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By James W. Manns

ISBN-10: 1563249545

ISBN-13: 9781563249549

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Example text

I see four potential responses to this question, none of which seems adequate. " Artists Supply Their Own Theory It is in fact only in very recent times that works of artor contenders for that statushave sought the company of theory. Beethoven had precious little to say on the matter of art theory or music theory; Shakespeare hardly more (that the purpose of a play is "to hold, as 'twere, the mirror up to nature," is uttered by Hamlet, after all, not Shakespeare). Tolstoy proposed a theory of art, but it is one of the last works he was to write, and it so happens that it repudiates most of what he had written earlier in his careerthat is, the masterpieces.

No: learning it is a work of art means that it has qualities to attend to which its untransfigured counterpart lacks, and that our aesthetic responses will be different. And this is not institutional, it is ontological. 26 This is a claim that requires serious consideration. Danto is arguing that the explanatory model offered by Dickie reverses the proper order of events involved in the consecration of a work of art. Dickie's account proceeds as follows: (a) we begin with someonean artistoffering an artifact to a public; (b) in this same gesture, the public is invited or incited to adopt a special or novel attitude toward this artifact; (c) if they do so, the artifact can be taken to have achieved the status of "work of art"it has been welcomed into the artworld.

But imagine one having been made in Amsterdam in the 1630s, set down where there is no room for it in the artworld of the times . .

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Aesthetics by James W. Manns


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