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.
heavy mass, nor in forms peculiar to inorganic nature, nor as indifferent to color, etc., but in ideal forms of the human shape, and in the whole of the spatial dimensions.  In this last respect sculpture should be credited with having first revealed the inner and spiritual essence in its eternal repose and essential self-possession.  To such repose and unity with itself corresponds only that external element which itself persists in unity and repose.  Such an element is the form taken in its abstract spatiality.  The spirit which sculpture represents is that which is solid in itself, not variously broken up in the play of contingencies and passions; nor does its external form admit of the portrayal of such a manifold play, but it holds to this one side only, to the abstraction of space in the totality of its dimensions.


After architecture has built the temple and the hand of sculpture has placed inside it the statue of the God, then this sensuously visible God faces in the spacious halls of his house the community.  The community is the spiritual, self-reflecting element in this sensuous realm, it is the animating subjectivity and inner life.  A new principle of art begins with it.  Both the content of art and the medium which embodies it in outward form now demand particularization, individualization, and the subjective mode of expressing these.  The solid unity which the God possesses in sculpture breaks up into the plurality of inner individual lives, whose unity is not sensuous, but essentially ideal.

And now God comes to assume the aspect which makes him truly spiritual.  As a hither-and-thither, as an alternation between the unity within himself and his realization in subjective knowledge and individual consciousness, as well as in the common and unified life of the many individuals, he is genuinely Spirit—­the Spirit in his community.  In his community God is released from the abstractness of a mysterious self-identity, as well as from the naive imprisonment in a bodily shape, in which he is represented by sculpture.  Here he is exalted into spirituality, subjectivity, and knowledge.  For this reason the higher content of art is now this spirituality in its absolute form.  But since what chiefly reveals itself in this stage is not the serene repose of God in himself, but rather his appearance, his being, and his manifestation to others, the objects of artistic representation are now the most varied subjective expressions of life and activity for their own sake, as human passions, deeds, events, and, in general, the wide range of human feeling, will, and resignation.  In accordance with this content, the sensuous element must differentiate and show itself adequate to the expression of subjective feeling.  Such different media are furnished by color, by the musical sound, and finally by the sound as the mere indication of inner intuitions and ideas;

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