TEras #10: Paul Oskar Kristeller, about history of the Fine Art system

OK so this is what I got from Kristeller. I would say that somehow I enjoy reading his works. It makes me want to read other writings in triple A, including Ranciere, which is a good thing, absolutely.

Who is Kristeller?

Paul Oskar Kristeller (May 22, 1905 in Berlin – June 7, 1999 in New YorkUSA) was an important scholar of Renaissance humanism. He was awarded the Haskins Medal in 1992. He was last active as Professor Emeritus of Philosophy at Columbia University in New York, where he mentored both Irving Louis Horowitz and A. James Gregor. (wiki)

His influence:

The emphasis of Kristeller's research was on the philosophy of Renaissance humanism. He is the author of important studies on Marsilio FicinoPietro Pomponazzi and Giambattista Vico.An especially important achievement is his Iter Italicum (the title recalls Iter Alemannicum and other works of Martin Gerbert), a large work describing numerous uncatalogued manuscripts. After decades of neglect, Kristeller's lengthy, erudite essay of the early 1950s, "The Modern System of the Arts", in Journal of the History of Ideas, proved to be an influential, much reprinted classic reading in Philosophy of Art. (wiki)

Kristeller tells us that in the history of ‘fine arts’ before ‘modern age’ or 18th century, actually paintings rarely mentioned. Fine arts, long time ago, includes poetry, rhetoric, music, sculpture, astronomy, medicine, mathematics, etc. It even includes matters that we classify as science.  Before renaissance Paintings is classify as the act of imitation, as well as sculpture.
Considering previous reading about Kant and Hume, the definition of ‘beauty’ in ancient Greek, either, is not only limited to physical beauty but also related with beautiful habits, personal act, etc.

16th century - Renaissance

·         Renaissance writers want their paintings to be recognized as liberal art. To enhance the social and prestige of paintings and other visual art to be as good as poetry, rhetoric, and music.
·         Leonardo Da Vinci tried to emphasize a relationship of painting and mathematic and anatomy.
·         1563 in Florence, painters, sculptors, and architects builds Academy of Art, in influence of Vasari[1]. The curriculum includes anatomy and mathematics.

16th to 18th century                                                                                       

·         Writings show comparative between paintings and poetry.
·         1546 – Benedetto Varchii compare paintings and sculpture
·         Leonardo’s Paragone which argues for the superiority of paintings from poetry, music, and sculpture.  (Kristeller, 1951-2)
·         The definition of beauty in Renaissance still borrowing ancient talk (personal beauty and so on).[2]
·         The writers in this century didn’t make attempt to separate fine arts with science.[3]

17th century

·         Cultural leadership moved from Italy to French
·         Painting becomes more flourish
·         1635 Academie Francaise, French language, poetry, literature,
·         1648 Academie royale de Painture et de Sculpture
·         More academies for music, architecture, dance, three visual arts, and then academy of sciences which have no relation to fine arts.
·         There are development in theoretical and critical literature of visual art in particular.[4]
·         The parallel between poetry and painting important to the writers. The terms Beaux Art which seems related with visual arts alone, actually related with music and poetry as well.[5]
·         In this century there is a rise of emancipation of the natural science.[6] After Galileo and Descrates works have been completed. Academies des Science[7] and Royal Societies became active.
·         Querelle des Anciens et Modernes. Two points: (1) various field of human endeavor leads to various classification of knowledge and culture, (2) there are two kinds of fields: mathematical basis and talent-critique basis.[8] Separation between science and art.
·         Music mentioned in the last part of science, in Charles Perrault’s book.[9]

18th century - French

·         Interest in music and visual art increased
·         Beauty by J.P. de Crousaz (1714) is an important attempt to divide beauty definition from goodness.
·         Abbe Dubos (1719): analogies between painting and poetries and the difference between them without any interest in judging which one more prestigious. First writing about poetry and painting from the amateurs, which states that the best judgment comes from the amateur.[10]
·         Dubos includes poetry in Beaux Art
·         Abbe Batteux (1746): a system of fine arts. He separates fine arts which have pleasures to their end, from mechanical arts. Fine arts includes music, poetry, painting, sculpture, and dance. There’s a third group who combine pleasure and usefulness, which includes: eloquence, and architecture.
·         Jean de Ront d’Alembert[11] in Discourse Preliminaire divide knowledge into: Philosophy (grammar, eloquence, history, natural science), and those cognition which consist an imitation (painting, sculpture, architecture, poetry, music).[12]
·         Encyclopédie[13]
·         Larcombe portable dictionary of Fine Art covers: architecture, sculpture, engraving, painting, poetry, and music.

18th century - England

·         Henry Pecham[14]: treatrise of painting, influenced by Renaissance.
·         After Querelle influence spread from French, William Wotton: tried to cover systematically all human art and activities.[15]
·         History of The Wars of Ancients and Moderns (1705), works in England which is related with Querelle.
·         Anthony, Earl of Shaftesbury: considered as founder of modern aesthetics. He did not make distinction between aesthetic and moral beauty. And his moral sense still include both ethical and aesthetic objects. He writes about imagination… the pleasure of imagination has to be found in the works such as architecture, sculpture, painting, poetry, music, gardening,
·         After Shaftesbury: distinction between ethic and aesthetic.
·         The necessary art, and the art of elegance. (James Harris)[16]

18th century - Germany

·         Baumgarten: gives definition of term aesthetic: is the theory of sensuous knowledge, which is a counterpart of logic as a theory of intellectual knowledge, firstly related to poetry and rhetoric, and later gives the theory to all arts including music and visual art.
·         Georg Friedrich Meier: limit the theory only to literature (?)
·         Laokoon (1766): put an end to the parallel between painting and sculpture.
·         Mendelsshon: demands fine art (painting, sculpture, music, dance, architecture) and belles letters (poetry, eloquence) reduced to same common principle better than imitation.
·         Sulzer: General Theory of The Fine Art, covers poetry, eloquence, music, visual art.
·         Goethe: ridicules the idea of grouping all the arts altogether which very different from each other, but in the end he accept Fine Art system.
·         Herder: active contribute to classify the Fine Art.
Back to Kant as Conclussion

Kant states that he didn’t follow Baumgarten’s terminology since he does not believe in any possibility of philosophical theory of the arts. Kant gives division of Fine Arts: plastic art (sculpture, architecture, painting, and gardening), speaking art (poetry and eloquence), art of the beautiful play of sentiments (music and the art of color).[17]


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Giorgio_Vasari, last modified on 20 July 2014 at 10:08, last accessed on 26 August 2014 at 5:52 PM.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/French_Academy_of_Sciences, last modified on 13 August 2014 at 14:59, last accessed on 26 August 2014 at 7:13 PM
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paul_Oskar_Kristeller,  last modified on 12 August 2014 at 02:31, last accessed on 26 August 2014 at 8:04 PM
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jean_le_Rond_d'Alembert, last modified on 30 July 2014 at 03:05, last accessed on 26 August 2014 at 8:21 PM
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Henry_Peacham, last modified on 20 June 2014 at 08:22, last accessed on 26 August 2014 8:48 PM

[1] 1511-1574, Italian Architect and Painters who first classify Paintings along with Sculpture and Architectural works. His writing titled “Lives of the Most Excellent Painters, Sculptors, and Architects” is the first encyclopedia of best art work during his time. (en.wikipedia.com)
[2] KRISTELLER, P. O. 1951-2. The Modern System of the Arts: a study in the history of aesthetics [parts 1 & 2]. Journal of the History of Ideas, 12, 13, 496-527, 17-46. p.186
[3] Ibid. p.189
[4] Ibid. p. 191
[5] Ibid. p.192
[6] Ibid. p.193
[7] Academies des Science in France, first known president is Napoleon Bonaparte, started in suggestion from Jean Baptise-Colbert with a small group of scholar who met in Kings Library. (en.wikipedia.com)
[8] KRISTELLER, P. O. 1951-2. The Modern System of the Arts: a study in the history of aesthetics [parts 1 & 2]. Journal of the History of Ideas, 12, 13, 496-527, 17-46. P.193-194
[9] Ibid. p.194
[10] Ibid. p.198
[11] D’Alembert was French mathematician, mechanician, Physicist, philosopher, and music theorist. The wave equation or D’Alembert formula is the most well-known thing related to him. (en.wikipedia.com)
[12] KRISTELLER, P. O. 1951-2. The Modern System of the Arts: a study in the history of aesthetics [parts 1 & 2]. Journal of the History of Ideas, 12, 13, 496-527, 17-46. p.202
[13] Encyclopédie, ou dictionnaire raisonné des sciences, des arts et des métiers (English: Encyclopaedia, or a Systematic Dictionary of the Sciences, Arts, and Crafts) was a general encyclopedia published in France between 1751 and 1772, with later supplements, revised editions, and translations. It was edited by Denis Diderot and, until 1759, co-edited by Jean le Rond d'Alembert. (e.wikipedia.org)
[14] Henry Peacham is the name shared by two English Renaissance writers who were father and son. The elder Henry Peacham (1546–1634) was an English curate, best known for his treatise on rhetoric titled The Garden of Eloquence first published in 1577. He lived atLeverton-in-Holland, in Lincolnshire.[1] His son, Henry Peacham (b. 1578, d. in or after 1644) was a poet and writer,[2] known today primarily for his book, The Compleat Gentleman, first printed in 1622. It is presented as a guidebook on the arts for young men of good birth. In it, he discusses what writers, poets, composers, philosophers, and artists a gentlemen should study in order to become well-educated. Because he mentions a large number of contemporary artistic figures, he is often cited as a primary source in studies of Renaissance artists.
[15] KRISTELLER, P. O. 1951-2. The Modern System of the Arts: a study in the history of aesthetics [parts 1 & 2]. Journal of the History of Ideas, 12, 13, 496-527, 17-46. p. 205
[16] Ibid. p.209.
[17] Ibid. p.224

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