Is passion inherently artistically unconscious or not

Reality and Reality in Modernity

[41] […] 1. Art cannot be found in any other way than on its own. Only by trying to confront the world with the artist's interest can one arrive at giving one's dealings with works of art that content that is based solely on the knowledge of the innermost essence of artistic activity. But in order to be able to understand the artist's interest in the visible world, it is good to recall beforehand that two main types of human interest in phenomena come from perception, in the independent and free development of which we derive the peculiar strength of artistic talent will seek, go out, but will very soon oppose it.

The relationship in which man stands by virtue of his sensitivity to the world can be very different in nature and degree. From the extreme dullness and indifference to the highest irritability there is an infinite series of intermediate levels. Many are alien to things and cannot gain a relationship with them; they are inaccessible to the sensation of the power of appearances. This indifference is rightly viewed as a lack of individual organization. Others, whose natures are richer and finer, bring more points of contact towards the phenomena, and if those, as it were, lack the organs with which they could grasp a great variety of properties of things, then these at least occasionally see the effects of these properties exposed; they do not sink down to that completely indifferent persistence, but neither do they rise above an isolated, fragmentary sense of things. Thus the individual may vividly perceive beauty, but he will always be touched by it only as a single quality, and the object as such, whether it is beautiful or not, remains alien to him. It is a rare advantage of significantly organized individuals to be in close proximity to nature with their feelings; For them the relationship to things does not arise from individual effects of the same; rather, they grasp existence itself and feel the objectivity of beings even before they dissolve this overall feeling into individual sensations. It is a pleasure, a joy in the living being of things, which stands above differences such as that of beautiful and ugly, it is a grasp not of individual properties that reveal themselves to the sensation, but of nature itself, which only later becomes the wearer of those properties. Both that feeling for individual properties of things and the feeling of nature that goes beyond the perceptive apprehension of individual properties can become extremely intense in individual individuals and in individual moments. It increases to intimacy and enthusiasm and forms the content of a passionate enthusiasm.

Sensation cannot be thought independently of perception; but the question arises whether, in its intensification, it presupposes an intensification of the intuitive comprehension of those things from which it is evoked. The sensation occurs even with less developed intuition; it is excited by the most superficial ideas which we owe to perception, and its strength depends on the irritability of our feeling, not on the extent of our perceptual perception. Indeed, if we observe ourselves correctly, we will find that we do not receive a stimulus or a support in the development of our perceptual imagination, but rather a hindrance from the sensation. The interest of our feeling is different from the interest of perceptual perception, and if that comes to the fore in our soul activity, then this must take a back seat. We insist z. For example, in the sensation of the beauty of an object, we are able to penetrate ourselves completely with this sensation, to make it the predominant content of our momentary existence, without taking a step forward in the intuitive mastery of the object. But at the moment when we are again interested in the perception, we must be able to forget every sensation in order to be able to pursue the perceptual understanding of the object for its own sake. The fact that many people convert their perception into sensation all too quickly is one reason why their perception remains at a low level of development.

It is regarded as a main requirement of artistic talent to have a particularly fine and excitable sensibility towards certain properties of things; indeed, with outstanding artists we may well encounter the above-mentioned intimate sensory connection with the totality of objective nature. But the presence of such a feeling is not yet an indication of the presence of artistic talent. It is the prerequisite for artistic as well as any other intellectual production; for whoever does not already try to grasp the world with the instinctive forces of his nature will never reach the point of finally submitting it to a higher spiritual consciousness. What makes the artist an artist is that in his own way he rises above the standpoint of feeling. Sensation accompanies him in all phases of his artistic activity, it keeps him in constant close relationship to things, it nourishes the warmth of life in which he is connected as a part of the world, it continuously guides him [44] with the material to, in whose processing his spiritual existence consists; but increased as it is, he must still be able to control it with the clarity of his mind; And if the artistic result is only conceivable on the basis of an extraordinary strength of feeling, it is only possible through the even more extraordinary strength of the spirit, which preserves the calm of objective interest and the energy of creative power for the artist even in the moments of the most intense feeling .

2. In the ability of abstract knowledge we have the means to subject the phenomena to certain demands of our mind and thus to appropriate them in a certain form. We unconsciously exercise this ability in a thousand cases where the need of life tacitly commands us; we increase it to a consciously managed power in order, driven by a higher necessity, to make us the spiritual masters of creation. It is a peculiar spiritual process that leads to the conceptual formation of the world; As familiar as it is to us, it must appear enigmatic to us; for with him there is a sudden, inexplicable transition from the sensual to the nonsensible, from the visible to the invisible, from intuition to abstraction.

In those times when the interest in the scientific explanation of the world has not only taken possession of the most gifted minds, but has come to extensive dominion through all circles of education, one will often, indeed almost generally, meet the opinion, first, that The outward appearance of things is something in and of itself insignificant compared to the inner meaning which scientific knowledge tries to bring to light; secondly, that things are already fully known by science according to their outward appearance, but that science has this knowledge can only be regarded as a subordinate preliminary stage in order to ascend to higher knowledge.

But how can one, when speaking of things of nature, make a distinction between essential and insignificant? These are relative valuations, depending on the point of view one takes, and if the individual only seems to determine the essence of a thing, the observation and investigation of which his efforts are directed, then he has none other than a subjective right to declare this page essential to him to be insignificant to all other pages.

And as far as the other point is concerned, one must first be clear that the scientific consideration is in no way based on a completeness of the perception. For scientific consideration, intuition can only be of interest and value if it enables the transition to the concept, and it does so at a relatively low level. Even in ordinary life man insists on perception only to the point where he can turn into abstraction. He repeats this procedure innumerable times, and every intuition that imposes itself on him disappears as an intuition as soon as the point is reached where he can, as it were, hook up with his comprehension and extract from the intuition what he only too often for its sole purpose holds essential content. Scientific consideration would completely deviate from its goal if appearance as such began to be of value to it and if it forgot to pause in the perceptual conception where it can still pass over to the concept. If one persists in perception, one very soon arrives at a fullness that no conceptual expression can any longer denote or encompass. Of all the sciences, it is the natural sciences which are most dependent on a precise observation of the shape and the changes in the formations, which is at the same time on the details of the parts and on the connection of the whole. Anyone who has to look closely at things according to their external appearance, memorize them and make them entirely his own in order to always have them in mind when drawing conclusions, will not be inclined to admit that intuitive knowledge can cover a much wider area than could be known to him for his special purpose. But precisely for those who need a rich view of nature for their scientific purposes, the tendency towards abstraction makes it difficult to understand the view, apart from and beyond abstraction. The more they penetrate into perception, in order to translate it more and more into concepts, the more incapable they become of maintaining even a short distance on the basis of perception without demanding a concept, and all they know is only a means to get to knowledge. And when they then measure art, in so far as they see in it an imitation of nature, with the standard of their knowledge of nature, the inadequacy of their conception of nature reveals itself in the inadequacy of their requirements. They believe that they can control the artist in the knowledge of nature, transfer their way of looking at nature to the artistic replica and see in this basically nothing other than a scientific illustration that illustrates the conceptual abstraction found. And since art would then decline to a means of evoking perceptions where nature itself would not be present, or of isolating nature according to individual parts or sides in order to be able to more easily understand what is difficult to recognize in the complicated image of nature so they think they have to leave the ground of intuition in order to find the meaning of art.

Finally, however, it may also be admitted that the perception is not transformed into the concept in such a way that nothing remains of it, that one does not have to abandon the perception entirely because the concept has been taken from it, the scientific researcher always becomes all To consider activity to be subordinate to the perception that does not lead to control of the same in the term. But even if he has understood the world in his own way and has thus satisfied the demands of his spirit, he is still wrong if he thinks that everything is done for which human nature demands and is able to do so. Not going over to abstraction from perception does not mean remaining at a level from which entry into the realm of knowledge is not yet possible, rather it means keeping other paths open which also lead to knowledge, and if this knowledge if it is different from that abstract, it can nevertheless be a real, ultimate, and highest knowledge.

Already in early youth we can notice a difference in individual individuals insofar as some try to draw concepts from the material that is supplied to their perception and direct their attention to the [47] inner causal connection of the phenomena, others on the other hand, more unconcerned about this invisible relation of things, exercise your powers of understanding in contemplating the external conditions of phenomena. In both cases it is a gift of observation which is revealed early on in important people; but the different sense of observation reveals a different relationship in which the one and the other are to the world; And just as some, if they are really talented, do not stop at the need for a dry and sterile knowledge of things, so too are others very soon converted into an activity through the knowledge of things mediated through perception first to get close to that whole world of appearances, to grasp it and begin to understand it.

It is true that the deception is widespread that by means of scientific penetration man is able to subject the world to the need and ability of knowledge in such a way that he can now really hope to possess it as it is, as a comprehended one; and even if man admits that scientific research is faced with tasks the solution of which lies in the foreseeable future, he still knows that, even if the solution could never be reached, it lies at the end of the path on which he is on is located. He is not always clear about this, however, that even if science had achieved its most distant goals, had realized its most daring dreams, if we had scientifically grasped this whole infinite world being, we would still be faced with a series of riddles, even their very existence would be hidden from all science. The struggle of submission that inquiring man enters into with nature makes him the scientific ruler of the world. This may entitle him to be extremely proud, but it will not prevent others from appearing to have done little with it and from feeling the unavoidable need to subject the world to a completely different process of appropriation.

As a rule, everyone will consider the most important way of making the world understandable to which they feel driven. Nature is very sparing in producing individuals who are equipped with the full abundance of human abilities to express the manifold contents of the world. There are many who seek versatility by subjecting many things to one way of looking at things, few who can be versatile by subjecting one thing to many ways of looking at things.

3. The awakening of the feeling as well as the appearance of the term denote the respective end point of the perception. The amount of ideas that is sufficient for both may be very different, but even the greatest is only a small one compared to the infinity which is open to man here too; only those who are able to persevere with the perception in spite of the sensation and beyond abstraction can prove the artistic profession. But only seldom does intuition attain such an independent development, such an independent existence.

The emotional life of people is infinitely different depending on gender, natural disposition, age, people, time; in the same way the measure of concepts and abstract knowledge which the individual is in possession of is infinitely varied. Even with very simple things, knowledge is often limited to the general characteristics of the genus, [49] while it seldom extends to the particular peculiarities of the individual thing. Objects that surround us daily for long periods of time are so firmly imprinted on their external appearance according to our imagination that we would be aware of even small changes in their shape or if they were exchanged with others, which are only infinite deviated little from them; and yet one only needs to complicate the situation to a certain extent in order to prove that the apparently most certain knowledge is still very uncertain, that it is sufficient as long as the conditions remain the same but that it leaves its owner in the lurch very easily, as soon as it is even questioned. Indeed, in some cases it is difficult to establish the identity of people even through those who have been very close to them and have been associated with them on a continuous basis.

From the objects that are presented to his perception, man usually appropriates images that are composed of only a very few of all the elements that the objects really offer to perception; and indeed it is not the mere fault of the memory that cannot permanently hold on to the image, which is clear and complete at the moment of perception, as soon as the object is no longer sensually present; rather, the fault lies in the act of perception itself, and not in the act of perception Memory is an idea that is gradually becoming more and more inadequate, but the perception that takes place in the sensual presence of the object to be perceived is imperfect. So man conducts the business of perception in a very negligent manner; he is generally more inclined to expand his abstract knowledge than his intuitive knowledge; Ordinary life also tests the extent and accuracy of knowledge far more often than the extent and completeness of ideas, and the overall judgment of the ability and education of the individual is made far more on the basis of that test than on this one.

The education to which the mental faculties of man are subjected in order to make them fit for the use of [50] life extends almost exclusively to the faculty of forming concepts. If one sometimes places more emphasis on perception in education than is usually the case, this is superfluous and rather harmful if one only allows perception as a means of arriving at the concept to be given a broader space in the classroom. No special event is required to bring the perception close to man, and, however strong and practiced his thinking faculty may be, he will always find himself before an infinite task when it comes to mastering the perception which he has that life incessantly feeds. However, the more independently and independently the ability to think in abstract terms is practiced, the more powerful it will become in relation to perception. The desire to allow perception to be given greater consideration in the spiritual education of man would only be justified if it were based on the insight that perception has an independent meaning for man, independent of all abstraction, that the faculty of intuition as well as the abstract faculty of thought have a right to be trained for a regulated and conscious use, so that man is not only in the conception but also in the intuition of attaining a spiritual mastery over the world.

But the ability to perceive almost everywhere declines and remains restricted to an almost unconscious and accidental use. Even those who, for lack of ability or because they are forced to spend their lives in practical activity, only achieve a very poor conceptual understanding of the world, nevertheless understand the meaning of the demand placed on the human mind in this regard, and knowing at least the desire underlying the questions that scientific research in the broadest sense seeks to answer, they sometimes realize the infinity before which man is confronted with his desire and striving for knowledge. On the other hand, even those who restlessly expand the sphere of their abstract knowledge will find it difficult to grasp that man, with his mental faculties, also stands in front of an infinity with regard to intuition, that the area of ​​the visible is a field of Research could be, in which even the most eminent minds were allowed to take only single steps, while it would appear more and more immeasurable to those who tried to penetrate further and further into it.

4. Only those who have penetrated through to the free use of their perceptual faculties will be able to convince themselves of the infinity of the perceptual conception of the world. As long as perception serves a purpose, it is unfree and finite; the purpose may be whatever it may, then perception remains a tool; it becomes superfluous once the purpose is achieved. In the case of other intellectual activities, it is considered a narrow-minded restriction to only recognize them as justified if they are undertaken for a specific purpose. Man has always felt an irresistible urge, after having learned to use his powers as useful through the demands of life, to exercise them freely; yes, the results of that free use of mental faculties are revered as the highest human achievements. But what one should believe must be the most uninhibited thing that a person can do, the apprehension of the world according to its visible appearance, is the most embarrassed. Man certainly understands the need to educate himself to greater care in looking at things and in memorizing the ideas he has gained; the ends for which perception serves as a means increase; From the slavery of the daily necessities of life it rises to the service of the noblest pleasures, to the tool of the highest endeavors. But the goal is always predetermined for it, and it ends in the end achieved.

It is the essence of the artistic nature that it is born with and to the free use of the perceptive faculty. For the artist, perception is from the outset an impartial, free activity that does not serve any purpose beyond perception and ends in this; it is this alone that can lead to artistic design. To the artist the world is only an appearance; he approaches it as a whole, which he strives to reproduce as a whole in his perception; the essence of the world, which he strives to appropriately spiritually and to subjugate, rests on him in the visible and tangible form of things. In this way we understand how for the artist the perception that it is no longer set a goal outside of itself can become an infinite one. At the same time, however, we also recognize that for the artist, perception must have an immediate meaning that is not dependent on any end to be achieved by it.

The artist's relationship to the world, which remains incomprehensible to us as long as we, as non-artists, insist on the position we take on the world, can be understood if we understand it as a thoroughly original and peculiar relationship between the human powers of knowledge and things. And this relationship is based on a requirement that is part of the spiritual nature of man. The origin and existence of art is based on an immediate grasping of the world by a peculiar force of the human spirit. Its meaning is no other than a certain form in which man not only strives to make himself conscious of the world, but is actually forced by his nature. Thus the position in which the artist finds himself in relation to the world is not an arbitrarily chosen one, but a naturally given one; the relationship in which he places himself to things is not a derived one, but an immediate one, the spiritual activity that he takes on the world in opposition, not an arbitrary one, but a necessary one, and the result to which he arrives will not be a subordinate and dispensable, but a supreme one and, if it does not want to mutilate itself, completely indispensable to the human mind.

5. It is customary to call the artist's activity an imitative one. But this conception is based on errors which generate new errors.

First of all, one can only imitate an object by making another that is like it. But what kind of correspondence exists between an image and the depicted object? The artist can gain very little from the model of nature that makes it the object of nature. If he strives to imitate nature, he will soon be led to the necessity of uniting very different sides of the natural model in his imitation. He is on the path that must ultimately lead to the endeavor to botch nature in her creative craft, a childish, senseless undertaking in which the lack of thought on which it is based has often been forgotten above the semblance of a certain ingenious audacity that it presumed. Against such endeavors, the trivial objection is justified that art, insofar as it imitates it, must lag behind nature and that imperfect imitation must appear useless and worthless, when one is not exactly careful with originals.

But then, if one relates the imitation only to the external appearance, one proceeds from the assumption that the artist has a fixed capital of minted and coined forms at his disposal in nature, the reproduction of which is basically only a mechanical activity. Then, on the one hand, artistic imitation is asked to serve higher purposes, to be a means of expression for something that has its existence independent of appearance, no longer in the realm of the visible but in the realm of the invisible. that it is a script in which something is communicated in a peculiar way which can also be expressed by another means; on the other hand, one demands of the artist that in his imitation he reproduces nature purified, ennobled, perfected; out of his own power of perfection he should make demands on the model of nature, and what nature offers him should only serve as a basis for him to be able to represent what nature could be if she had chosen him to be its creator. Arrogance becomes justified and arbitrariness a spiritual power; The unleashed imagination of man, which has degenerated into fantasy, is considered to be an artistically productive force and believes that the artist is called and able to shape another world as he sees fit, alongside and above the real world. The realm of art opposes the realm of nature; it assumes a higher right because it owes its existence to the human spirit.

6. The artistic activity is neither slavish imitation nor arbitrary feeling, but free design.

In order for something to be imitated, what is to be imitated must first and foremost exist at all. [54] But how should the nature that arises in the artistic representation also have an existence without and before it? Even the smallest of us must produce our world according to its visible form; for we cannot say of anything that it is there until it has entered our knowing consciousness.

Who would call science an imitation of nature? And yet one could do this with the same right with which one calls art imitative. In science, however, it is much easier to understand that it is research and formation at the same time, that it has no other meaning and meaning than the ability of the spiritual nature of man to bring the world to a comprehensible and comprehended existence. It is the natural, necessary activity of man as soon as he awakens from a dull, animal state to a higher, brighter consciousness. Art is as good at research as science, and science is as good at design as art. Art appears just as necessary as science at the moment when man is forced to create the world for his cognitive consciousness.

But just as the need arises only at a certain level of spiritual development, and with it the possibility of producing a scientifically recognized world, so art becomes only possible and at the same time necessary for man at the moment when the perceptible world appears to him as an element, which is capable and in need of enhancement to a rich and shaped existence. It is the power of the artistic imagination that mediates this transition. The artist's imagination is basically nothing other than the power of imagination, which we all need to a certain extent in order to possess the world as a world of visible phenomena. But the strength is weak and our world remains poor and needy. Only when a powerful imagination evokes element upon element from the inexhaustible soil of the world in tireless active activity does man suddenly see himself confronted with an infinitely intricate task where he used to find his way without effort. It is the imagination that, looking far around, summons the remote and conjures up the fullness of life hidden from the dull senses in the narrowest of spaces. It is one of the intuitions which enable entry into a higher sphere of spiritual existence that man perceives the visible appearance of things, which he had accepted as simple and clear, in their infinite richness and in their fluctuating confusion . Artistic activity begins where man finds himself juxtaposed with the world according to its visible appearance, as an infinitely puzzling one, where he, driven by an inner necessity, grasps the confused mass of the visible that storms on him with the power of his spirit and developed for a designed existence. In art man enters into a struggle with nature, not for his physical existence, but for his spiritual; for the satisfaction of his spiritual needs is only given to him as a reward for striving and work.

So art does not have to do with figures that it finds before and independently of its activity, but the beginning and end of its activity lies in the creation of the figures, which through them come into existence in the first place. What it creates is not a second world next to another that exists without it, rather it creates the world through and for the artistic consciousness in the first place. And so it does not have to do with a material that would have somehow become the spiritual possession of the human being; what has already succumbed to some kind of spiritual process is lost for them; for it is itself a process by which the spiritual possessions of men are directly enriched; It is what is still untouched by the human spirit that excites its activity; for that which in no way exists for the human spirit, it creates the form under which it comes into existence for the human spirit. It does not proceed from the thought, from the spiritual product, in order to descend to the form, to the shape, rather it rises from the formless and shapeless to the form and shape, and on this way lies its whole spiritual meaning.

7. A peculiar world consciousness develops in the artist.

To a certain extent, every person acquires that consciousness of the world which, as it increases, becomes artistic consciousness. Every human being harbors a world of forms and shapes in his head, every person's first consciousness is filled with the perception of things in their visible appearance. Before the ability to form concepts and to subordinate the sequence of natural processes to the law of cause and effect develops in him, he fills his mind with the manifold images of objective existence; he acquires and creates the multifaceted world, and the first content of his spirit is the consciousness of a visible and tangible nature. Every child is in this state. To him the world is the visible phenomenon insofar as it comes into being through his spirit; it comes to a consciousness of the world before it knows anything about it, it has the world, even before it can designate what it has with the expression world. If other forces develop in a person and, as they become active, create a different consciousness for him, he easily fails to recognize that early consciousness to which he first awoke when he entered life. He regards that early existence as an unconscious, similar to the life of animals in comparison with the new consciousness to which he has come from the world; by bringing the world as a concept into his power, he first believes that he possesses it, and that early consciousness falls prey to atrophy; and while he strives to bring the world of concepts within himself to ever richer and brighter consciousness, the world of perception remains poor and obscure for him. He does not pass from a lower unconscious state into a higher conscious one, rather he sacrifices the other for the sake of the development of one consciousness. He loses the world by acquiring it.

If human nature had not been endowed with artistic talent, the world would be and remain lost to man in a great, infinite side.A powerful urge stirs in the artist to intensify, expand and develop that narrow, dark consciousness with which he had gripped the world during his first spiritual awakening, to develop into ever greater clarity. It is not the artist who needs nature, rather nature needs the artist. The artist does not know how to exploit what nature offers him as well as anyone else, but rather, in a certain direction, nature only gains in a certain direction through the artist's activity for him and for everyone who is interested in him. [57] able to follow his path, a richer and higher existence. In that the artist seems to recognize nature in a certain sense, seems to reveal it, he does not recognize and reveal something that would exist independently of his activity, rather his activity is a thoroughly productive one, and artistic production in general cannot be understood as anything else as the creation of the world taking place in and for human consciousness exclusively with regard to its visible appearance. An artistic consciousness arises in which everything through which the appearance can become significant to man takes a back seat to what can become a perceptual conception pursued purely for its own sake.

The intellectual life of the artist consists in the constant production of this artistic consciousness. This is the actual artistic activity, the actual artistic creation, of which the production of the works of art is only an external result. This activity occurs everywhere where people live. It is a necessary activity, not because people need the effects that emanate from their results, but rather because people have received the strength for this activity. Even at a very low stage of development, this force comes into action in the rudest individuals, even if in a very meager form. We can follow its existence even where it has not yet urged expression in any work of art. However, it does not need to be present in a very high degree in order to outweigh the other sides of spiritual nature and to stamp the predominantly artistic talent on the individual. From there, however, there is an infinite variety and gradation, until one arrives at those rare phenomena in which that power, increased to the highest degree, appears superhuman because it exceeds the usual degree of human power.

The intellectual artistic activity has no result, but it is the result itself. It exhausts itself in every single moment in order to begin anew in every following one. It is only while his mind is at work that man has what he strives for; The clarity of the consciousness to which the individual increases does not at any moment secure him a permanent residence that he could enjoy in peace; rather, every consciousness sinks in the moment in which it arises and clears a new one the place. The activity is also not an uninterrupted progressive one, not an incessantly increasing one; in the single individual it reaches its climax in single moments. The dark consciousness of the world, which makes up the content of its existence, rises in happy moments to a clear vision; but the momentary activity of his spirit is the bright light which illuminates the world for him like a flash; He will try in vain to hold onto it; he must create it anew if it is to shine anew for him. And as in the life of the individual, so it is in the life of mankind. One flatters oneself in vain with the opinion that the knowledge to which the single significant individual has penetrated is an undisputed one in the world; with the individual, knowledge also ceases; no one owns them who does not know how to recreate them, and how long periods of time often pass before nature produces individuals who can even guess the scope and clarity of the consciousness of their distant predecessors. Who can boast of having seen the height of his artistic knowledge of the world even from a distance since the time of Leonardo?

The activity is infinite; it is a constant ceaseless work of the mind to bring the world of appearances to ever more rich development, to ever more perfect form, in one's own consciousness. All the powers of the mind serve this purpose, and all passion, all enthusiasm is of no use to the artist if they do not make their powers subservient to this activity of his mind. As man lets figure after figure rise from the formless mass into his consciousness, the mass remains unexhausted. It is not presumptuousness, but myopia, to think that human artistic activity can ever achieve its ultimate, highest goal. Man only knows the world through them, and he does not know which regions are dark and hidden from him until the artistic activity has conquered his consciousness. Everything he has achieved opens up a view of what is still unreached, and the further the artist extends his rule over the world, the further the borders of the world itself flee from before his eyes. The realm of phenomena [59] becomes boundless for him because it arises under his boundless activity.

8. The artistic consciousness as a whole does not cross the boundaries of the individual; it is never fully expressed externally. The work of art is not the sum total of the individual's artistic activity, but a fragmentary expression for something that cannot be expressed in its entirety. The inner activity that the artist develops, driven by his nature, only increases here and there to an external artistic act, and this does not represent the artistic work in its entirety, but only in a certain stage. It opens a glimpse into a world of artistic consciousness by bringing a figure from this world into a visible, communicable expression; it does not exhaust this world and does not close it off. Just as an infinite artistic activity precedes it, so it can also be followed by an infinite artistic activity. "A good painter," says Dürer, "is full of figure on the inside, and if it were possible that he lived forever, he would have to pour something new out of the inner ideas of which Plato writes through the works."

Even if the intellectual activity of the artist can never be fully represented in the form of the work of art, it nevertheless constantly urges expression and in the work of art it reaches its momentary highest intensification. The work of art is the expression of the artistic consciousness heightened to a relative height. The artistic form is the direct and only expression for this consciousness. The artist does not come to use them in a roundabout way; he does not need to look for it in order to present a content in it which, having arisen formlessly, was looking for a body in which he could find accommodation; rather, artistic expression is immediate and necessary, and at the same time exclusive; The content of the work of art is not first produced by the artistic spirit in an undeveloped form, but only in an as yet undeveloped form. The work of art is not an expression for something that would have an existence even without this expression, an image of the figure living in artistic consciousness - then the creation of the work of art would not be necessary for the artist himself - it is rather the artistic consciousness itself, [ 60] how it comes to the highest development attainable to the individual in the individual case. The technical manipulation by which the work of art is produced becomes a necessity for the artistic mind when it feels the need to bring what lives in it to the highest existence. Technology does not have an independent right in artistic activity; it only serves the spiritual process. Only where the spirit is unable to exercise domination does it attain independent significance, importance, education and become artistically worthless. From the beginning, the intellectual process in the artist has nothing to do with anything other than the same material that appears in the work of art. The creative activity finds its external conclusion in the work of art, the content of the work of art is nothing other than the design itself.

9. But if we ask what is the last climax at which the artistic endeavor must calm down in individual cases, we find that, as in general the human spirit in its striving for knowledge does not find a point of rest before it reaches it the conviction of the necessity has arisen, so even the artist is compelled to heighten his perception to such an extent that it becomes a necessary one for him. Under the power of the artistic imagination the perceptive consciousness of the world becomes more and more rich in form and form. But even if this breadth and diversity of creativity demands admiration from us, we must, if we are able to follow it at all, recognize that the most distinguished artistic endeavor is to develop every form, every shape up to its full existence. On the way, the artist leaves behind everything that had made the appearance important to him in some stages of development; its properties lose their power over him, the more it is subject to the power of his knowledge.

If the artist increases his perception of the phenomena to the point of understanding the necessity, of being so and not being apart, this is a different operation than through which the scientific researcher sees a natural process as necessary. Anyone who does not look at the world with the artist's interest will, if he at all feels the need to know the appearance of things in their necessity, [61] not try to attain this otherwise than by exploring the conditions of their creation ; but he will find it difficult to grasp that the appearance as such has a necessity in itself which is independent of the knowledge of the context of the origin. “So a man”, to quote one of Goethe's words, “is born and educated in the so-called exact sciences, and at the height of his intellectual reason is not easy to grasp that there can be an exact sensual fantasy, without which no art is actually conceivable Very few people even feel the need to develop their vivid ideas to the extent that they acquire the character of necessity, no matter how hostile they are in their knowledge of the inner connections of all indeterminacy and all arbitrariness, however much they may be struggle to organize this chaos of processes into a necessary whole, no matter how far they have progressed in this struggle, the visual world has remained a chaos for them in which arbitrariness leads the rule. The artist cannot calm himself down; indifferent to everything else, he does not let go of the intuition until it has become a conception of his mind that is clear in all its parts, until it has reached the full necessary existence. This is the highest stage to which he can advance his productive knowledge. Complete clarity and necessity coincide.

Note 1

Any dispute about realism or idealism in art is an idle one; it is led around an outwardly similar to art, but inwardly inartistic production. Art, if it is to deserve this name, cannot be either realistic or idealistic, but can always and everywhere only be one and the same, whatever name is attached to it. The so-called realists are not to be blamed for placing the main emphasis on the sensual appearance in their works, but because they are generally no longer able to become aware of the sensual appearance than they can gain even the slightest comprehension. They stop at a low average level of ideas and imitate a nature which deserves to be called an ordinary, mean nature because it is that which is reflected in ordinary, mean minds. They think that they have nature in their power and do not see that what they have in their power is nothing more than the meager possession of the great multitude. That the multitude recognizes nature in their works is only proof that they have not risen above the horizon of the multitude. They work for the lowest need and seek approval by descending to the low standpoint of an undeveloped view of nature. The idealists, however, because they neither feel satisfied with nature as they recognize it, nor are they able to develop their view of nature to ever higher degrees, try to remedy the artistic poverty of their designs with a non-artistic content. Both works are artistically insignificant. All skill in the reproduction of the raw image of nature, all arbitrary content, the direct bearer or indirect sign of which the work of art is made, cannot compensate for the artistic worthlessness. Art can only have one task, one task that it solves in each of its real works and that will always wait for a new solution as long as people are born with the need to bring the world to their artistic consciousness. Art is always realistic because it seeks to produce what is first and foremost reality to man, and it is always idealistic because all the reality it creates is a product of the spirit.

Note 2

Artistic activity is a completely original and entirely independent intellectual activity. It presupposes the greatest prudence and leads to the clearest consciousness. If one is so fond of calling artistic activity unconscious, one only proves that one is unable to enter into the peculiar nature of artistic consciousness. This fact is to blame for so many misconceptions about the position of the artist in the world, views that one believes to flatter the artist while denying him his rights. One likes to regard it as a kind of luxury article of mankind, one adores it for the sake of a kind of activity which stands out from the circle of other human activities, which one calls a flowering of human activity, because it is related to earthly existence seems to wriggle away. But by so excising the artist, by looking at his works, as it were, as a surplus which a benevolent Providence has granted people for consolation and exaltation, one denies him the much more important recognition that he is serious and necessary in the daily work of humanity Part performs as well as any other, that without it humanity would not lack a pleasure, no matter how noble, but a whole kind of higher spiritual existence. Art is called something divine because one does not understand what is human about it. But art is something extremely human and it cannot be seen how it should be anything else. It is no more extraordinary than any other great human achievement. We may call divine what we are conscious of cannot be produced by any human power; but only too often do we call divine that which we have not understood as human, and of course it is easier to trace something that is not understood back to something that is incomprehensible, instead of trying to see if it cannot be made into something comprehensible.


1. “The art of painting cannot be judged, because only by those who are good painters themselves, but it is indeed hidden from others, like a foreign language to you.” This saying by Dürer seems to us explainable and justified if We consider that the activity of the artist is based on a spiritual process which is not to be found again in the entire field of intellectual work in such independent training. We already indicated at the beginning how it must be difficult for the non-artist to penetrate into the understanding of the manifestations of a force alien to him. In the course of spiritual development man, determined by the predominant disposition of his nature and the elements that bring him education and life, develops the world into a certain shape and content; Nothing [64] can appear more valuable to the individual than the complex of intellectual possessions that belong to him, inexorably and constantly expanding; his spiritual individuality rests on him; only in him does he attain the possibility of a higher spiritual existence. But like every possession, the spiritual also makes you free and self-conscious at the same time.He tears down many a barrier, but involuntarily becomes a barrier himself; it robs man of the ability to put himself back into that propertyless state, since the world could still become everything to him because it did not yet belong to him in any form. And yet, whoever wants to follow the artist in his field, must descend from the height of his spiritual consciousness to which the work of life had led him, he must once again regard the world as alien to him, in order to transform it into a new one Way to get to know.

2. But if we think about what it means to fully understand a work of art, we cannot hide the fact that we are faced with a fundamentally insoluble task. We saw that the work of art stands out from the totality of the individual artist's consciousness as the expression of instantaneous highest artistic knowledge and lives on for a while as a visible permanent memorial of this consciousness. Consciousness itself, incapable of expression in its entirety, has no duration. After all, man can never hold onto life in all its fullness, save it from destruction or even from oblivion. What remains are fragmentary, ephemeral signs. The works of art themselves, left to chance, have a more or less long existence; from the moment of their completion they are gradually destroyed, and in a short time the most permanent become ruins. What are hundreds, what are thousands of years? When the highest artistic consciousness, which owes its existence to a special favor of nature and the rarest circumstances, perishes forever with the individual, so will those slight traces which, independently persisting, survive the downfall of the individual, will in the near future or in the distant future blurred without a trace. His works also follow the individual into the grave. And even in their duration, the works of art are only a shadow of what they were when they were still connected with the living activity of the artist. [65] The consciousness, which is completed in the work of art and appears in it, is only present this one time, the work of art is fully alive only this one time, only in this single moment and only for this single person does it have its highest Importance; and if it perished without a trace at the moment of its creation, it would have fulfilled its highest destiny. Nobody can call it back to this life, neither the artist himself nor a strange observer; the preconditions which, reaching deep into the mysterious workshop of creative human nature, determined its shape, are beyond sight, and if it emerged with necessity at the moment of its creation, it must appear more or less arbitrary and enigmatic at each later moment. In this highest sense, the individual work of art is something unfathomable.

3. And yet we have to try to penetrate the understanding of the work of art in this sense, even though we admit this to ourselves, in order to gain a close spiritual relationship to it at all. It remains internally alien to us, however much we try to assure ourselves of its more or less distant effects with zeal, with love, with enthusiasm. Only at the moment when we become aware that, although all these effects can be explained by the work of art, the creation of the work of art cannot be explained by these effects, and that we therefore all forget the questions of what the work of art could be for us over the one question of how it could have emerged from artistic consciousness, it begins to win true life for us. We see ourselves directly drawn into the activity of the creative artist and grasp the result as something that comes to life. We reproduce the artistic activity, and the degree of understanding we can attain depends on the productive power of our minds with which we encounter the work of art.

And as we begin to understand the language of the artist, to understand the work of art, we receive at the same time the highest stimulation that we can owe to works of art. The sight of them awakens us to a new kind of spiritual life; we see ourselves placed in a new relationship to the world and recognize that we can own the world in a completely different sense [66] from that which we previously had. And just as works of art first open our gaze to the world in the artistic sense, they also become the most important means of education for us in pursuing the path on which they have pointed us. In this way we derive the greatest benefit from the works of art that we can owe to human achievements. They become the emblems of one of the ways in which we ascend to higher consciousness, and the highest pleasure we owe to them coincides with an advance in knowledge. Only by giving this content to our intercourse with works of art are we sure to grasp them in their innermost being.

[…] [117] […]

It has often been emphasized that the artists belonging to the naturalistic tendency do not represent the truth but only the reality. The naturalistic artists, on the other hand, rightly say that only reality is true, that there can be no truth outside of reality, and that only those who represent the freedom and natural rights of art are those who make the unrestricted representation of reality their exclusive task. Here it is shown that it is easier to make oneself free than to be free. That dogma sounds simple, clear and irrefutable. But the spiritual strength, which was so bold in the fight against what it offered resistance, is quickly limited when it comes to further developing the freedom that has been achieved. For the concept of reality, with which those innovators calm down, is a very undeveloped one and, in its undeveloped state, forms the fetter that modern naturalism puts on itself after it has happily freed itself from all other fetters.

Modern naturalism does not raise the question of what reality actually is, any more than does the naive man who lacks any philosophical sense. The question seems completely superfluous to that as well as to this. Doesn't he see nature and life around him, independent of and outside of him, infinite forms and ever changing processes, and yet every form, every process is fixed and given in its constancy? This is precisely the naturalist's fame that he has brought art back to earth. Where the mind and imagination are always inclined to pursue their own aerial formations, the more they seek to gain a foothold in the given reality, the more solid the ground they are, the more they seek to gain a foothold. If from a distance the things of the world appear indistinct and fluctuating, allow some deceptions, some errors, then [118] he knows that they have a fixed shape and that there is no other means of protecting oneself from error and deception, than to approach the things of the world, to grasp them more and more energetically with the sense organs, to follow them down to their smallest components. So he, the individual, faces the world for the very first time with a completely free, enlightened, every binding tradition, all oppressive prejudice, a spirit free. When the scientific researcher in his own way, guided by no consideration other than that of knowledge, penetrates the world in front of him and around him, searches it restlessly in all directions and tries to subject it to knowledge to its extreme limits, then also sees the artist has the new, infinite task ahead of him, in his own way to grasp the world more and more in the inexorable positivity of its forms and processes, to penetrate further and further into all the hidden corners of life and the world to its own astonishment through his own To show representations how she actually looks in her unadorned truth, in her undisguised nudity.

This conception of the position of the artistic individual in relation to the given reality appears so natural, so self-evident that it is the given prerequisite for the activity of those enlightened artists without ever becoming the object of doubt. But what are the consequences of this conception, this presupposition? Artistic activity, whether it be poetic or creative, may undertake to show the world as it is, must submit to the compulsion of things, it must make itself a slave to reality. From this essential consequence all the rest follow automatically. On the one hand, the indifference to the nature of the material to be represented - because its reality is basically its only value -, an ever increasing search for areas that have not yet been opened up for the representation ; on the other hand, there is competition who only ever outbids his predecessor in terms of ruthless openness and the level of detail he is looking for in the presentation. In every respect, naturalistic literature offers the most extensive examples; it has risen to the point of describing even the most hidden conditions of life and society; in the presentation it has advanced from the uncovering of the psychological connection to the attempts at physiological justification. And what has not made the visual arts the subject of their representation! How did she go about her portrayal in order to achieve her purpose of revealing the true form of things, be it in the most meticulous execution, be it in a coarse, striking rendering of certain protruding components of the phenomena.

The goal towards which the naturalistic direction is being driven consists on the part of artistic individuality in a neutralization of the same, on the part of production in an inventory of the world that can be achieved by way of description or representation. The more the artistic individuality renounces its special meaning and tries to make itself a mere tool, the more all value, all importance concentrates on the work it serves to produce. But this work appears as one that is gradually being completed. As artistic representation takes over reality step by step, it adds property to property, and if the task is enormous, it does not seem impossible that in finite time the whole realm of beings can be expressed in its true and real form will. If one looks more closely at the goal towards which naturalistic art strives, it is basically a useful and instructive one. It is a matter of ascertaining what is real so that people may be protected from error and deception. This is what all art ultimately boils down to; admittedly a serious disillusionment after all the lofty aims which an earlier period assigned to art.

But the consequence that arises from that prerequisite for the activity of the artist as well as for the nature of his work is now also finally asserted in the effects that such an art has on people. The fact that nothing else should appear in the artistic representation than what is actually real can only generate recognition of what is known in reality or a curiosity about what is not yet known. Add to this a certain harmless pleasure in encountering certain things in the representation that one knows in reality, and a less harmless [120] pleasure in seeing things drawn into the public eye that are otherwise hidden under a certain veil used to be, these are just about all the remarkable effects which a naturalistic art can have on its audience.

You can see in which fabric of inescapable consequences art sees itself entangled when a principle finds its implementation which purports to make art free by leading it back to truth. What the new school promises has not been achieved in any way. Apart from the fact that it bends art under a new yoke, it does not even manage to get rid of the old fetters. The unchangeable basis of the entire development which the conception of artistic activity has gone through is that dualism in which the artistically gifted person and the given reality are juxtaposed. All the views that have emerged about the nature of artistic activity in the course of time and in connection with the great changes in the human way of thinking rest on that premise. As diverse as they may be, they can be brought under the two great points of view of the imitative representation and the transformation of reality. The meaning of art then lies quite logically in a purpose, and its development is nothing other than the gradual realization of a given task. That younger school, which gives itself such a world-storming reputation, does not direct its contradiction against that essential requirement; it accepts the juxtaposition of artist and reality; it takes the side of those who see the essence of artistic activity in the representation of reality, not in its transformation; it shifts the meaning of art into a purpose and expects it to solve a problem. So the whole innovation appears only as a variation on the old theme. If art was otherwise in the service of beauty and the ideal, it is now subject to the much harsher subordination of reality. So it cannot be otherwise than that their achievements become embarrassing and fearful and at the same time painful for those who seek to appropriate them. Must not everyone feel who pays some attention to those modern naturalistic achievements that the pretended redemption of art in the freedom of nature and life is only a false pretense and that those achievements, as they are under the pressure and in the The narrowness of reality has now arisen to make this pressure and this narrowness even more palpable for people? Does one not have the impression that in such art reality, which indeed sets fixed limits to the will and action of people, but remains an eternally changing and fleeting game to contemplation, has now solidified into unchangeable forms for contemplation and becomes like one put a burdening alp on mind and spirit? Isn't life killed first, so to speak, so that it doesn't escape the examining eye, the dissecting hand, and isn't a reality staring at us from these artifacts that is not reality, but only a mask, a ghost of reality, as it were? And that is the last and highest point of failure to which modern naturalism arrives on its way. His tremendous zeal for everything that in the art of the past he brands as a lie, as a concealment, as a glossing over of truth, does not protect him from presenting something himself as the image of reality, which is only a falsification of reality.

But what about the great end, the final enlightenment of the human spirit, on which art, after it has attained its maturity in naturalism, is called to work? Imagine that art progresses further and further along the path of naturalism, that it gradually ascertains the facts of the world and life in ever more detailed and faithful descriptions, that it, as it were, the true form of things and processes in immortal and To put down once and for all unchangeable images, endowed with all the positivity at their command: will this treasure of apparent truth given to mankind not be much more of an obstacle than an aid to enlightenment? Because error and deception are never more dangerous and powerful than when they appear with the claim to represent the definitive truth that has finally been found.

If the modern naturalistic school, in its justifiable struggle against abuse, prejudice, and error, had at the same time wanted to acquire the fame of introducing true progress, it would have, instead of the cheeky arrogance with which it already considered the true principle of art found announced a somewhat more modest but more penetrating endeavor to find the truth sought first of all, have to prove. After all previous conceptions of the nature of artistic activity had been answers to the question of what had to be done with reality in order to elevate it to art, the contradiction against these conceptions should have come from the new question of whether one was at all justified to speak of a reality that is given to the artist as the object of his activity.

The modern naturalists like to boast that in the realm of art they are the representatives of the same spirit that dominated the realm of scientific thought. Yet this modern artistic naturalism is little more than the caricature of the modern scientific mind.His artistic principle is an almost childlike point of view, which could only attain its present meaning through the excessive arrogance of its representatives and through the lack of judgment of the audience. It is based on a view that may be sufficient where it is a matter of the ordinary consciousness of everyday life, but which proves to be quite inadequate and completely untenable when man moves from the surface of life into the depths of contemplation and the Undertakes research to sink.

It is nothing other than a very naive realism that is to be made the fulcrum of artistic activity. By pretending to elevate art to the level at which the scientific spirit stands, one bases it on an outlook which the scientific spirit has long had to overcome in order to make progress in knowledge possible. That is the point from which modern naturalism alone can both be explained and refuted. What use is it if he undertakes to awaken art from the dogmatic slumber in which it was kept under the rule of older aesthetic theories, in order to immediately plunge it into a new dogmatic slumber?

The decisive turning point for the mind striving for knowledge occurs at the moment when deeper reflection reveals itself to reality, which is apparently endowed with absolute reality, as a deceptive appearance, when the insight opens up that human cognitive faculties are not such The external world independent of it stands opposite the object, the image of which appears in it, like a mirror, but that what is called the external world is the eternally changing and continuously renewed result of a spiritual process. As momentous as this insight has been for the development of human knowledge, it has always remained unused for investigations into the nature of artistic activity due to a peculiar limitation. This could be explained as long as artistic activity was not regarded as working with scientific activity on one and the same great task, as everything that could be called knowledge was so exclusively regarded as the task of the thinking man that one had to look for a completely different task for the artistically educating person. But now a school appears which pretends to take the big step, to present the artistic activity as serving the same task on which the inquiring powers of man work incessantly, how is it possible that the task is understood so entirely superficially, how does this actually happen by those modern naturalists?

The question of what truth is does not only apply to the field of philosophical knowledge, in which it is usually asked alone, it also applies to the field of artistic design. The ancient wisdom will not only force itself on the thinking man anew that what is is actually what is not; Not only the philosopher will find himself driven from refuge to refuge in the striving to grasp the real reason of things, only to be content with the conviction that man has no other solid ground than his own non-exhausting one intellectual activity; Even the artistically forming person, if he strives for nothing else than to grasp the truth of nature and life in his structure, will, if he is at all able to penetrate through the surface, understand that truth for him can only come from the bottom of the earth reality accessible to his experience, but at the same time he will see that his activity cannot refer to any other reality than that which it itself in its nature.