New Bearings in Esthetics and Art Criticism

A Study in Semantics and Evaluation

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84                                     PROBLEMS IN MEANING
a "spatially distinct, side-by-side, equivalently meant or objective relation of 'correspondence.' " 151 If works of art are taken as symbols, on the other hand, their artistic meanings or values seem so intimately bound up with the objects themselves that external references and associations are esthetically unwarranted. As C. W. Morris explains, while "lyric poetry has a syntax and uses terms which designate things," nonetheless "the syntax and the terms are so used that what stand out for the reader are values and evaluations.''152
When considering "truth" as scientific fact, we stressed the creative and transforming power of the artistic imagination. If in the present context we do the same, the artistic insights which we are considering appear rather as manifestations of this artistic imagination than as qualities which correspond with any external reality. When Giotto, for example, expresses the deep and tender affection of Joachim and Anna at the Golden Gate, the correspondence of this affection to any emotion in real life, I suggest, is an artistically irrelevant matter; what artistically count are rather the innumerable artistic values of the form and content which are revealed by the imaginative freshness, the vividness, and the vitality of the conception. To take another instance: the imaginative expres* siveness of the illumination in the painting, say, of Claude, Turner, or Matisse, is an artistic insight or value in relation to which any corresponding external reality (such as is implied by the definition of artistic insight as "truth") seems extraneous and Irrelevant.
This contrast between truth as correspondence and artistic insights becomes still more marked of course when the artistic insights are less closely associated with human feelings or natural forms: thus the portraits of Cezanne and the landscapes of Poussin are so highly organized by the artistic imagination,
151.  Louis Grudin, A Primer of Aesthetics, p. 119.
152.  "Foundations of the Theory of Signs/' International Encyclopedia of Unified Science (1938), I, 58.