The Ancient and Modern System of the Arts

British Journal of Aesthetics 55 (1):1-17 (2015)
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Paul Oskar Kristeller famously argued that the modern ‘ system of the arts ’ did not emerge until the mid-eighteenth century, in the work of Charles Batteux. On this view, the modern conception of the fine arts had no parallel in the ancient world, the middle-ages or the modern period prior to Batteux. This paper argues that Kristeller was wrong. The ancient conception of the imitative arts completely overlaps with Batteux’s fine arts : poetry, painting, music, sculpture, and dance. Writers from the sixteenth century on adopted the ancient conception of the imitative arts and anticipated the views of Batteux by 200 years. Batteux simply popularized the rubric ‘fine arts ’



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James O. Young
University of Victoria

Citations of this work

What Makes Kant an Aesthetic Cognitivist about Fine Art? A Response to Young.Aviv Reiter - 2021 - Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 79 (1):108-111.
Kant's Musical Antiformalism.James O. Young - 2020 - Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 78 (2):171-182.
Schopenhauer's Aesthetic Ideology.Michel-Antoine Xhignesse - 2023 - In David Bather Woods & Timothy Stoll (eds.), The Schopenhauerian mind. New York, NY: Routledge. pp. 127-40.

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