Aestheticism: Experience of Art

The term 'aesthetics' is derived from the Greek word ‘aesthesis’ meaning perception. In Grecian times, the philosopher Aristotle thought beauty was about function and proportion, while in the early 1700s, the Earl of Shaftesbury argued that goodness and beauty are one and the same. ‘What is beauty?’ What constitutes beauty has been a much-debated topic in Western art. Our modern reading of the word begins to evolve, there is no scientific rule for determining what beauty is, is about Experience.


“Aestheticism asks you to view every object as you would a work of art.”

The Pietro Canonica Museum In Rome

The Pietro Canonica Museum In Rome

Mark Grief in his text "Against Everything" describes the encounter with Art perfectly.

“As doctrines, aestheticism, and perfectionism have the worst names imaginable. Aestheticism is thought to be the pursuit of beauty. Perfectionism is supposed to be the pursuit of perfection. Neither idea is right, In ordinary language, perfectionism is so forgotten as a goal of life that 'a perfectionist" is a neurotic who can't finish his work. Aestheticism is equally forgotten; all aesthetic philosophies are held in such low regard that, for us, an " aesthetician" is a hairdresser who asks gives facials. The two solutions were not just suitable for an earlier era, however, but are equally so for now. In the nineteenth century, Flaubert and Thoreau foresaw mud where others saw a perfectly rewarding way of life. Today we're up to our eyes in it. Aestheticism asks you to view every object as you would a work of art. It believes that art is essentially an occasion for the arousal of emotions and passions. Your experience a work of art. You got into it. Not just a calm onlooker, you imagine the figure in the painting, and relish colour and forms, the style becoming as much an object of expense as the content; you fell or taste everything; you lust for it, let it overwhelm you, amplify it to titillate or satisfy of disgust you; you mentally twist the canvas to wring it dry.

“You encounter art and the result is Experience.”

The discipline is to learn to see the rest of the world in just that same way. Art becomes training for life, to let you learn how to perceive what you will ultimately experience unloaded. Let anyone’s ordinary face fascinate you as if it were a bust of Caesar; let the light of the city draw you eyes like Egyptian gold or the crown jewels; let the cigarette case you find on the road evoke the whole life of its images owner; let your fellow human beings be bears of plot and motivation as in a work of fiction, possessors of intricate beauty or ugliness as in painting, objects of uniqueness and fearful sublimity as in wonder of nature. Over time and with practice, the work of art will become less effective at stimulating these art experiences than your renewed encounters with the world will be. Art may improve on life, as a painter focuses and humanise what he sees, but art experience, learn in the aesthete’s stance, applied to real objects, improves life.

“Look more closely” is the basic answer of the aesthete to any failure of an experience.: “For anything to become interesting you simply have to look at it for a long time,” wrote Flaubert. Life becomes the scene of total, never-ending expense, as long as the aesthete can muster the intensity to regard it in this way. We all have the power to find the meaningful aspect of thing by going onto or into it; by spreading the surface world with experience and pressing your imagination and emotions into any crack. You must ket it into you, too: “External reality has to enter into us, almost enough to make us cry out if we represent it properly’. Flaubert becomes a representer because he wished to live.

For the adept of aesthetics, experience is not rare it is always available. […] Understand that is never wrong to seek in art the stimulation of desire, wonder, or lust or to search for resemblance to things in the world. You encounter art, and the result is experience.” Mark Greif

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