Professor Max Charlesworth and I worked, at Deakin University, on a course, 'Understanding Art'. Max was interested in the Social History of Art and in art as: 'giving form to mere matter'. Here 'form' might be read as 'lucid', 'exemplary', 'beautiful' etcetera. I am an Aristotle Poetics 4 man '… imitating something with the utmost veracity in a picture', and an Aristotle and John Cage man: 'Art is the imitation of nature in the manner of operation. Or a net'. (Cage) (...) (See Aristotle Meteorologica, 381b Book iv.) I was invited by the University of Melbourne to lecture on The Philosophy of Art, which I did for five delightful years. There I included the Heidegger essay, giving it as favourable a reading as I could. Unfortunately I have mislaid my marked-up copy and was forced to re-visit the essay, cold. My new reading lacks - in most respects - my former geniality. Kant's Aesthetic Ideas give us more than Heidegger does. So: I stuck with Aristotle, Cage and Kant. (shrink)
Antonello da Messina’s Annunciation with the Blessèd Virgin sola breaks with iconic convention, so inviting new interpretations of the theme. The Rome exhibition of 2006 allowed one to compare Antonello with van Eyck: Antonello seemed pre-modern. This review discusses three important essays on the Annunciation (see the last three keywords). All three perceptive essays raise theological and phenomenological issues directly related to the almost unique iconic representation which Antonello gives us.
‘Good’ is nothing specific but is transcendentally or generally applied over specific, and specified, ‘categories’. These ‘categories’ may be seen—at least for the purposes of this note—as under Platonic Forms. The rule that instances under a category or form need a Form to be under is valid. It may be tautological: but this is OK for rules. Not being specific, however, ‘good’ neither needs nor can have a specifying Form. So, on these grounds, the Form of the Good is otious. (...) Any rule of the kind, ‘Everything needs a Form, so good needs a Form of the Good’ is mistaken, in that good is not a kind, but a transcendental. To give a Form to the transcendental ‘good’ is a mistake: it is a Rylian category mistake. And the Form of the Good either does no work, or works unprofitably in any but an aesthetic sense. (shrink)
A review of Peter Steele’s: The Whispering Gallery: Art into Poetry, in which Steele writes poems on and to paintings and the sculpture Black Sun (By Inge King) in the National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne, Australia. Each work on which there is a poem is reproduced. In this book Steele writes more to the ‘contour’ of the topic-work than he did in Plenty. His poems – as ever sidenoted – are tensed between the topicality of the work of art in (...) question, and Kant’s aesthetic which involves ‘the free play of the cognitive faculties’. In ths tension lies the particular pleasure of Steele’s poetry. (shrink)
A review of Peter Steele’s Plenty, a book in which each poem is faced by a colour plate of the painting or object which sparked it off. Hollander’s ecphrasis and Krieger’s ekphrasis are held in – possibly unresolvable – dialectic by Steele’s poems. The only resolution which one can find is one of wit rather than of philosophy.
This paper explores the extreme but well-argued-for thesis that the indirect object of an aesthetic experience of serious art is the human soul of the person having the experience. The author of the thesis was Fr. Arthur Little S.J. a mid twentieth-century Irishman, professional philosopher and philosophical popularizer. The paper treats Little’s thesis seriously: comparisons are drawn with Kant, which may be of interest even to those hostile to Little’s central assertion. Little makes a brilliant analysis of a ‘free-beauty’, making (...) the sharpest contrast between this and the most serious art, tragedy. Tragedy, Little holds Kant not able to cope with. One agrees. (shrink)
The paper concludes the argument that certain aesthetic objects conduce to a feeling of radical contingency, and to an openness to St Thomas's Third Way proof for the existence of God. Much is conceded to the late Mr Gershon Weiler's criticism of an earlier discussion. The upshot is (a) that Necessary Being as converse of radical contingency may be an Aesthetic Idea/Sublime of Kant's kind, and (b) that without the ‘I AM that I am’, it is empty. The ‘inference’ from (...) radical contingency to Necessary Being may function as George Eliot thought Wit to function, intellectually/aesthetically. (shrink)