THE CONTENT AND IDEAL OF ART
The content of art is spiritual, and its form is sensuous; both sides art has to reconcile into a united whole. The first requirement is that the content, which art is to represent, must be worthy of artistic representation; otherwise we obtain only a bad unity, since a content not capable of artistic treatment is made to take on an artistic form, and a matter prosaic in itself is forced into a form quite opposed to its inherent nature.
The second requirement demands of the content of art that it shall be no abstraction. By this is not meant that it must be concrete, as the sensuous is alleged to be concrete in contrast to everything spiritual and intellectual. For everything that is genuinely true, in the realm of thought as well as in the domain of nature, is concrete, and has, in spite of universality, nevertheless, a particular and subjective character. By saying, for example, that God is simply One, the Supreme Being as such, we express thereby nothing but a lifeless abstraction of an understanding devoid of reason. Such a God, as indeed he is not conceived in his concrete truth, can furnish no content for art, least of all for plastic art. Thus the Jews and the Turks have not been able to represent their God, who is still more abstract, in the positive manner in which the Christians have represented theirs. For in Christianity God is conceived in his truth, and therefore concrete, as a person, as a subject,