New Bearings in Esthetics and Art Criticism

A Study in Semantics and Evaluation

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"ARTISTIC TRUTH"                                     63
(e.g., certain Gothic cathedrals in their stylistically variegated ensembles); and although a distinguished writer or artist occasionally even opposes these criteria (e.g., Delacroix in his suggestion that the joining of the styles of Michelangelo and Velasquez would be "a strange thing, and a very beautiful one"); nonetheless the four conditions of consistency are so described and illustrated by Mr. Greene that few art critics or estheticians will disagree either with his analysis of these elements or with his affirmation of their importance for artistic creations. But why is this artistic criterion of consistency connected with the word "truth"? I do not believe that sufficient historical justification can be found in the writings of philosophers, artists, art critics, or art historians for such usage, and surely few people today would think of associating the four artistic criteria of consistency, or the combination of them into what Greene calls "stylistic excellence," with "truth/'
Why, then, does Greene urge these unusual associations? In addition to what seems to be a pervading passion for the word "truth," there are perhaps two reasons why he calls artistic consistency "artistic truth": first, because of the identification he makes between works of art and (non-conceptual) propositions which, according to his definition, are the locus of truth;121 second, because of the connection between "truth" and the consistency of logic. But these connections between truth and non-conceptual propositions and between truth and logic seem to indicate not that artistic consistency should be called "artistic truth," but rather (a) that a work of art cannot reasonably be called a proposition, and (6) that the nomenclature of one sphere of discourse is not necessarily applicable to another: that is to say, since "artistic consistency" is in fact not at all the same as "logical consistency" (the latter
121. See n. 97.