Bellezza

Nel suo “Beauty: A Very Short Introduction”, Roger Scruton si occupa della bellezza artistica: esiste? Come si misura? E’ relativa o assoluta? Eccetera.

Si tratta di una bellezza “recente”…

… Only in the course of the nineteenth century, and in the wake of Hegel’s posthumously published lectures on aesthetics, did the topic of art come to replace that of natural beauty as the core subject-matter of aesthetics…

Comparso tardi come concetto, sembra anche sparito presto: l’arte contemporanea lo snobba

… Art picked up the torch of beauty, ran with it for a while, and then dropped it in the pissoirs of Paris… Joking apart A century ago Marcel Duchamp signed a urinal with the name ‘R. Mutt’…

Ma cos’è l’arte se non è arte del bello?…

… One immediate result of Duchamp’s joke was to precipitate an intellectual industry devoted to answering the question ‘What is art?’…

Le ambizioni di generare una  bellezza assoluta sembra acqua passata

… searches for objective values and lasting monuments to the human spirit, this is dismissed out of hand…

Forse il peso della cultura è faticoso e il relativismo estetico offre una via di fuga…

… The argument is eagerly embraced, because it seems to emancipate people from the burden of culture, telling them that all those venerable masterpieces can be ignored with impunity, that TV soaps are ‘as good as’ Shakespeare and Radiohead the equal of Brahms, since nothing is better than anything and all claims to aesthetic value are void. The argument therefore chimes with the fashionable forms of cultural relativism…

Ma Duchamp ripetuto all’infinito stufa…

… There is a useful comparison to be made here with jokes. It is as hard to circumscribe the class of jokes as it is the class of artworks. Anything is a joke if somebody says so. A joke is an artefact made to be laughed at. It may fail to perform its function, in which case it is a joke that ‘falls flat’. Or it may perform its function, but offensively, in which case it is a joke ‘in bad taste’. But none of this implies that the category of jokes is arbitrary, or that there is no such thing as a distinction between good jokes and bad…

E così la questione del bello torna a riproporsi.

Molti fruitori cercano elevazione spirituale, consolazione, ispirazione… obiettivi alti che all’apparenza domandano bellezza…

… They may fulfil this function in a rewarding way, offering food for thought and spiritual uplift, winning for themselves a loyal public that returns to them to be consoled or inspired…

Si sviluppa un gusto personale

… Good taste is as important in aesthetics as it is in humour, and indeed taste is what it is all about…

Quando l’arte punta in alto arte ed etica vanno a braccetto…

… When it comes to art, aesthetic judgement concerns what you ought and ought not to like, and (I shall argue) the ‘ought’ here, even if it is not exactly a moral imperative, has a moral weight…

Ma valorizzare il gusto è un’arma a doppio taglio: se il gusto e la preferenza viene trattato alla stregua di un diritto da non discutere, se il mio gusto non puo’ essere peggiore del tuo altrimenti mi sento offeso, allora si ripiomba nel relativismo…

… increasingly many teachers of the humanities agree with their incoming students, that there is no distinction between good and bad taste, but only between your taste and mine…

Tutto puo’ piacere, tutto è spettacolo, tutto è legittimato e tutto viene estremizzato per far spettacolo: arte e circo si toccano. Siamo nel mondo di Mao…

… Mao Ze Dong burst into laughter: it was at the circus, when a tight-rope walker fell from the high wire to her death… Imagine a world in which people laughed only at others’ misfortunes…. It would be a degenerate world, a world in which human kindness no longer found its endorsement…

Duchamp ha vinto……

… Imagine now a world in which people showed an interest only in replica Brillo boxes, in signed urinals…

Un mondo senza ideali, senza trascendenza, un mondo dove l’arte è divertimento…

… What would such a world have in common with that of Duccio, Giotto, Velazquez, or even Cézanne? Of course, there would be the fact of putting objects on display, and the fact of our looking at them through aesthetic spectacles. But it would be a world in which human aspirations no longer find their artistic expression, in which we no longer make for ourselves images of the transcendent, and in which mounds of rubbish cover the sites of our ideals. Art and entertainment…

In questo senso Croce poneva già all’epoca una distinzione molto attuale…

… Benedetto Croce pointed to a radical distinction, as he saw it, between art properly so-called, and the pseudo-art designed to entertain, arouse or amuse…

Siamo nell’era dell’effettistica. Conta l’effetto…

… When seeking entertainment, however, I am not interested in the cause but in the effect. Whatever has the right effect on me is right for me…

Ma Croce esagerava: arte e intrattenimento non sono opposti, anche se non si identificano.

Esagerazioni di questo genere impediscono a Croce di elaborare un’estetica credibile…

… It is not surprising, therefore, if, from their exaggerated dismissal of entertainment art, Croce and Collingwood each derived aesthetic theories as implausible as any in the literature…

Anche l’arte genuina ci intrattiene. Tuttavia, è giusto distinguere tra interesse estetico ed interesse effettistico…

… illustrates the distinction between aesthetic interest and mere effect: the first creating a distance that the second destroys…

***

Nell’arte conta di più la forma o il contenuto?

Lo stile consente all’artista di distinguersi formalmente…

… ability to turn a shared repertoire in a personal direction, so that a single character is revealed in each of them. That is what we mean by style…

A cosa ci rinvia, per esempio, una sedia disegnata da Van Gogh?…

… Suppose you ask me what is the content of Van Gogh’s famous painting of the yellow chair…

Dov’è qui la forma e dove il contenuto? Puo’ una foto sostituirla, magari meglio?

No. Quella sedia ha qualcosa di particolare, è tutt’uno con la forma che la riproduce, una foto non la sostituisce…

… I am likely to argue that this painting is saying something special about this particular chair, and also about the world as seen through the image of this chair…

Ma perché se in quella sedia c’è tanto, Van Gogh non ha dettagliato il suo messaggio in uno scritto?…

… But couldn’t he have written that message on the bottom of the canvas? Why does he need a chair to communicate a thought like that? I am likely to respond that my words are only a gesture; that the real meaning of the painting is bound up with, inseparable from, the image…

Il fatto è che quella sedia è arte e l’arte non si puo’ tradurre.

Il significato dell’arte esiste ma…

… We want to say that works of art are meaningful—they are not just interesting forms in which we take an unexplained delight. They are acts of communication, which present us with a meaning; and this meaning must be understood…

Scorgiamo l’esistenza del significato anche laddove diciamo di “non capire” certa arte…

… We listen to abstract music, like the quartets of Bartók and Schoenberg, and perhaps say that we do not understand them…

Certa arte muta la nostra visione del mondo. Questo fatto dovrebbe suggerirci la potenza insita nell’arte, l’impossibilità di ridurla a formalismo…

… Some works have changed the way we see the world—Goethe’s Faust, for example, Beethoven’s late quartets, Shakespeare’s Hamlet, Vergil’s Aeneid, Michelangelo’s Moses, the Psalms of David and the Book of Job…

Tuttavia, olismo e vaghezza dominano in questa semantica…

… Yet, when it comes to saying, of any particular work of art, just what its content might be, we find ourselves very soon reduced to silence…

Forma e contenuto sembrano inseparabili: una sedie fotografata non ha il riferimento della sedia di Van Gogh…

… Thus we arrive at what has become a critical commonplace, which is the thesis of the inseparability of form and content…

L’arte non sopporta la parafrasi…

… particular version of this thesis in the realm of literary criticism goes by the name of the ‘heresy of paraphrase’—an expression due to the critic Cleanth Brooks…

Cio’ dovrebbe dirci qualcosa sul senso dell’opera, sull’inestricabilità di forma e contenuto…

… The heresy to which Brooks referred is that of thinking that the meaning of a poem can be contained in a paraphrase…

La simultaneità che realizza l’opera si perde nella sua parafrasi…

… Brooks is pointing to several distinct features of poetry. First, there is the fact that a line of poetry can express several thoughts simultaneously, whereas a paraphrase will at best lay them out in succession. For instance, the line ‘bare ruin’d choirs, where late the sweet birds sang’…

Così come la sua polisemia

… Secondly, there is the fact that poetry is ‘polysemous’, developing its meaning on several levels—the levels of image, of statement, of metaphor, of allegory and so on…

Ma soprattutto si perde il significato

… Thirdly meaning is lost in any paraphrase. You could paraphrase the first line of Hamlet’s famous soliloquy as ‘To live or to die: that’s the choice’; or ‘to exist or not to exist; there’s the problem’. But Shakespeare wanted the verb ‘to be’, with all its metaphysical resonance, as touching the very mystery of the universe…

Suono, sintassi e significato sono tutt’uno…

… It is not just the meaning and association of words that count towards their sense in poetry. The sound too is important—and not just sound: sound as organized by syntax, and shaped as language. So, finally, there is the sheer untranslateability of the semantic atmosphere in poetry…

Cio’ pone anche un limite alla possibilità di spiegare l’arte…

… For the most part you can say much about the meaning of a poem, a painting—even a work of music. But what you say will not explain the particular intensity of meaning…

***

L’arte rappresenta o esprime?

Per Croce questa era la domanda cruciale…

… The distinction goes back to Croce and Collingwood, though it corresponds to thoughts that have been around for far longer…

Il realismo sembra più vicino alla rappresentazione…

… Representation can be judged to be more or less realistic—in other words, more or less in conformity with the generality of the things and situations described. It admits of translation and paraphrase… Mantegna’s and Grünewald’s Crucifixions both represent the crucifixion of Jesus…

Ma un’ accurata rappresentazione potrebbe non avere alcun contenuto artistico, altrimenti la fotografia avrebbe scalzato le arti visive.

Cos’è invece l’espressione?

L’espressione è movimento. Si esprimono le emozioni, obbero le cause dell’azione umana. Per Croce è qui che sta l’elemento artistico…

… According to Croce, therefore, the burden of artistic meaning lies not with representation but with expression…

L’emozione, l’umanità e la simpatia sarebbero al centro dell’opera…

… works of art express emotion, and that this is of value to us because it acquaints us with the human condition, and arouses our sympathies for experiences that we do not otherwise undergo…

Ma spesso la bellezza di un’opera sfugge al suo creatore (intentional fallacy). Se l’opera fosse pura espressione, il creatore dell’opera dovrebbe essere il dominus…

… Even when artists refer to the emotion that is allegedly conveyed by their work, we may not believe that their description is the correct one…

Facciamo un esempio…

… Beethoven prefaced the slow movement of Op. 132 with the description ‘Hymn of thanksgiving from the convalescent to the Godhead in the Lydian mode’. Suppose you respond by saying ‘To me it is just a serene expression of contentment… Why is Beethoven any better placed than you, to put words to the feeling conveyed by his music? Maybe you, as critic, are better able to describe the emotional content of a piece of music than the composer. There are plenty of artists who are awoken by criticism to the meaning of their own works: such, for example, was T. S. Eliot’s response to Helen Gardner’s book about his poetry—namely, at last I know what it means… attempts to describe the emotional content of works of art seem to fall short of their target. The feeling does not have an independent life: it is there in the notes…

Come risponde Croce a questa obiezione? L’artista si limita ad intuire, puo’ quindi non sapere…

… Expression does not deal in concepts but in intuitions—particular experiences, that are conveyed by communicating their uniqueness. Two works of art can represent the same thing; but they cannot express the same thing—for a work expresses an intuition only by presenting its individual character, the character that requires just these words, or just these images, if it is to be put across… it presents us with the unconceptualized uniqueness of its subject-matter… to say that a work of art expresses an intuition is like saying that it is identical with itself…

Sembra una soluzione artificiosa: come puo’ qualcuno esprimere qualcosa che lui stesso non conosce?

Ci sono teorie recenti dell’espressione che cercano di rianimare Croce ma senza successo. Meglio ringraziarlo (per la sua lotta contro i rappresentazionisti) e abbandonarlo.

***

Torniamo alla bellezza e vediamo come si lega al significato dell’opera…

… Art moves us because it is beautiful, and it is beautiful in part because it means something. It can be meaningful without being beautiful; but to be beautiful it must be meaningful…

Da dove diavolo esce la tremenda espressività dell’ Adagio di Samuel Barber?…

… Consider Samuel Barber’s solemn Adagio for Strings—surely one of the most expressive pieces in the instrumental repertoire. How do we understand its expressive power? It is not telling a story…

Il problema da risolvere…

… what is the difference between the one who understands the expression, and the one who does not?…

Nella musica l’espressione da transitiva diventa intransitiva

… there are two uses of the term ‘expression’: a transitive use, which invites the question ‘expression of what?’, and an intransitive use, which forbids that question… Espressivo in a musical score is always understood intransitively…

Anche per questo ha poco senso chiedere all’artista cosa stia esprimendo. La sua è un’espressione intransitiva.

L’arte va capita ma non si sa bene cosa debba essere capito…

… Performers show their understanding of an expressive work of music not by identifying some state of mind which it is ‘about’, but by playing with understanding…

La comprensione di una musica assomiglia ad un adattamento ad essa…

… They must fit themselves into the groove of the work. This process of ‘fitting’ is mirrored too in the audience…

Croce, pur nella sua incompletezza, ci mette di fronte al vero problema…

… Hence although Croce’s theory of art as intuition is far too stringent, it is pointing to a puzzle about beauty in art. Why are we so often tempted to speak of expression in this intransitive way? And why is expression a part of beauty?…

Molti pensatori hanno ritenuto di superare il problema concentrandosi sulla forma (di fatto il problema è liquidato più che risolto)…

… Hanslick’s essay On the Musically Beautiful of 1854 was to become a pivotal document in the dispute between the followers of Brahms, for whom the art of music was essentially architectural, consisting in the elaboration of tonal structures, and the followers of Wagner, who had defended the view that music is a dramatic art, giving form and coherence to our states of mind…

La posizione formalista…

… music is an abstract art, incapable of presenting definite thoughts. Hence the assertion that a piece of music is expressive of some emotion becomes empty: nothing can be said in answer to the question ‘expressive of what?’…

Per Hanslick la musica è…

… forms moved through sound’…

Che cosa significa “capire la musica” per un formalista?…

… Musical understanding is not a matter of lapsing into a self-centred reverie, prompted by the music, perhaps, but in no way controlled by it. Understanding consists in appreciating the various movements contained in the musical surface… The pleasure that this causes is not unlike the pleasure of pattern in architecture…

Il formalista usa delle metafore per negare validità alle metafore

… Hanslick’s theory is not really distinguished from that of the romantics whom he attacks. They agree that music moves, but add that, granted that metaphor, why not help yourself to another—namely, that music moves as the heart moves, when it is moved by feeling? In other words, beauty in music is not just a matter of form: it involves an emotional content…

C’è una solida tradizione formalista in architettura, per esempio…

… there is a tradition in architectural thinking going back to Alberti’s Ten Books of Architecture (De re aedificatoria, 1452) which sees architectural beauty (concinnitas) as the appropriate fitting of part to part. This parallels the formalist approach advocated by Hanslick and is just as incomplete and just as unsustainable in architectural criticism as in the discussion of music…

Facciamo l’esempio di Ruskin e di Santa Maria della Salute…

Ruskin saw in the forms and aspect of this church the theatrical insincerity of the Counter-Reformation…

La risposta del formalista Geoffrey Scott

… Geoffrey Scott, in his great work of criticism, The Architecture of Humanism (1914), responded with what he took to be a purely formal account of the church’s beauty and perfection… Scott says nothing—or nothing clear—about the content of the church, not mentioning its ostensible invocation of the Virgin queen of the sea…

Eppure anche il formalista Scott deve spiegarsi ricorrendo a continue metafore che contraddicono il suo credo…

… On the other hand, when we look at the detail of Scott’s description, we see that it is a sequence of metaphors and similes: ‘their heaped and rolling form (two metaphors) is like that of a heavy substance (simile) … the great statues and pedestals … seem to arrest the outward movement (simile) … the essential simplicity and dignity of the baroque (metaphors) …’. This purely ‘formal’ description, in other words, is logically on a par with the most adventurous attempt to describe the meaning of the church, and could easily be pushed in that direction…

Quel che si verifica in architettura si verifica anche in musica: forma e contenuto sono inestricabili, impossibile affermare la prima rinnegando il secondo…

… To point to these analogies and symbolic connections is as legitimate in the criticism of architecture as it is in the expressionist criticism of music. Browning produced a celebrated instance of such expressionist criticism… It seems odd to make a radical distinction between form and content, when the attempt to describe either involves the same recourse to metaphor

***

L’opera artistica è  una metafora del nostro mondo emotivo…

… It seems therefore that our best attempts at explaining the beauty of works of abstract art like music and architecture involve linking them by chains of metaphor to human action, life and emotion…

Un linguaggio figurato e arcano…

… If we are to understand the nature of artistic meaning, therefore, we must first understand the logic of figurative language. Figurative uses of language aim not to describe things but to connect them, and the connection is forged in the feeling of the perceiver…

Una connessione tra due mondi…

… The connection may be made in many ways: through metaphor, metonymy, simile, personification or a transferred name…

La vaghezza dei termini che si connettono  non basta a negare l’esistenza di questa connessione. L’assenza di un codice non nega la presenza di un nesso…

… The connection between music and emotion is not established by conventions or a ‘theory of musical meaning’. It is established in the experience of playing and hearing…

La metafora non ha termini. L’espressione è intransitiva e diventa transitiva solo grazie all’immaginazione di chi ascolta, una facoltà a sua volta alimentata dal vissuto e dall’umanità dell’ascoltatore..

L’esperienza dell’ascoltatore diviene centrale…

… We understand expressive music by fitting it to other elements in our experience, drawing connections with human life, ‘matching’ the music…

Torniamo all’Adagio di Barber…

… Thus we praise the Barber Adagio for Strings for its noble solemnity. The metaphor is not arbitrary, since it makes a connection with the moral life which explains why we feel at home with the piece, and elevated by it….

Croce sbagliava il suo fuoco: l’arte è sì espressione ma al centro sta l’ascoltatore più che il compositore.  Al centro sta chi comprende l’opera  e non chi la produce. Ecco quindi che si spiega l’intentional fallacy…

… This suggests a different model of expression from the one presented by Croce and his followers. The Crocean model is of an inarticulate inner state (an ‘intuition’) becoming articulate and conscious through its artistic expression. The rival model is of an artist fitting things together so as to create links which resonate in the audience’s feelings

La comprensione dell’opera si manifesta in una familiarità con la stessa, in una convivenza che ci riempie lo spirito…

… The question what is being expressed ceases to be relevant. What matters is whether this belongs (emotionally speaking) with that… This does not mean that dissonance and conflict have no part in the artistic enterprise: of course they do…

***

Se l’arte ha un significato, l’arte ha anche un valore. Eppure l’avvento della “bruttezza” sembra innegabile: sgorbi, rumore…

… Although beauty and meaning are connected in art, some of the most meaningful works of recent times have been downright ugly and even offensive…

Ci sono opere che difficilmente potremmo definire “belle”…

… think of Schoenberg’s A Survivor from Warsaw, Gunther Grass’s Tin Drum, Picasso’s Guernica. To call such works beautiful is in a way to diminish and even to trivialize what they are trying to say…

Come riconciliare questo paradosso?

Il problema è noto da sempre…

… Some insight is provided by the connection made by Schiller, in his Letters on the Aesthetic Education of Man, between art and play…

Forse giova meditare sul male e il bene nella religione cristiana: non sono termini che si oppongono (come nella gnosi) ma il secondo comprende il primo. Così, nell’arte, il bello comprende anche il brutto…

… In play, elevated by art to the level of free contemplation, reason and sense are reconciled, and we are granted a vision of human life in its wholeness…

***

L’arte è anche un gioco

… In appreciating art we are playing; the artist too is playing in creating it… this ludic attitude is fulfilled by beauty, and by the kind of orderliness which retains our interest and prompts us to search for the deeper significance of the sensory world…

Unire i puntini.

Un gioco che si basa sulla nostra mania per l’ordine, per il senso. la nostra voglia di dare una forma sensata alle nuvole ha un nome: apofenia

… order and meaning on human life, through the experience of something delightful, is the underlying motive of art in all its forms. Art answers the riddle of existence: it tells us why we exist by imbuing our lives with a sense of fittingness… logic which connects the end of things with their beginning, as they are connected in Paradise Lost, in Phèdre and in Der Ring des Nibelungen…

E’ un istinto che spesso ci trae in inganno ma ci fa anche scoprire i segreti del cosmo come apprezzare Bach.

***

Che nesso c’è tra bellezza e verità?

Keats…

… Keats’s vision of the Grecian urn, with its message that ‘Beauty is truth, truth beauty—that is all | Ye know on earth, and all ye need to know’…

L’arte rinvia alla nostra condizione umana. Lo abbiamo visto: il suo significato emerge una volta che è filtrata dall’umanità di un ascoltatore…

… Our favourite works of art seem to guide us to the truth of the human condition…

Esempio…

… We know what it is to love and be rejected, and thereafter to wander in the world infected by a bleak passivity. This experience, in all its messiness and arbitrariness, is one that most of us must undergo. But when Schubert, in Die Winterreise, explores it in song, finding exquisite melodies to illuminate one after another the many secret corners of a desolated heart, we are granted an insight of another order…

Nella bellezza c’è qualcosa di necessario, un qualcosa difficile da esprimere. E’ qualcosa che tocca la nostra natura.

La bellezza è un’esperienza in cui è coinvolto il nostro personale vissuto ma anche la nostra natura umana.

Tra verità e necessità il nesso è più evidente…

… To refer to a truth contained in a work of art is always to risk the corrosive effect of the question: what truth?…

Il dare senso appartiene alla nostra condizione umana…

… The insight that art provides is available only in the form in which it is presented: it resides in an immediate experience whose consoling power is that it removes the arbitrariness from the human condition—as the arbitrariness of suffering is overcome in tragedy, and the arbitrariness of rejection in Schubert’s song-cycle…

Possiamo fare giudizi comparativi e sentirli come veri…

… For example we can ask whether that which is captured by Schubert is captured also by Mahler in his Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen. And the answer is surely ‘no…

***

Che nesso c’è tra bellezza e morale?

Nessuno, risponde chi vede l’arte come qualcosa di autonomo…

… During the nineteenth century there arose the movement of ‘art for art’s sake’: l’art pour l’art. The words are those of Théophile Gautier, who believed that if art is to be valued for its own sake…

Il messaggio moralistico – questo è innegabile – danneggerebbe qualsiasi lavoro…

… It is certainly a failing in a work of art that it should be more concerned to convey a message than to delight its audience. Works of propaganda, such as the socialist realist sculptures of the Soviet period or (their equivalent in prose) Mikhail Sholokhov’s Quiet Flows the Don, sacrifice aesthetic… On the other hand, part of what we object to in such works is their untruthful quality…

Ma cio’ non significa che l’arte sia neutrale

… Art is not morally neutral, but has its own way of making and justifying moral claims….

Esempio di Anna Karenina…

… By eliciting sympathy where the world withholds it an artist may, like Tolstoy in Anna Karenina, oppose the bonds of a too constrictive moral order…

Errori artistici ed errori etici…

… Many of the aesthetic faults incurred by art are moral faults—sentimentality, insincerity, self-righteousness, moralizing itself…

***

In democrazia l’arte tende a democratizzarsi

… In a democratic culture people are inclined to believe that it is presumptuous to claim to have better taste than your neighbour… You like Bach, she likes U2; you like Leonardo, he likes Mucha; she likes Jane Austen, you like Danielle Steele. Each of you exists in his own enclosed aesthetic world…

Gusto e identità personale

… If it is so offensive to look down on another’s taste, it is, as the democrat recognizes, because taste is intimately bound up with our personal life and moral identity…

Attentare al gusto di una persona è come attentare alla sua incolumità, ai suoi diritti.

Gli gnomi nel giardino del vicino vanno tollerati…

… This we discover as soon as we take into account the public impact of private tastes. Your neighbour fills her garden with kitsch mermaids and Disneyland gnomes, polluting the view from your window; she designs her house in a ludicrous Costa Brava style, in loud primary colours that utterly ruin the tranquil atmosphere of the street, and so on. Now her taste has ceased to be a private matter…

Ma fino a che punto la bellezza è relativizzabile? Fino a che punto è una questione privata?

La bellezza si connette a forme di vita che noi non riteniamo relativizzabili. In questo senso neanche lei lo è mai del tutto. Vediamo più nel dettaglio.

C’è una chiara relazione tra comunità e bellezza…

… Implicit in our sense of beauty is the thought of community—of the agreement in judgements that makes social life possible and worthwhile. That is one of the reasons why we have planning laws—which, in the great days of Western civilization, have been extremely strict… Think of clothes, interior décor, and bodily ornaments: here too we can be put on edge, excluded or included, made to feel inside or outside the implied community… Many of the clothes we wear have the character of uniforms, designed to express and confirm our inoffensive membership…

Decoro e appropriatezza facilitano il vivere insieme…

… We begin to see why concepts like decorum and propriety are integral to the sense of beauty: but they are concepts that range equally across the aesthetic and the moral spheres…

La bellezza è qualcosa di privato… ma fino ad un certo punto…

… However, there are also private arts like music and literature. Why are we so concerned that our children should learn to like the things that we regard as beautiful?…

C’è poi la questione educativa

… Why do we worry when children are drawn to literature that is, in our eyes, ugly, stupefying, sentimental or obscene?… Plato believed that the various modes of music are connected with specific moral characteristics…

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Infine c’è il legame tra ragione e bellezza: se relativizziamo la prima, o relativizziamo anche la seconda o scindiamo le due sfere.

Ma perché certe opere si affermano?…

… You like Brahms, say, and I detest him. So you invite me to listen to your favourite pieces, and after a while they ‘work on me’. Maybe I am influenced by my friendship for you, and make a special effort on your behalf….

Cambiare gusto non è cambiare testa, bellezza e ragione sembrerebbero scisse…

… A change of taste is not a ‘change of mind’, in the way that a change of belief or even of moral posture is a change of mind…

Eppure si cambia gusto anche discutendo, restando esposti a certi argomenti.

Dalle patatine ai broccoli: si diventa grandi…

… justify the child’s graduation from burgers to broccoli. Greens are far more healthy, maybe part of a superior lifestyle, maybe even a spiritual improvement, as the Vegans argue…

Fino ad un certo punto noi abbiamo la facoltà di scegliere arbitrariamente

… As our discussion proceeds, unfolding the two rival interpretations of the painting, as pure impression and as social comment, the aspect of the picture will perhaps shift from one to the other—so that the painting seems to contain a lesson, reminding us that we can to some extent choose how the new world of industry should be seen… On the contrary, in every perspective picture there are choices to make, concerning what size to attribute to which figure, and what distance to see between the various grounds…

Anatra o coniglio?…

… We can find simpler, and logically more transparent, cases of this kind of change in aspect—like the celebrated duck-rabbit discussed by Wittgenstein…

Tuttavia, nel tentare di convincere, noi mettiamo in campo delle ragioni

… The poetry is not a means to its meaning, as though a translation would do just as well. I want you to experience the poem differently, and my critical argument is aimed precisely at a change in your perception… In every case we recognize that there is such a thing as reasoning, which has a changed perception as its goal…

Scegliere un senso nell’arte significa andare verso una cultura e non tutte le culture sono uguali. A noi piace il vino per ragioni culturali.

Relativizzare la cultura è già più impegnativo che relativizzare un’arte svincolata da tutto.

Vivere la bellezza, poi, è vivere un’esperienza. Ci sono modi più o meno corretti per farlo…

… is the Grand Canyon breathtaking or corny? Is Bambi moving or kitsch? Is Madame Bovary tragic or cruel? Is The Magic Flute childish or sublime? These are real questions, and hotly disputed too. But to argue them is to present an experience and to present it as appropriate or right…

Riassumendo, l’esperienza della bellezza coinvolge la ragione…

… there is a kind of reasoning that has aesthetic judgement as its goal, and that this judgement is bound up with the experience of the one who makes it…

Ma si tratta di un ragionamento oggettivo?…

… You might still question whether this kind of reasoning is objective…

I relativisti pensano di no, il contesto pesa troppo

… Indeed, there are important considerations to the contrary. First, taste is rooted in a broader cultural context… significant differences between the forms of human life, and the satisfactions that people take in them…

Facciamo l’esempio dei raga indiani…

… Consider the ragas of Indian classical music: these belong to a longstanding tradition of listening and performance, and this tradition is dependent on the discipline associated with religious rituals and a devout way of life…

D’altronde, i ragionamenti di cui sopra non fanno appello alla logica

… Secondly, as noted in Chapter 1, there is no deductive relation between premises and conclusion when the conclusion is a judgement of taste…

D’altronde, gli standard sono fragili in queste materie, gli universali latitano…

… Finally, we must recognize that any attempt to lay down objective standards threatens the very enterprise that it purports to judge… Rules and precepts are there to be transcended… How might we respond to such arguments? First, it is important to recognize that cultural variation does not imply the absence of cross-cultural universals…Symmetry and order; proportion; closure; convention; harmony, and also novelty and excitement: all these seem to have a permanent hold on the human psyche… The early medievals regarded the fourth as harmonious, the third as dissonant: for us, if anything, it is the other way round… Harmonia for the Greeks consisted in the relation between successive sounds in a melody, and not the consonance of simultaneous notes…

Ma oggettività e universalità forse vanno distinte in campo estetico. C’è una differenza tra l’oggettività scientifica e quella estetica…

… In science and morality, the search for objectivity is the search for universally valid results—results that must be accepted by every rational being. In the judgement of beauty the search for objectivity is for valid and heightened forms of human experience…

Il bello fa fiorire la vita umana. Ecco allora la domanda…

… forms in which human life can flower according to its inner need…

La bellezza è un’esperienza ma quali esperienze fanno fiorire la nostra personalità?

Il ruolo della critica in questi problemi…

… Criticism is not aiming to show that you must like Hamlet, for example: it is aiming to expose the vision of human life which the play contains, and the forms of belonging which it endorses, and to persuade you of their value…

Non esiste una ricetta universale…

… It is not claiming that this vision of human life is universally available…

Anche se i confronti restano possibili…

… This does not mean that no cross-cultural comparisons can be made: it is certainly possible to compare a play like Hamlet with a puppet play by Chikamatsu…

L’arte è civiltà: se riteniamo che le civiltà siano tutte uguali, allora possiamo relativizzare l’arte. In caso contrario il relativismo estetico diventa un problema.

***

Esistono delle regole per il bello?…

… There may be rules of taste, but they do not guarantee beauty, and the beauty of a work of art may reside precisely in the act of transgressing them…

L’obbedienza deve essere creativa

… Bach’s Forty-Eight illustrate all the rules of fugal composition: but they do so by obeying them creatively, by showing how they can be used as a platform from which to rise to a higher realm of freedom… Merely obeying them would be a recipe for dullness…

Le regole del 700…

… Eighteenth-century thinkers, who wished to take natural beauty as their paradigm of the object of taste, were therefore quick to adopt Burke’s contrast between the sublime and the beautiful…

Ordine e trasgressione…

… So too in art, we might usefully distinguish those works that please us on account of the order, harmony, and rule-governed perfection which they display, like the fugues of Bach, the Holy Virgins of Bellini, or the lyrics of Verlaine, and those which, on the contrary, please us by challenging and disturbing our routines…

La trasgressione puo’ essere un ripudio della regola o una forma di riconoscimento creativo della stessa. Le cose cambiano molto…

… But as soon as we make this distinction we realize that, even in the most orderly and rule-governed work, there is no way of fixing a ‘standard of taste’ by appeal to the rules. It is not the rules, but the use of them, that appeals in a Bach fugue or a Bellini Virgin…

***

E il gusto?

Per Hume è una preferenza…

… Hume tried to shift the focus of the discussion, arguing roughly as follows: taste is a form of preference, and this preference is the premise, not the conclusion of the judgement of beauty…

Una guida al gusto è però necessaria…

… To fix the standard, therefore, we must discover the reliable judge, the one whose taste and discriminations are the best guide…

Attenzione agli argomenti circolari

… There is a potential circle here: beauty is what the reliable critic discerns, and the reliable critic is the one who discerns beauty…

L’unico standard credibile non risiede nelle proprietà dell’opera ma nella qualità umana che fa maturare chi è esposto a quell’opera. Più in particolare: se una musica ci rende persone migliori, allora è bella…

… The standard, if it exists, does not lie in the qualities of the object but in the sentiments of the judge. So, Hume suggests, let us get away from the fruitless discussion of beauty, and simply concentrate on the qualities we admire…

Non polemizziamo su cosa è bello e cosa non lo è: concentriamoci sulle qualità umane che ammiriamo e che la musica induce.

Ma quali sono le qualità umane da considerare?

Esempi…

… it seemed natural, in the Scotland of Hume’s day, to admire delicacy and discernment, it seems less natural today, when facetiousness and ignorance, so unfairly left out by the austere sages of the Enlightenment, are demanding, and receiving, their share of attention… For Hume’s argument suggests that the judgement of taste reflects the character of the one who makes it, and character matters. The characteristics of the good critic, as Hume envisaged them, point to virtues which, in Hume’s thinking, are vital to the good conduct of life, and not just to the discrimination of aesthetic…

In sintesi: l’oggettività del giudizio estetico è parente dell’oggettività del giudizio su vizi e virtù…

… In the last analysis there is as much objectivity in our judgements of beauty as there is in our judgements of virtue and vice…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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