By Peter de Bolla
Within the face of an excellent murals, we so frequently stand mute, struck dumb. is that this a function—perhaps the 1st and foremost—of aesthetic adventure? Or can we lack the phrases to claim what we suppose? Countering present assumptions that artwork is valued basically in accordance with style or ideology, Peter de Bolla offers a voice—and vocabulary—to the sweetness artwork can encourage. operating towards a greater figuring out of what it really is to be profoundly moved through a piece of paintings, he forces us to reassess the significance of artwork works and the singular nature and price of our adventure of them. in lots of methods a "practical aesthetics," artwork issues proceeds when it comes to instance. via chapters getting to 3 works of art—Barnett Newman's portray Vir Heroicus Sublimis, pianist Glenn Gould's moment recording of Bach's Goldberg diversifications, and William Wordsworth's poem "We Are Seven"—de Bolla plots a private background of aesthetic adventure that opens up the final types of artwork appreciation. His ebook invitations us to a better stumble upon with artwork, and to a deeper appreciation and clearer expression of what such an stumble upon may possibly carry. (20011101)
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Extra resources for Art Matters
Here, in this painting he was to call Onement I (Figure 3), he discovered the thaumaturgy of his art. I begin with this anecdote as a way of opening up a number of questions that can be phrased to the art of painting. As the story seeks to make clear, the knowing that is the artwork is not always instantly accessible to the artist who made it. This raises my ﬁrst question: How can one prepare for art, make oneself ready to accept it? How does one prepare for the presence of painting? I phrase the question this way because the act of looking at painting requires some form of reconciliation or accommodation between the presence of the viewer—the sense one has of being here in the act of looking— and the presence announced by the painting itself.
One way of approaching my question, then, would be to point to the necessity of reconciling two potentially competing statements of presence. A preparation for painting, in these terms, would amount to an acceptance of that necessity. In the discussion that follows I will elaborate on what I mean by this acceptance through a detailed examination of my experience of looking at a work of visual art. As noted, that experience is, in effect, an analogue of the material of the artwork; it [ 24 ] Copyright © 2001 The President and Fellows of Harvard College Barnett Newman’s Vir Heroicus Sublimis is all we ever know of the artwork as art, since it is this material, the affective response, that indicates that we are in the presence of an artwork.
But this is too simplistic and unsupple, and in the case of Newman precisely the opposite is true: abstraction is merely the formal language in which he paints and not the representational content of the image. The upshot of this is my belief that Vir Heroicus Sublimis shares the same regime of looking—the devotional—as the illustrious works of art Newman claims as his touchstones. Although size may determine our address to the canvas, it is not the physical dimension of the image that exclusively underpins our affective response.
Art Matters by Peter de Bolla