chapter  5
13 Pages

THE RATIONALIZATION OF ART

This view was not only distant from the reality of artistic production, which if not “paid for according to a definite standard” was (as it remains) a “mercenary occupation” to the extent that the artist could make it one. It was in contradiction with the actual use of art for a variety of moral, political, and commercial purposes from the Renaissance to the present day. What Kant’s writing expressed, however-and this is one of the reasons for its continuing centrality to the discourse of aesthetics-was the idea of art as the embodiment of “spirit,” in contrast to the “material,” that is, economic, orientation dominant in modern life. In Hegel’s characteristic terms, art is a way “of bringing to our minds and expressing the Divine, the deepest interests of mankind, and the most comprehensive truths of the spirit.”3