Best 68 of Arnold Hauser quotes - MyQuotes

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Arnold Hauser
By Anonym 18 Sep

Arnold Hauser

People fell into the error of imagining that an art which portrays the life of simple folks is also intended for simple folk, whereas the truth is, in reality, rather the opposite. It is usually only the conservatively thinking and feeling ranks of society that seek in art for an image of their own way of life, the portrayl of their own social environment. Oppressed and upward-striving classes wish to see the representation of conditions of life which they themselves envisage as an ideal to aim at, but not the kind of conditions they are trying to work themselves out of. Only people who are themselves superior to them feel sentimentally about simple conditions of life. That is so today, and it was no different in sixteenth century. Just as the working class and the petty bourgeoisie of today want to see the milieu of rich people and not the circumstances of their own constricted lives in the cinema, and just as the working-class drama of the last century achieved their outstanding successes not in the popular theatres but in the West End of the big cities, so Bruegel's art was not intended for the peasantry but for the higher or, at any rate, the urban levels of society.

By Anonym 16 Sep

Arnold Hauser

In periods such as the early Middle Ages, which in general were free from social conflict, there is not, as a rule, any radical antagonism between artistic intention and technique; the art forms and the technique are employed harmoniously and say the same thing in different ways, the one factor being no more rational or irrational than the other. But in times like the Gothic age, when the whole of culture was rent by antagonisms, it often happens that the spiritual and material elements in art speak different languages and, as in the present case, the technique appears rational but the artistic aims irrational.

By Anonym 17 Sep

Arnold Hauser

Now, who and what is this minstrel in reality? Where does he come from? In what respects does he differ from his predecessors? He has been described as a cross between the early medieval court-singer and the ancient mime of classical times. The mime had never ceased to flourish since the days of classical antiquity; when even the last traces of classical culture disappeared, the descendants of the old mimes still continued to travel about the Empire, entertaining the masses with their unpretentious, unsophisticated and unliterary art. The Germanic countries were flooded out with mimes in the early Middle Ages; but until the ninth century the poets and singers at the courts kept themselves strictly apart from them. Not until they lost their cultured audience, as a result of the Carolingian Renaissance and the clericalism of the following generation, and came up against the competition of the mimes in the lower classes, did they have, to a certain extent, to become mimes themselves in order to be able to compete with their rivals. Thus both singers and comedians now move in the same circles, intermingle and influence each other so much that they soon become indistinguishable from one another. The mime and the scop both become the minstrel. The most striking characteristic of the minstrel is his versatility. The place of the cultured, highly specialized heroic ballad poet is now taken by the Jack of all trades, who is no longer merely a poet and singer, but also a musician and dancer, dramatist and actor, clown and acrobat, juggler and bear-leader, in a word, the universal jester and maître de plaisir of the age. Specialization, distinction and solemn dignity are now finished with; the court poet has become everybody’s fool and his social degradation has such a revolutionary and shattering effect on himself that he never entirely recovers from the shock. From now on he is one of the déclassés, in the same class as tramps and prostitutes, runaway clerics and sent-down students, charlatans and beggars. He has been called the ‘journalist of the age’, but he really goes in for entertainment of every kind: the dancing song as well as the satirical song, the fairy story as well as the mime, the legend of saints as well as the heroic epic. In this context, however, the epic takes on quite new features: it acquires in places a more pointed character with a new straining after effect, which was absolutely foreign to the spirit of the old heroic ballad. The minstrel no longer strikes the gloomy, solemn, tragi-heroic note of the ‘Hildebrandslied’, for he wants to make even the epic sound entertaining; he tries to provide sensations, effective climaxes and lively epigrams. Compared with the monuments of the older heroic poetry, the ‘Chanson de Roland’ never fails to reveal this popular minstrel taste for the piquant.

By Anonym 15 Sep

Arnold Hauser

But is is by no means those aspects of Dürer's style which it shares with Italian art that makes it so attractive especially for Pontormo and those who like him, but rather the spiritual depth and inwardness - in other words, the qualities which they miss most in classical Italian art. The antitheses of "Gothic" and "Renaissance", however, which are largely smoothed out in Dürer himself, are still irreconciled and irreconcilable in the outlook of mannerism.

By Anonym 18 Sep

Arnold Hauser

The courteous and chivalric attitude is one of endless patience and utter selflessness in the man, involving the extinction of his own will and the sacrifice of his own being to the will of the woman as a superior being. Courtesy demands of the man complete acceptance of the fact that the object of his worship is wholly unattainable; self-indulgence in the pains of love, an emotional exhibitionism and masochism—all features of modern love-romanticism which here occur for the first time. The lover as longing and renouncing, love as something to which attainment and fulfilment are irrelevant and which is even enhanced by its negative character, a ‘love of the remote’ without any tangible or even any clearly defined object—all this ushers in the history of modern poetry.

By Anonym 15 Sep

Arnold Hauser

But the main source of the naturalistic outlook is the political experience of the generation of 1848: the failure of the revolution, the suppression of the June insurrection and the seizure of power by Louis Napoleon. The disappointment of the democrats and the general disillusionment caused by these events finds its perfect expression in the philosophy of the objective, realistic, strictly empirical natural sciences. After the failure of all ideals, of all Utopias, the tendency is now to keep to the facts, to nothing but the facts. The political origins of naturalism explain in particular its anti-romantic and ethical features: the refusal to escape from reality and the demand for absolute honesty in the description of facts; the striving for impersonality and impassibility as the guarantees of objectivity and social solidarity; activism as the attitude intent not only on knowing and describing but on altering reality; the modernism which keeps to the present as the sole subject-of consequence; and, finally, its popular trend both in the choice of subject and in the choice of public.

By Anonym 16 Sep

Arnold Hauser

In this choice of trivial, ‘unpoetic’ motifs the same democratic spirit is expressed as in the choice of the human types of Courbet, Millet and Daumier— with the sole difference that the landscape painters seem to say: nature is beautiful at all times and in all places, no ‘ideal’ motifs are necessary to do justice to its beauty, whereas the figure painters want to prove that man is ugly and pitiable no matter whether he is oppressing others or being oppressed himself. But, in spite of its sincerity and simplicity, the naturalistic landscape soon becomes just as conventional as the romantic had been. The romantics painted the poetry of the sacred grove, the naturalists paint the prose of rural life—the clearing with the grazing cattle, the river with the ferry, the field with the hayrick.

By Anonym 15 Sep

Arnold Hauser

Absolute parallelism of stylistic approach in the different arts and genres presupposes a level of development on which art no longer has to wrestle for the means of expression, but is able, to a certain extent, to choose freely among the different possibilities of formal treatment.

By Anonym 17 Sep

Arnold Hauser

One ought, really, never to speak of a uniform "style of the time" dominating a whole period, since there are at any given moment as many different styles as there are artistically productive social groups. Even in epochs in which the most influential work is found on a single class, and from which only the art of this class has come down to us, it ought to be asked whether the artistic products of other groups may have been buried or lost.

By Anonym 18 Sep

Arnold Hauser

Stendhal knows the source of his greatest happiness and his worst misery: the reflexivity of his spiritual life. When he loves, enjoys beauty, feels free and unconstrained, he realizes not only the bliss of these feelings but, at the same time, the happiness of being aware of this happiness. But now that he ought to be completely absorbed by his happiness and feel redeemed from all his limitations and inadequacies, he is still full of problems and doubts: Is that the whole story?—he asks himself. Is that what they call love? Is it possible to love, to feel, to be delighted and yet to observe oneself so coolly and so calmly? Stendhal’s answer is by no means the usual one, which assumes the existence of an insurmountable gulf between feeling and reason, passion and reflexion, love and ambition, but is based on the assumption that modern man simply feels differently, is enraptured and enthusiastic differently from a contemporary of Racine or Rousseau. For them, spontaneity and reflexivity of the emotions were incompatible, for Stendhal and his heroes they are quite inseparable; none of their passions is so strong as the desire to be constantly calling themselves to account for what is going on inside them. Compared with the older literature, this self consciousness implies just as profound a change as Stendhal’s realism, and the overcoming of classical-romantic psychology is just as strictly one of the preconditions of his art as the abolition of the alternative between the romantic escape from the world and the anti-romantic belief in the world.

By Anonym 18 Sep

Arnold Hauser

The latent conflict between the intellectual and the economic upper class is nowhere openly engaged as yet, least of all by the artists, who, with their less developed social consciousness, react more slowly than their humanistic masters. But the problem, even if it is un-admitted and unexpressed is present all the time and in all places, and the whole intelligenstsia, both literary and artistic, is threatened by the danger of developing either into an uprooted, "unbourgeois", and envious class of bohemians or into a conservative, passive cringing class of academics. The humanists escape from from this alternative into their ivory tower, and finally succumb to both the dangers which they had intended to avoid.

By Anonym 18 Sep

Arnold Hauser

The degradation of love here serves merely as a social defence mechanism. The stability of medieval feudal society and even that of the courtly society of the seventeenth century was not threatened by the dangers of love; they needed no such defence against the excesses of prodigal sons. But now, when the frontiers between the social castes are crossed more and more frequently and not only the nobility but also the bourgeoisie has to defend a privileged position in society, the excommunication of the wild, incalculable love-passion, which threatens the prevailing social order, begins, and a literature arises which finally leads to the Dame aux camélias and to our Garbo films.

By Anonym 19 Sep

Arnold Hauser

The social function of court life is to enlist the support and adherence of the public for the ruling house. The Renaissance princes want to delude not only the people, they also want to make an impression o the nobility and bind it to the court. But they are not dependent on either its services or its company; they can use anyone, of whatever descent, provided he is useful. Consequently, the Italian courts of Renaissance differ from the medieval courts in their very constitution; they accept into their circle upstart adventurers and merchants who have made money, plebeian humanists and ill-bred artists - entirely as if they had all the traditional social qualifications. In contrast to the exclusive moral community of court chivalry, a comparatively free, fundamentally intellectual type of salon life develops at these courts which is, on the one hand the continuation of the aesthetic social culture of middle-class circles, such as described in the Decamerone and in the Paradiso degli Alberti, and represents, on the other, the preparatory stage in the development of those literary salons which play such an important part in the intellectual life of Europe in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries.

By Anonym 19 Sep

Arnold Hauser

The romantic idealism, the self-conscious ‘sentimental’ heroism of chivalry are idealism and heroism at second hand, and originate primarily in the ambition and the deliberation with which this new nobility set about developing the notions of its own peculiar honour. Its zeal is only a sign of unsureness and weakness which the old nobility does not, or at least did not, suffer from as long as uninfluenced by the new, inwardly unstable, company of the knights. This instability shows itself most strikingly in its equivocal attitude to the conventional forms of noble living. On the one hand, it clings to the superficialities and exaggerates the formalities of the aristocratic manner of life; on the other hand, it sets inward nobility of soul above the outward and purely formal nobility of birth and manners. Conscious of its subordinate position, it exaggerates the value of mere forms, but conscious also of possessing capacities equal to or even greater than those of the old aristocracy, it, at the same time, depreciates the value of such forms and of noble birth as such.

By Anonym 19 Sep

Arnold Hauser

The most inexplicable paradox of the work of art is that it seems to exist for itself and yet not for itself; that it addresses itself to a concrete, historically and sociologically conditioned public, but seems, at the same time, to want to have no knowledge at all of a public.

By Anonym 18 Sep

Arnold Hauser

The forms of ancient Christian, as of late Roman, art are psychologically, not metaphysically expressive; they are expressionistic but not revelatory. The wide open eyes of late Roman portraits express intensity of soul, spiritual tension, a life that is strongly emotional; but it is a life which is without any metaphysical background and as such has no inner relation to Christianity. It is in fact the product of conditions which obtained long before Christianity emerged. The tension which Christian doctrine resolves was already beginning to be felt in the Hellenistic age; though Christianity soon produced answers to the questions that troubled those times, the work of many generations was needed before those answers could be expressed in forms of art—these were by no means simultaneous with the enunciation of the doctrine itself.

By Anonym 16 Sep

Arnold Hauser

In fact, the age of the Tyrants is the scene of a religious renaissance which on all sides throws up new ecstatic confessions of faith, new secret cults and new sects; but at first these develop underground and do not as yet reach the light of art. Thus we no longer find art being commissioned and stimulated by religion, but, on the contrary, we find in this period religious zeal being inspired by the increased skill of the artist.

By Anonym 19 Sep

Arnold Hauser

The Tyrants who, at the end of the seventh century, had everywhere gained control, first in the leading Ionian states and then on the mainland, signify a decisive victory for individualism over the ideology of kinship. In this respect, as in others, they form the bridge to democracy, many of whose conquests they anticipate, for all their own undemocratic character.

By Anonym 16 Sep

Arnold Hauser

It is the court which gives the great, commanding style of art its guiding principles; here is formed that "grande manière" which invests reality with an idea, resplendent, festive, and solemn character, and which set the standard for the style of official art in the whole Europe. To be sure, the French court attains the international recognition of its manners, fashion and art at the expense of the national character of French culture. The French, like the ancient Romans, look upon themselves as the citizens of the world, and nothing more typical of their cosmopolitan outlook than the fact that in all the tragedies of Racine, as has been noted, not a single Frenchmen appears.

By Anonym 19 Sep

Arnold Hauser

We here meet a completely new conception of art; it is no longer a means towards an end, but an end in itself. At its origin, every form of spiritual endeavour is entirely determined by the useful purpose it serves, but such forms have the power and tendency to break free from their original purpose and make themselves independent; they become purposeless and to some extent autonomous. As soon as man feels secure and free from the immediate pressure of the struggle for life, he begins to play with the spiritual resources which he had originally developed as weapons and tools to aid him in his necessity. He begins enquiring into causes, seeking for explanations, researching into connections which have little or nothing to do with his struggle for life. Practical knowledge gives place to free enquiry, means for the mastery of nature become methods for discovering abstract truth. And thus art, originally a mere handmaid of magic and ritual, an instrument of propaganda and panegyric, a means to influence gods, spirits and men, becomes a pure, autonomous, ‘disinterested’ activity to some extent, practised for its own sake and for the beauty it reveals. In the same way, the commands and prohibitions, the duties and taboos, which were originally just expedients to make a common life in society possible, give rise to a doctrine of ethics that sets out to realize and perfect the moral personality. The Greeks were the first people to complete this transition from the instrumental to the ‘autonomous’ form of activity, whether in science, art or morality. Before them there was no free enquiry, no theoretical research, no rational knowledge and no art as we understand art—as an activity whose creations may always be considered and enjoyed as pure forms. This abandonment of the old view that art is only valuable and intelligible as a weapon in the struggle for life, in favour of a new attitude which treats it as mere play of line and colour, mere rhythm and harmony, mere imitation or interpretation of reality—this is the most tremendous change that has ever occurred in the whole history of art.

By Anonym 16 Sep

Arnold Hauser

In a conservative courtly culture an artist of his (Rembrandt's) kind would perhaps never made a name for himself at all, but, once recognized, he would probably have been able to hold his own better than in liberal middle-class Holland, where he was allowed to develop in freedom, but which broke him when he refused to submit any longer. The spiritual existence of the artist is always in danger; neither an authoritarian nor a liberal order of society is entirely free from peril for him; the one gives him less freedom, the other less security. There are artists who feel safe only when they are free, but there are also such as can breathe freely only when they are secure. The seventeenth century was, at any rate, one of the period furthest removed from the ideal of synthesis of freedom and security.

By Anonym 19 Sep

Arnold Hauser

They have not the slightest awareness of how restricted their idea of "universality" is and of how few they are thinking when they talk about "everybody" and "anybody". Their universalism is a fellowship of the elite - of the elite as formed by absolutism. There is hardly a rule or a requirement of classicistic aesthetics which is not based on the ideas of this absolutism. The desire is that art should have a unifor character, like the state, should produce the effect of formal perfection, like the movement of a corps, that it should be clear and precise, like a decree, and be governed by absolute rules, like the life of every subject in the state. The artist should be no more left to his own devices than any other citizen; he should rather be guided by the law, by regulations, so as not to go astray in the wilderness of his own imagination.

By Anonym 16 Sep

Arnold Hauser

He could do nothing else but follow this intrinsically conservative tendency, conservative because tending towards a timeless and abstract canon of form, but nevertheless progressive in the stylistic situation of the time.

By Anonym 18 Sep

Arnold Hauser

Strict formalism and abstraction from reality are undoubtedly the most important, but by no means the only characteristics of the Romanesque style. For just as a mystic tendency is at work alongside the scholastic trend in the philosophy of the age, and a wild, unrestrained ecstatic religiosity finds expression in the monastic reform movement alongside a strict dogmatism, so also in art emotional and expressionistic tendencies make themselves felt alongside the dominant formalism and stereotyped abstractionism. This less restrained conception of art is not perceptible, however, until the second half of the Romanesque period, that is to say, it coincides with the revival of trade and urban life in the eleventh century. However modest these beginnings are in themselves, they represent the first signs of a change which paves the way for the individualism and liberalism of the modern age. Externally nothing much is altered for the present; the basic tendency of Romanesque art remains anti-naturalistic and hieratic. And yet, if a first step towards the dissolution of the ties which restrict medieval life is to be discerned anywhere, then it is here, in this astonishingly prolific eleventh century, with its new towns and markets, its new orders and schools, the first crusade and the founding of the first Norman states, the beginnings of monumental Christian sculpture and the proto-forms of Gothic architecture. It cannot be a coincidence that all this new life and movement occurs at the same time as the early medieval self-supporting economy is beginning to yield to a mercantile economy after centuries of uninterrupted stagnation.

By Anonym 17 Sep

Arnold Hauser

Now a regular occurrence in the eighteenth century repeats itself: the aristocracy accepts the viewpoint and standards of value of the middle class; virtue becomes a fashion in the upper class.

By Anonym 19 Sep

Arnold Hauser

The reaction against utilitarianism was a second romanticism, in which the fight against social injustice and the opposition to the actual theories of the "dismal science" played a much smaller part than the urge to escape from the present, whose problems the anti-utilitarians had no ability and no desire to solve, into the irrarionalism of Burke, Coleridge, and German romanticism.

By Anonym 19 Sep

Arnold Hauser

The Renaissance deepened the influence of medieval development with its striving towards capitalistic economic and social system only in so far as it confirms the rationalism which now dominates the whole intellectual and material life of the time. [...] They are arecreation of the same spirit which makes its way in the organization of labour, in trading methods, the credit system and double-entry book keeping, in methods of government, in diplomacy and warfare. The whole development of art becomes part of the total process of rationalization. The irrational ceases to make any deeper impression. The things that are now felt as 'beautiful' are the logical conformity of the individual parts of a whole, the arithmetically definable harmony of the relationships and the calculable rhythm of a composition, the exclusion of discords in the relation of the figures to the space they occupy and in the mutual relationship of the various parts of the space itself. And just a central perspective is space seen from a mathematical standpoint, and right proportions are only equivalent to the systematic organization of the individual forms in a picture, so in the course of time call criteria of artistic quality are subjected to rational scrutiny and all the laws of art are rationalized.

By Anonym 15 Sep

Arnold Hauser

Composer found himself faced with a public whose attention had to be roused and captivated by more effective means than those to which the older public had responded. Simply because he was afraid of losing contact with his audience, he developed the musical composition into a series of constantly renewed impulsed, and worked it up from one expressive intensity to another.

By Anonym 19 Sep

Arnold Hauser

The Renaissance was not a civilization of small shopkeepers and artisans, nor of a well-to-do, half-educated middle class, but rather the jealously gaurded possession of a highbrow and Latinized elite. This consisted mainly of those classes of society which were associated with the humanistic and Neeplatonic movement - a uniform and, on the whole, like-minded intelligentsia such as, for example, the clergy, taken as a totality, had never been. The important works of art were intended for this circle. The broader masses either had no knowledge at all of them or appreciated them inadequately and from a non-artistic point of view, finding their own aesthetic pleasure in inferior products. This was the origin of that unbridgeable gulf between an educated minority and an uneducated majority which had never been known before to this extent and which was to be such a decisive factor in the whole future development of art.

By Anonym 19 Sep

Arnold Hauser

They prove that there is no direct relationship between the personal freedom of the artist and the aesthetic quality of his works. For it is a fact that every intention of an artist has to make its way through the meshes of a closely entwined net; every work of art is produced by the tension between a series of aims and a series of resistances to their achievement— resistances represented by inadmissible motifs, social prejudices and faulty powers of judgment of the public, and aims which have either already assimilated these resistances or stand openly and irreconcilably opposed to them. If the resistances in one direction are impossible to overcome, then the artist’s invention and powers of expression turn to a goal the way to which is not obstructed, and it is very unusual for him even to be aware of the fact that his achievement is a substitute for the real thing. Even in the most liberal democracy the artist does not move with perfect freedom and unrestraint; even there he is restricted by innumerable considerations foreign to his art. The different measure of freedom may be of the greatest importance for him personally but in principle there is no difference between the dictates of a despot and the conventions of even the most liberal social order. If force in itself were contrary to the spirit of art, perfect works of art could arise only in a state of complete anarchy. But in reality the pre-suppositions on which the aesthetic quality of a work depends lie beyond the alternative presented by political freedom and compulsion. Therefore the other extreme, namely, the assumption that the ties which restrict the artist’s freedom of movement are profitable and fruitful in themselves, that the freedom of the modern artist is consequently responsible for the inadequacies of modern art and that compulsion and restrictions could and should be produced artificially as the supposed guarantees of true ‘style’, —such an assumption is just as wrong as the anarchist point of view.

By Anonym 17 Sep

Arnold Hauser

Nothing more sharply reflects the inner contradictions in the emotional world of chivalry than its equivocal attitude to love, which combined the highest spiritualization with extreme sensuality. But illuminating as is a psychological analysis of the equivocal nature of these emotions, the psychological facts are a product of historical circumstances which in turn require explanation and can only be explained sociologically. The psychological mechanism of this attachment to the wife of another, and of this intensification of emotion through the freedom with which it could be expressed, could never have been set in motion without the force of ancient religious and social taboos having first been weakened and the soil prepared for such an exuberant growth of erotic feelings by the rise of a new emancipated upper class. In this case, too, psychology, as so often, is only unclear, disguised, incompletely worked-out sociology.

By Anonym 16 Sep

Arnold Hauser

It is not without good reason that the literary tradition of pastoral poetry can look back on an almost uninterrupted history of over two thousand years since its beginnings in Hellenism. With the exception of the early Middle Ages, when urban and court culture was extinguished, there have been variants of this poetry in every century. Apart from the thematic material of the novel of chivalry, there is probably no other subject-matter 15 that has occupied the literature of Western Europe for so long and maintained itself against the assaults of rationalism with such tenacity. This long and uninterrupted reign shows that ‘sentimental’ poetry, in Schiller’s sense of the word, plays an incomparably greater part in the history of literature than ‘naïve’ poetry. Even the idylls of Theocritus himself owe their existence not, as might be imagined, to genuine roots in nature and a direct relationship to the life of the common people, but to a reflective feeling for nature and a romantic conception of the common folk, that is, to sentiments which have their origin in a yearning for the remote, the strange and the exotic. The peasant and the shepherd are not enthusiastic about their surroundings or about their daily work. And interest in the life of the simple folk is, as we know, to be sought neither in spatial nor social proximity to the peasantry; it does not arise in the folk itself but in the higher classes, and not in the country but in the big towns and at the courts, in the midst of bustling life and an over-civilized, surfeited society. Even when Theocritus was writing his idylls, the pastoral theme and situation were certainly no longer a novelty; it will already have occurred in the poetry of the primitive pastoral peoples, but doubtless without the note of sentimentality and complacency, and probably also without attempting to describe the outward conditions of the shepherd’s life realistically. Pastoral scenes, although without the lyrical touch of the Idylls, were to be found before Theocritus, at any rate, in the mime. They are a matter of course in the satyr plays, and rural scenes are not unknown even to tragedy. But pastoral scenes and pictures of country life are not enough to produce bucolic poetry; the preconditions for this are, above all, the latent conflict of town and country and the feeling of discomfort with civilization.

By Anonym 19 Sep

Arnold Hauser

This attitude finds a late but still abundantly clear expression in the conventions of the classical court theatre, in which the actor, quite regardless of the demands of stage deception, addresses the audience directly, apostrophizes it, as it were, with every word and gesture, and not only avoids ‘turning his back’ on the audience but emphasizes by every possible means that the whole proceeding is a pure fiction, an entertainment conducted in accordance with previously agreed rules. The naturalistic theatre forms the transition to the absolute opposite of this ‘frontal’ art, namely the film, which, with its mobilization of the audience, leading them to the events instead of leading and presenting the events to them, and attempting to represent the action in such a way as to suggest that the actors have been caught red-handed, by chance and by surprise, reduces the fictions and conventions of the theatre to a minimum. With its robust illusionism, its forthright and indiscreet directness, its violent attack on the audience, it expresses a democratic conception of art, held by liberal, anti-authoritarian societies, just as clearly as the whole of the courtly and aristocratic art—by its mere emphasis of the stage, the footlights, the frame and the socle—is the unmistakable expression of a highly artificial, specially commissioned occasion, from which it is obvious that the patron is an initiated connoisseur who does not need to be deceived.

By Anonym 15 Sep

Arnold Hauser

But without Rousseau's pessimistic approach to history and without his doctrine of the depravity of the present, the nineteenth-century novel of disillusionment is just as inconceivable as the conception of tragedy held by Schiller, Kleist, and Hebbel.

By Anonym 18 Sep

Arnold Hauser

The art of the High Renaissance is absolutely secular in its outlook; even in the representations of religious subjects, it attains its ideal style not by contrasting natural with supernatural reality, but by creating a distance between the objects of natural reality itself - a distance which in the world of visual experience creates differences of value similar to those that exist between the elite and the masses in human society. Its harmony is the utopian ideal of a world from which all conflicts is excluded, and, moreover, not as a result of the rule of a democratic but of an autocratic principle. Its creations represent an enhanced, ennobled reality exempt from transitoriness and banality. Its most important stylistic principle is the restriction of the representation to the bare essentials.

By Anonym 15 Sep

Arnold Hauser

Aristocracy in general does not favour individualism; it bases its claim to privilege upon virtues which are common to the whole class or at least to whole clans.

By Anonym 18 Sep

Arnold Hauser

The essence of the Industrial Revolution consists in the triumph of this principle over the medieval and mercantilist regulations. Modern economy first begins with the introduction of the principle of laissez-faire, and the idea of individual freedom first succeeds in establishing itself as the ideology of this economic liberalism. These connections do not, of course, prevent both the idea of labour and the idea of freedom from developing into independent ethical forces and from often being interpreted in a really idealistic sense. But to realize how small a part was played by idealism in the rise of economic liberalism, it is only necessary to recall that the demand for freedom of trade was directed, above all, against the skilled master, in order to take away from him the only advantage he had over 55 the mere contractor. Adam Smith himself was still far from claiming such idealistic motives for the justification of free competition; on the contrary, he saw in human selfishness and the pursuit of personal interests the best guarantee for the smooth functioning of the economic organism and the realization of the general weal. The whole optimism of the enlightenment was bound up with this belief in the selfregulating power of economic life and the automatic adjustment of conflicting interests; as soon as this began to disappear, it became more and more difficult to identify economic freedom with the interests of the general weal and to regard free competition as a universal blessing.

By Anonym 19 Sep

Arnold Hauser

The notion, popularized by classicist and romanticist critics alike, of the Attic theatre as the perfect example of a national theatre, and of its audiences as realizing the ideal of a whole people united in support of art, is a falsification of historical truth.33 The festival theatre of Athenian democracy was certainly no ‘people’s theatre’ —the German classical and romantic theorists could only represent it as such, because they conceived the theatre to be an educational institution. The true ‘people’s theatre’ of ancient times was the mime, which received no subvention from the state, in consequence did not have to take instructions from above, and so worked out its artistic principles simply and solely from its own immediate experience with the audiences. It offered its public not artistically constructed dramas of tragi-heroic manners and noble or even sublime personages, but short, sketchy, naturalistic scenes with subjects and persons drawn from the most trivial, everyday life. Here at last we have to do with an art which has been created not merely for the people but also in a sense by the people. Mimers may have been professional actors, but they remained popular and had nothing to do with the educated élite, at least until the mime came into fashion. They came from the people, shared their taste and drew upon their common sense. They wanted neither to educate nor to instruct, but to entertain their audience. This unpretentious, naturalistic, popular theatre was the product of a much longer and more continuous development, and had to its credit a much richer and more varied output than the official classical theatre; unfortunately, this output has been almost completely lost to us. Had these plays been preserved, we should certainly take quite a different view of Greek literature and probably of the whole of Greek culture from that taken now. The mime is not merely much older than tragedy; it is probably prehistoric in origin and directly connected with the symbolic-magical dances, vegetation rites, hunting magic, and the cult of the dead. Tragedy originates in the dithyramb, an undramatic art form, and to all appearances it got its dramatic form—involving the transformation of the performers into fictitious personages and the transposition of the epic past into present —from the mime. In tragedy, the dramatic element certainly always remained subordinate to the lyrical and didactic element; the fact that the chorus was able to survive shows that tragedy was not exclusively concerned to get dramatic effect and so was intended to serve other ends than mere entertainment.

By Anonym 17 Sep

Arnold Hauser

Nothing could have been less in line with contemporary conceptions of art than that the theatre should be divorced from all relation to life and politics. Greek tragedy was in the strictest sense ‘political drama’; the finale of Eumenides, with its fervent prayers for the prosperity of the Attic state, betrays the main purpose of the piece. This political control of the theatre brought back to currency the old view that the poet is guardian of a higher truth and an educator who leads his people up to a higher plane of humanity. Through the performance of tragedies on the state-ordained festivals and the circumstances that tragedy came to be looked upon as the authoritative interpretation of the national myths, the poet once more attains to a position almost equivalent to that of the priestly seer of prehistoric times.

By Anonym 18 Sep

Arnold Hauser

The cultured court singer of heroic lays disappears along with the heroic spirit of his public, but heroic poetry survives the heroic age and is more long-lived than the society to which it owes its origin. After the decline of the military aristocratic culture, it turns from an exclusive class interest into a universal art. The fact that this declension was so easily brought about, and that the same kind of poetry could be understood and enjoyed by the upper and lower classes almost simultaneously, can only be explained by assuming that the difference in cultural standards between the rulers and the ruled cannot have been anything like so great as in later ages. It is true that from the very beginning the rulers lived in a different sphere from the people, but they were not yet so conscious of the gulf that divided them from the lower classes.

By Anonym 19 Sep

Arnold Hauser

The ruling class will look to art, above all, as the symbol of the calm and stability which it aspires to attain in life. For if the High Renaissance develops artistic composition in the form of the symmetry and correspondence of the separate parts, and forces reality into the pattern of a triangle or circle, then that does not imply merely the solution of a formal problem, but also the expression of a stable outlook on life and of the desire to perpetuate the state of affairs which corresponds to this outlook.

By Anonym 15 Sep

Arnold Hauser

At any rate, the principles of a noble manner of life and the ethics of the nobility now take on the clear and uncompromising form known to us from the chivalric epic and lyric. We often find the new members of a privileged group to be more rigorous in their attitude to questions of class etiquette than the born representatives of the group; they are more clearly conscious of the ideas which hold the particular group together and distinguish it from other groups than are men who grew up in those ideas. This is a well-known and often-repeated feature of social history; the novus homo is always inclined to over-compensate for his sense of inferiority and to emphasize the moral qualifications required for the privileges which he enjoys. In the present case, too, we find that the knights who have risen from the ranks of the retainers are stricter and more intolerant in matters of honour than the old aristocrats by birth. What seems to the latter a matter of course, something that could hardly be otherwise than what it is, appears to the newly ennobled an achievement and a problem. The feeling of belonging to the governing class, one of which the old nobility had scarcely been conscious, is for them a great new experience. Where the old-style aristocrat acts instinctively and makes no pretensions about it, the knight finds himself faced with a special task of difficulty, an opportunity for heroic action, a need to surpass himself—in fact to do something extraordinary and unnatural. In matters in which a born grand seigneur takes no trouble to distinguish himself from the rest of mankind, the new knight requires of his peers that they should at all costs show themselves different from ordinary mortals.

By Anonym 19 Sep

Arnold Hauser

Tradition is here nothing but a bulwark against the all too violently approaching storms of unfamiliar, an element which is felt to be a principle of life but also of destruction. It is impossible to understand mannerism if one does not grasp the fact that its imitation of classical models is an escape from the threatening chaos, and that the subjective over-straining of its forms is the expression of the fear that form might fail the struggle with life and art fade into soul-less beauty.

By Anonym 17 Sep

Arnold Hauser

Not merely is the art of the second half of the fifth century influenced by the same experience which formed the ideas of the Sophists; a spiritual movement such as theirs, with its stimulating humanism, was bound to have a direct effect upon the outlook of the poets and artists. When we come to the fourth century there is no branch of art in which their influence cannot be traced. Nowhere is the new spirit more striking than in the new type of athlete which, with Praxiteles and Lysippus, now supplants the manly ideal of Polycletus. Their Hermes and Apoxyomenos have nothing of the heroic, of aristocratic austerity and disdain about them; they give the impression of being dancers rather than athletes. Their intellectuality is expressed not merely in their heads; their whole appearance emphasizes that ephemeral quality of all that is human which the Sophists had pointed out and stressed. Their whole being is dynamically charged and full of latent force and movement. When you try to look at them they will not allow you to rest in any one position, for the sculptor has discarded all thought of principal view-points; on the contrary, these works underline the incompleteness and momentariness of each ephemeral aspect to such a degree as to force the spectator to be altering his position constantly until he has been round the whole figure. He is thus made aware of the relativity of each single aspect, just as the Sophists became aware that every truth, every norm and every standard has a perspective element and alters as the view-point alters. Art now frees itself from the last fetters of the geometrical; the very last traces of frontality now disappear. The Apoxyomenos is completely absorbed in himself, leads his own life and takes no notice of the spectator. The individualism and relativism of the Sophists, the illusionism and subjectivity of contemporary art, alike express the spirit of economic liberalism and democracy—the spiritual condition of people who reject the old aristocratic attitude towards life, with all its gravity and magnificence, because they think they owe everything to themselves and nothing to their ancestors, and who give vent to all their emotions and passions with complete lack of restraint because so whole-heartedly convinced that man is the measure of all things.

By Anonym 19 Sep

Arnold Hauser

There is no direct relationship between social and artistic ‘planning’. Planning as the exclusion of free, unregulated competition in the field of economics and planning as the strictly disciplined execution of an artistic plan, elaborated to the last detail, can at the very most be brought into a metaphorical relationship with one another; in themselves they represent two absolutely different principles, and it is perfectly conceivable that in a planned economy and society a formally individualistic art, revelling in variety and improvisation, might well come to the fore. There is scarcely any greater danger for the sociological interpretation of cultural structures than such equivocations and none to which it is easier to fall victim. For there is nothing easier than to construct striking connections between the various styles in art and the social patterns predominating at any particular time, which are based on nothing but metaphor, and there is nothing more tempting than to make a show of such daring analogies. But they are just as fateful traps for truth as the illusions enumerated by Bacon and they might well be put on his list of warnings as idola aequivocationis.

By Anonym 16 Sep

Arnold Hauser

In the course of the history of art and literature we repeatedly meet this stylistic differentiation according to subject-matter. For example, the dual manner of characterization employed by Shakespeare, according to which his servants and clowns speak in everyday prose but his heroes and lords in elaborately artistic verse, corresponds to this ‘Egyptian’, thematically determined alternation of style. For Shakespeare’s characters do not speak the different language of the various classes as they exist in reality, like the characters in a modern drama, for instance, who are all drawn naturalistically, whether they are of high or low degree, but the members of the ruling class are portrayed in a stylized manner and express themselves in a language non-existent in real life, whereas the representatives of the common people are described realistically and speak the idiom of the street, the inns and the workshop.

By Anonym 19 Sep

Arnold Hauser

The Sophists start by postulating that there are no limits to what education can accomplish and they maintain, in contrast to the old mystical belief in breeding, that ‘virtue’ can be taught. Western culture, which is based on self-consciousness, self-observation and self-criticism, has its origin in their idea of education. They initiated the history of Western rationalism, with its criticism of dogmas, myths, traditions and conventions. They are the discoverers of historical relativity—the recognition that scientific truths, ethical standards and religious creeds are all historically conditioned. They are the first to realize that all norms and standards, whether in science, law, morality, mythology or art, are creations of human minds and hands. They discover the relativity of truth and falsehood, right and wrong, good and evil. They recognize the pragmatic motives underlying human valuations, and thus pave the way for all subsequent endeavour in the field of humanistic enlightenment. It is to be noted that their rationalism and relativism are connected with the same trend of economy and the same general impulse towards free competition and moneymaking as gave rise to the Renaissance emancipation of science, the enlightenment of the eighteenth century and the materialism of the nineteenth. Their experience of ancient capitalism aroused the same reactions in them as the experience of modern capitalism does in their successors.

By Anonym 15 Sep

Arnold Hauser

But what are theses "essentials"? They are the lasting, unchanging, inconrruptible things whose value lies, above all, in their remoteness from mere actuality and chance. On the other hand, the concrete and the direct, the accidental and the individual - whose things which the art of the Quattrocento considered the most interesting and substantial elements in reality - are regarded by this art as inessentials. The elite of the High Renaissance creates the fiction of a timeless valid, "eternally human" art because it wants to think of its own influence and position as timeless, imperishable, and immutable. In reality, of course, its art is just a time conditioned, just as limited and transitory, with its own standards of value and criteria of beauty, as the art of any other period. For even the idea of timelessness is the product of a particular time, and the validity of absolutism just as relative as that of relativism.

By Anonym 16 Sep

Arnold Hauser

In the comprehension of familiar truths guaranteed by authority, the age is much less concerned with originality of interpretation than with the confirmation and corroboration of the truths themselves. It regards the rediscovery of what has already been established, the reforming of what has already been formed and the reinterpretation of truth as pointless and meaningless. The supreme values are beyond question and contained in eternally valid forms; the desire to change them, merely for the sake of changing them, would be pure presumption. The purpose of life is possession of the eternal values, not mental activity for its own sake. This is a calm, firmly established age, strong in faith, never losing its confidence in the validity of its own conception of truth and moral law, having no intellectual dissension and no conflicts of conscience, feeling no yearning for the new and no boredom with the old. At any rate, it does not lend any support to such ideas and feelings.

By Anonym 18 Sep

Arnold Hauser

Such a society will want to invest the work of art with regularity and necessity. It will want art to prove that there are universally valid, unshakable, inviolable standards and principles, that the world is ruled by an absolute and immutable purpose, and that man - though not every individual man - is the custodian of this purpose, Art forms will have to be authoritative to agree with the ideas of this society, and must make a definitive and consummate impression comparable to that which the authoritarian order of the age desires to make. The ruling class will look to art, above all, as the symbol of the calm and stability which is aspires to attain in life.