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A Brief History Of Aesthetics Essay

1542 words - 6 pages

A Brief History of Aesthetics

Aesthetics is the theoretical study of the arts and related types of behavior and experience. It is traditionally regarded as a branch of philosophy, concerned with the understanding of beauty and its manifestations in art and nature. However, in the latter 20th century there developed a tendency to treat it as an independent science, concerned with investigating the phenomena of art and its place in human life. Yet, what in a field with a hazy line in between being classified as a science or study of beliefs is considered data for determining what can be studied? It can simply be drawn to the only three things involved in the process of art : The creator, the person experiencing, and the art itself.

Now this leads us to understand what exactly, is art. studies all the typical “arts”. This includes music, literature, theatre, dance, film, as well as painting, sculpture, and architecture. This directs the student towards a very broad field. For example, architecture may involve the Sistine Chapel, considered one of the world’s most loved works of art. However, it may also include the landscaping in a small town square. So then, art is defined as something that deals with both the “useful” and “fine” arts, insofar as they appeal to aesthetic taste, or as long as they are created with the specific intent to cause a reaction, whether it be positive or negative.

Some disagreement about the proper definition of survives from the conflict of rival schools of thought in philosophy and art criticism during the 18th ad 19th centuries, when first achieved recognition as a distinct field of knowledge and examination. The turning point which influenced most scholars to believe that leaned toward the sciences, rather than towards philosophy began with Immanuel Kant’s Critique of Aesthetic Judgment. The approach to beauty and art became more metaphysical and transcendental.

A leader in the renewed attempt of art as science was Hippolyte Taine, who proposed that styles of art should be studied in the same way as plants are studied by botanists, and are subject to the same evolutionary development. At the same time in Germany, the name Kunstwissenschaft was applied to the historical writings of Semper, Fiedler, Burckhardt, and Riegl. In their writings, they strove for neutrality in comparative analysis in order to avoid personal judgments of art, therefore evading any biased opinions in dealing with the newly classified science of .

Kunstwissenschaft propelled more scientists , specifically G. T. Fechner to turn the definition of from “philosophy of beauty” to the empirical psychology and sociology for artistic creation and appreciation. His work emphasized the statistical study of individual aesthetic preferences for standardized types of object, such as rectangles. The subjects’ heart rate, visual reaction, and perspiration levels were monitored , thus giving “proof” of reaction to...

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