The German Classics of the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries, Volume 07 eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 600 pages of information about The German Classics of the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries, Volume 07.

Hence, the indifference, incongruity, and antagonism of spiritual idea and sensuous form, the characteristics of symbolic art, reappear in the romantic type, but with this essential difference.  In the romantic realm, the spiritual idea, to whose defectiveness was due the defective forms of symbolic art, now reveals itself in its perfection within mind and feeling.  It is by virtue of the higher perfection of the idea that it shuns any adequate union with an external form, since it can seek and attain its true reality and expression best within itself.

This, in general terms, is the character of the symbolic, classical, and romantic forms of art, which stand for the three relations of the spiritual idea to its expression in the realm of art.  They consist in the aspiration after, and the attainment and transcendence of, the ideal as the true idea of beauty.


But, now, there inhere in the idea of beauty different modifications which art translates into sensuous forms.  And we find a fundamental principle by which the several particular arts may be arranged and defined—­that is, the species of art contain in themselves the same essential differences which we have found in the three general types of art.  External objectivity, moreover, into which these types are molded by means of a sensuous and particular material, renders them independent and separate means of realizing different artistic functions, as far as each type finds its definite character in some one definite external material whose mode of portrayal determines its adequate realization.  Furthermore, the general types of art correspond to the several particular arts, so that they (the particular arts) belong each of them specifically to one of the general types of art.  It is these particular arts which give adequate and artistic external being to the general types.


The first of the particular arts with which, according to their fundamental principle, we have to begin, is architecture.  Its task consists in so shaping external inorganic nature that it becomes homogeneous with mind, as an artistic outer world.  The material of architecture is matter itself in its immediate externality as a heavy mass subject to mechanical laws, and its forms remain the forms of inorganic nature, but are merely arranged and ordered in accordance with the abstract rules of the understanding, the rules of symmetry.  But in such material and in such forms the ideal as concrete spirituality cannot be realized; the reality which is represented in them remains, therefore, alien to the spiritual idea, as something external which it has not penetrated or with which it has but a remote and abstract relation.  Hence the fundamental type of architecture is the symbolical form of art.  For it is architecture that paves

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The German Classics of the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries, Volume 07 from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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