, New York, Seabury Press, 1972 Theodor Adorno, Walter Benjamin, Ernst Bloch, Bertolt Brecht, Georg Lukács, Aesthetics and Politics: The Key Texts of the Classic Debate Within German Marxism, Verso, 1986 Louis Althusser, Essays on Ideology, Verso, 1984 Thomas Aquinas, The Pocket Aquinas, ed. V. Bourke, Washington Square Press, 1969 Aristotle, Poetics, Penguin, 1996 Saint Augustine, The Confessions, Everyman Library, 2001 Roland Barthes, Camera Lucida;
ARCADIA … … PARADISE ON EARTH. The legend informs the innocent and contented shepherds of mortality. Despite its stark message, the painting contains a strategic device which flattered the Subject, in this case the commissioner and owner of the painting, Cardinal Rospigliosi. The shepherd who deciphers the legend points to a letter “r”, the first letter of the Cardinal’s name, and this letter is inscribed at the exact centre of the painting. The Imperialist Subject The paintings of Velázquez
non-being. Hegel believed that this recognition would mean that art was no longer needed. ART IS THE SENSUOUS APPEARING OF THE IDEA BUT IT CANNOT FULLY COMPREHEND IT. CONSEQUENTLY, I ANNOUNCE THE IMMINENT END OF ART. Out of the ruins of Man’s limitation to conceptualize non-being, Hegel salvaged a sense of purpose: for him, this limitation marked the realization that non-being should be held in awe as proof of a divine intellect capable of reconciling opposites within itself. However, Hegel’s