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To answer this question, you need to look at where this idea came from in the first place, and what came out of it.
Well, this is the eighteenth century, and art is hell and cotton candy. The Baroque, which had already grown up on the remains of the Renaissance, was beginning to show a tendency to compensate for its lack of maintenance by being too decorative – but hardly any of its masters foresaw the huge, baby-like, bowed and feathered, spangled and powdered, with cakes in one hand and a vomit bucket in the other, fat pink rococo coming in the next century.
Rococo was the main cult in the history of art of empty, meaningless excess for the sake of excess alone. This in itself was symptomatic of the existing social system at that time, and the end of which was put not by anyone there, but by the French Revolution.
So in the background of all this, somewhere in Germany, a certain Gotthold Ephraim Lessing writes: “The goal of art is pleasure.”
It would seem that the statement was an unequivocal endorsement of the current order of things-but no, it was thought in opposition, and here's why.
Lessing, as an advocate of rationalism, contrasted art with science, which, according to Lessing, is the source of the only truth, and therefore must have a moral carte blanche for anything and everything, while the ways of art, in order for it to function in the most correct way, can be regulated at the level, it is terrible to say, legislative.�
In other words, both of these disciplines are treated with life-giving utilitarianism, only one of them somehow ends up in the stocks. One might assume that Lessing planned to use a banhammer to hit the rokokosh obzhiralov that actually prevails in Europe, in favor of something a little more noble – however, no, according to Lessing, any art that aims to produce some additional emotions in addition to pleasure (such as compassion) will inevitably be “lower”, since it distracts from pleasure.
As a consequence, in fact, rococo, already sharpened for enjoyment, is criticized by Lessing as still not enjoying enough, because it is permeated with superfluous, according to Lessing, influences and conventions. Despite the fact that in fact the religious line is pushed so far that it is not even visible behind the lush forms of cupids, and the social line has practically not even appeared yet (although the Bastille is only twenty years away, and all the ingredients are already in place).
And in all this, it turns out, you need to reject conventions and enjoy even more.
Conventions and rejected-some even guillotined. Only the art didn't go quite the way Lessing had hoped it would. While France was depicting ancient oaths, corpses, and gray, rainy funerals, the Germans suddenly discovered their own Romanticism-a strict, Gothic, solitary romanticism of meditation on the unsolvable aspects of being that manifest themselves in nature, personality, and national myth.
The problem is that Romanticism as a method is not only irrational, but also quite uncomfortable, because it involves constant tension without resolution. It would seem, according to Lessing, who the fuck needs it – however, German Romanticism not only took root, but also for the first time since the late Renaissance made the Germans feel that they finally began to do something of their own.
What conclusions can be drawn from all this? There are probably two of them. The first is that pleasure in art quickly becomes obsolete, having been refuted first of all by the artists themselves. And, probably, the epochs that are excessively aimed at it are also becoming obsolete in the same way. The second is that rationalism is no less obsolete when it goes beyond its utilitarian applications and begins to try to dictate the conditions of all human existence, thereby belittling first of all human nature itself, capable of more than just seeking pleasure, and thinking more broadly than just rationally.
Which, of course, means something for you and me, but this is a completely different topic.
Personally, I don't quite agree with this. Enjoyment is far from the main and only goal of art. However, if you still look for a connection between classicism and pleasure, it is undoubtedly traced. The aesthetics of classicism is based primarily on samples of antiquity. And these are proportions, harmony, balance. The correct ratio of proportions is something that is initially beautiful, ideal, as laid down by nature, that is, something that can not cause rejection, but causes extremely pleasant emotions.
Pleasure is indeed more or less a consequence of contact with the beautiful, but not always its goal. Moreover, “worthwhile masterpieces of world culture, as a rule,” carry a certain message, and this message does not always cause us pleasure.�
Take, for example, Golding's Lord of the Flies or Kafka's The Metamorphosis. The pictures drawn by the author are unlikely to cause you aesthetic pleasure, and yet, these books draw our attention to problems that (alas) have not lost their relevance to this day. The “hideousness” of some scenes only reinforces the necessary impression.�
By the way, not so long ago I was preparing a work on Frank's work “Iz sekretiv poetichnoi tvorchosti” (“From the secrets of poetic creativity”), where the author, among other things, revealed the theme of aesthetics in his works, emphasizing that beauty in the most direct and mediocre sense of the word has never been the goal of art and books in particular. Its true purpose is to convey a message, to stir up our imagination and feelings, to make us think. However, all this, of course, does not exclude the fact that real masterpieces can also evoke pleasant sensations in us. After all, art is multi-faceted.
Well, if only the pleasure is aesthetic, then that may be the purpose of art. In general, of course, it has many different goals. For many centuries , it is, for example, a means for creating sacred images in different religions. In the 20th century – propaganda. Art is a tool, but the goals are different.
No, the goal of art is not enjoyment. Its goal is to convey the world in a visual way using pencil, oil, watercolor, sculpture, video, and so on. Art must be harmoniously executed, so it can please the eye, but its purpose is by no means entertainment show business.
In art, there may not be the most chocolate plots – this is normal, just as in literature, not all the characters are positive. But if the work is written in a beautiful language , it is interesting to read it. Also with paintings – if they are written according to all the canons of artistic means (this is Iambic and chorei in its field), then the eye is calm, but the soul can certainly worry. The point of art is not to calm down, but to convey emotions from life.
I hope my answer was useful to you!
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The question assumes that we understand the word “pleasure” in the same way, and there is nothing to say about art – and it is so clear what it is.
However, the case turns out to be very confusing. Not only is there no (and cannot be) any ease in attributing to art the urinal of Duchamp and the tragedy of Aeschylus, but with pleasure – the same historical misfortune.
What today brings, for example, to the “average person” (understand it as you want) pleasure, could have caused disgust 200 years ago – in the same community. And vice versa. You don't even need to study the ethnography of pleasure here. Just think about the fact that you didn't like dairy as a child, and now you are enjoying it – ? – from cheese with mold. That is, the types of enjoyment themselves are historical and they are not extra-cultural.Так
So. The pleasures are not just fleeting, fleeting (this is a great loss), but also historical.
With belonging to art – the same parsley, by the way.�
Aristotle defined tragedy in Poetics (is it art?) through the viewer, but without pleasure: through purification, fear and compassion (the goal is purification). Think about it – it didn't occur to him to write anything about pleasure.
But then-think about it – what is your question?
Even if you mean some special higher or cultural pleasures, etc. (this cannot be understood from the question), still this bundle of art and pleasure is not eternal (probably Gleb Simonov is right about the 18th-19th century). And that doesn't mean your question is bad.�
It'll just pass.
It's not very clear why a person does art at all (that's the beauty of it!). And you ask-what is the ultimate goal of his meaningless (apparently) activities.