**** ROTATE **** **** ROTATE **** **** ROTATE **** **** ROTATE ****

Find this Story

Print, a form you can hold

Wireless download to your Amazon Kindle

Look for a summary or analysis of this Story.

Enjoy this? Share it!


Before Beauty
by [?]

The antithesis of art in method is science, as Coleridge has intimated. As the latter aims at the particular, so the former aims at the universal. One would have truth of detail, the other truth of ensemble. The method of science may be symbolized by the straight line, that of art by the curve. The results of science, relatively to its aim, must be parts and pieces; while art must give the whole in every act; not quantitively of course, but qualitively,–by the integrity of the spirit in which it works.

The Greek mind will always be the type of the artist mind, mainly because of its practical bent, its healthful objectivity. The Greek never looked inward, but outward. Criticism and speculation were foreign to him. His head shows a very marked predominance of the motive and perceptive powers over the reflective. The expression of the face is never what we call intellectual or thoughtful, but commanding. His gods are not philosophers, but delight in deeds, justice, rulership.

Among the differences between the modern and the classical aesthetic mind is the greater precision and definiteness of the latter. The modern genius is Gothic, and demands in art a certain vagueness and spirituality like that of music, refusing to be grasped and formulated. Hence for us (and this is undoubtedly an improvement) there must always be something about a poem, or any work of art, besides the evident intellect or plot of it, or what is on its surface, or what it tells. This something is the Invisible, the Undefined, almost Unexpressed, and is perhaps the best part of any work of art, as it is of a noble personality. To amuse, to exhibit culture, to formulate the aesthetic, or even to excite the emotions, is by no means all,–is not even the deepest part. Beside these, and inclosing all, is the general impalpable effect, like good air, or the subtle presence of good spirits, wordless but more potent far than words. As, in the superbest person, it is not merely what he says or knows or shows, or even how he behaves, but the silent qualities, like gravitation, that insensibly but resistlessly hold us; so in a good poem, or in any other expression of art.