Another day, another lecture, another lecturer

Today’s lecture ‘Introduction to Aesthetics’ is going to take me a long while to make sense of. I’ve had a quick look through my notes and they are of very little help. I had no prior knowledge of the subject, apart from recognising the reasons why something is aesthetically pleasing or not, so I floundered during the talk.

Here goes  my notes but I’ve no faith in them making any sense.

Kant 1790
The sense of beauty
The feeling of pleasure and displeasure in relation to art.
What does it mean? (this is a question to myself as I was already drifting)

Baumgarten 1759 defined it to include the sensations – not just the physical. (Think of anaesthetic, the blocking of stimuli). The term was used by the Ancient Greeks. Abstract reasoning.
Sensory experiences such as hot, cold, loud, light, are organised matter and only when concept comes in sense can be made of the object.

(A quarter of an hour in and I don’t understand what is being talked about)

Intuition is part of sensibility. Space and time – the two forms of intuition. Make our experiences of the object possible.

Venice with the Salute c.1840-5 by Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775-1851

Joseph Mallord William Turner (1775‑1851), Venice with the Salute, 1840-5, Oil paint on canvas, 622 x 927 mm, Tate
Unfinished water colour.
George Dickie – talks about the institutional theory of art i.e. Art is art because the artists says so………… Duchamp’s urinal. It is cultural.

Opposite view held by Paul Crowther. That we are autonomous and seek the standard within ourselves.

Anthony Ashely Cooper (Earl of Shaftesbury 1671-1713) discussed characteristics – we can find something beautiful without any ownership of it – disinterest.
The agreeable = uninterested
The beautiful = disinterest

Aesthetics gives feeling of pleasure and this is found from within ourselves – inner harmony produces it. It is not a direct cause from outside as eating a piece of chocolate would.

With Turner his work is all to do with colour and light but Kant dismisses colour – he says it is agreeable but not beautiful. He’s more interested in form organising the chaotic matter.

Deleuze…. ‘Art is not chaos’


Francis Bacon, Fragment of the Crucifixion, 1950, Oil and cotton wool on canvas, 140 cm × 108.5 cm, Stedelijk Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven

Bacon interview with David Sylvester ‘Paint comes through the brain.’ Sensation is linked directly to the brain.

Intuition delivers the object to us – the sensation of light and colour is prior to that.
Head of a Peacock circa 1815 by Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775-1851
Head of a Peacock,  Joseph Mallord William Turner, 1815, watercolour, graphite and scratching out on paper, 325 x 238 mm, Tate London
What do we mean by beauty? Unity amongst variety from Kant’s point of view. (Look up Kant’s definition of beauty).
At this point my notes have nothing to do with the lecture

Rambling on, rambling on, rambling on. I’ve no idea what is being talked about. I’m beginning to switch off
‘We’ve still got this problem with Kant’ I hear – we …… I have! Lectuer sitting reading long quotes from his notes – I think most people have drifted away. Is he aware of his audience? A phrase he often uses is ‘It’s interesting that….’  I wish it was to me!.

Cezanne ‘Colour is the place where our brain and the universe meet. That’s why colour appears so entirely dramatic, to true painters.’

Kant dismissed colour then back-tracks – apart from true colour as seen through a prism.

A late-comer arrives; lecturer says he doubts if anything will make much sense to her. ‘But then I think I’ve lost most people here anyway.’


International Klein Blue

Colour is a great source of beauty – it has no boundaries even if colour has not been seen it can be imagined.

Image of Anish Kapoor Maroon but unable to find it.

The relationship between beauty and the sublime (future lecture).


 1810, painter Philipp Otto Runge devised his Colour Sphere

The mathematics of colour, a geometric relationship between the colours.


Munsell’s colour sphere

Yacht Approaching the Coast c.1840-5 by Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775-1851

Joseph Mallord William Turner, Yacht Approaching the Coast, 1845, Oil paint on canvas,1022 x 1422 mm, Tate London

The intensity of light, the sensation of light, the blinding light, the sublime, the chaos.
François Boucher, Louise O’Murphy c. 1752, oil on canvas, 59 x 73 cm., Alte Pinakothek,Munich
The sexual pleasure……… I’m lost, completely lost, I’ve given up trying to take notes.
Bell says we don’t have to experience to appreciate; we don’t have to bring anything from life to appreciate a work of art (I need to look this up as may be useful for my essay)
Art v. pornography
Kant says ideal beauty of the human figure is the visual expression of the moral ideals – he doesn’t think humans should be viewed as beautiful.
The Lake, Petworth, Sunset; Sample Study circa 1827-8 by Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775-1851
Joseph Mallord William Turner, Sunset; Sample Study, 827-8, Oil paint on canvas, 635 x 1397 mm, Tate
‘Does that make any sense at all?’ we were asked. Not to me!

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