Four essays on aesthetics

Overview: The Critique of Judgment begins with an account of beauty. The initial issue is: what kind of judgment is it that results in our saying, for example, 'That is a beautiful sunset'. Kant argues that such aesthetic judgments (or 'judgments of taste') must have four key distinguishing features. First, they are disinterested, meaning that we take pleasure in something because we judge it beautiful, rather than judging it beautiful because we find it pleasurable. The latter type of judgment would be more like a judgment of the 'agreeable', as when I say 'I like doughnuts'.

First, perspective presents the illusion of depth by varying the sizes of objects relative to ‘parallel’ lines which converge at a vanishing point. Because this method was presented as rendering the true nature of visual space, the theoreticians of the Renaissance had to deny the theorem of Euclid’s Geometry which states that parallel lines never converge. Second, Merleau-Ponty notes that static art such as photography, painting, and sculpture, no matter how supposedly realistic, falsifies reality by excluding time, and hence, motion. Following a suggestion made by Auguste Rodin, he asserts that the phenomenology of movement is best expressed by a paradoxical arrangement in which different aspects of the figure in motion, which would be visible at different times in real life, are presented simultaneously in the artwork. According to his analysis, the truth of movement is better expressed by (for example) Théodore Géricault’s anatomically incorrect painting of racing horses Epsom Derby (1821) than by the gaits of horses photographically captured by Étienne-Jules Marey. What the painter is able to capture, Merleau-Ponty asserts, is not the outside of the object of motion, but motion’s ‘secret cipher’: time rendered visible in an indirect, stylistic manner.

The ingredients in this cerate were commonly used in medicinal preparations, especially emollients. 86 The fat as well as the aromatic pine resin, frankincense, and balsam were thought to have, among other things, cleansing properties. The beeswax was a carrier, and the thapsia and pepper (the dried berries of Piper nigrum , as opposed to the New World Capsicum were counterirritants used to treat bruises and other complaints, when applied externally. This cerate presumably would have facilitated the manual stretching of the penile skin while simultaneously inflaming it.

Four essays on aesthetics

four essays on aesthetics


four essays on aestheticsfour essays on aestheticsfour essays on aestheticsfour essays on aesthetics