Download e-book for kindle: A theory of art: inexhaustibility by contrast by Stephen David Ross

By Stephen David Ross

ISBN-10: 0873955552

ISBN-13: 9780873955553

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It is this question which leads Plato to condemn imitation, for if verisimilitude were the primary value, whirling a mirror in the air would imitate all things truly. The notion of duplication seems offensive to artistic value, especially in painting, but even in musical performances. Two nearly-identical paintings are mere copies of each other and of little value. The value inherent in a series of similar studies on a single theme by the same artist resides in their differences as much as their kinship, in their subtle experiments and variety.

Put another way, we value works of art as excellent in virtue of what they are; but what they are, as well as what they mean, is always inexhaustible, variable with location and conditions. An emphasis on symbolization and meaning leads us to the conditions that enable symbols to function rather than to the works or natural objects which offer us a source from which meaning may be derived. Perhaps the simplest way to make this point is to note that for works and their components to function as symbols, we must determine what they symbolize.

Yet Goodman never explains how the symbolic meaning of a work of art is engendered. The theory of intensity of contrast also emphasizes the varieties of meaning and relevance in works of art, but assigns this to their identity rather than to their significance alone: being rather than meaning. Here the ordinal theory is essential, since it treats being as ordinal, a function of relational conditions. Goodman has no adequate solution to the question of when symbolism becomes aesthetically valuable.

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A theory of art: inexhaustibility by contrast by Stephen David Ross


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