New Bearings in Esthetics and Art Criticism

A Study in Semantics and Evaluation

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34                                 PROBLEMS IN MEANING
beauty is a "quality of a high human activity," 38 and for Ven-turi, "Outside artistic activity beauty does not exist, because nothing exists outside spiritual activity." 39 Also subjective in character, though stated with a more specific connotation, is Santayana's notion of beauty as "pleasure regarded as the quality of a thing." 40 Attitudes toward art, analogous to these, abound. Art is a "process or a transaction, a becoming," 41 "a quality that permeates an experience," 42 or simply "intuition." Some writers even hold that works of art are neither wholly objective nor "relatively objective," 43 but that they are rather "total activities," 44 since, "for artand for aesthetics generallyobjects do not exist, but only experiences." 45 This amazing use of language, which of course derives from an idealistic metaphysics, is thoroughly Crocean. In the Encyclopaedia Britannica, Croce speaks of "objects metaphorically called 'artistic objects' or 'works of arf " whereas "works of art exist only in the minds that create or recreate them." 46
In brief, "art" and "beauty" are used either to designate referents which are qualities or relations of things, or referents which are mental activities. "Beauty" denotes now an objective or relatively objective property of an object, now a type of esthetic creation or response; and "art" refers sometimes to a physical work of art or to one of its qualities, some-
38.  F. J. Mather, Jr., Concerning Beauty (Princeton, 1935), p. 2.
39.  Lionello Venturi, History of Art Criticism (New York, 1936), p. 301.
40.  George Santayana, The Sense of Beauty (New York, 1896), p. 49. Naturally, when beauty is defined in terms of value, one must know in what way the author uses "value." For Santayana, a value can exist only in perception.
41.  Mather, op. cit., p. 33.
42. John Dewey, Art as Experience (New York, 1934), p. 326.
43.  This term is fully explained in n. 41 of the following essay.
44.  R. G. Collingwood, The Principles of Art (Oxford, 1938), p. 151.
45.  Lascelles Abercrombie, An Essay Towards a Theory of Art (London, 1922), p. 90.
46.  14th ed. I, 267.