The Perception of Art
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The Perception of Art book
This chapter studies the impression that the object of artistic endeavor produces. The impression of art is not a thing adventitious to beauty, a secondary phenomenon; it is a constitutive element of the beautiful. The perception of art, the emotion of art made of love and accompanied by pleasure, are elements of the same psychological reality. For didactic reasons and for clearness, this chapter discovers what is implied in the perception of art, and attempts to show whence arises the emotion that is aroused. The part played by the senses is primary and easy to prove. Sight and hearing are the two great avenues through which our artistic impressions pass; in the plastic and musical arts their function is so fundamental that the explanation needs no elaboration. It does not suffice, in the enjoyment of art, to apply merely our senses and imagination: there is required what is most elevated in our cognitive power: the mind.