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System and History in Hegel. History, Memory, and Forgetting in Nietzsche and Derrida. Added to PP index Total views 25 , of 2,, Recent downloads 6 months 3 , of 2,, How can I increase my downloads? Sign in to use this feature. Hegel in 19th Century Philosophy categorize this paper. It is worth noting at this stage that Hegel's account of art is meant to be both descriptive and normative.
Hegel thinks that the account he gives describes the principal features of the greatest works of art in the Western tradition, such as the sculptures of Phidias or Praxiteles or the dramas of Aeschylus or Sophocles. At the same time, his account is normative in so far as it tells us what true art is. Hegel's critique of certain developments in post-Reformation art—such as the aspiration to do no more than imitate nature—is thus based, not on contingent personal preferences, but on his philosophical understanding of the true nature and purpose of art. Hegel's philosophical account of art and beauty has three parts: 1 ideal beauty as such, or beauty proper, 2 the different forms that beauty takes in history, and 3 the different arts in which beauty is encountered.
We will look first at Hegel's account of ideal beauty as such. Hegel is well aware that art can perform various functions: it can teach, edify, provoke, adorn, and so on. His concern, however, is to identify art's proper and most distinctive function. This, he claims, is to give intuitive, sensuous expression to the freedom of spirit.
The realm of the sensuous is the realm of individual things in space and time. Such an individual must not be abstract and formal as, for example, in the early Greek Geometric style , nor should he be static and rigid as in much ancient Egyptian sculpture , but his body and posture should be visibly animated by freedom and life, without, however, sacrificing the stillness and serenity that belongs to ideal self-containment. It does not, however, exhaust the idea of beauty, for it does not give us beauty in its most concrete and developed form. This we find in ancient Greek drama—especially tragedy—in which free individuals proceed to action that leads to conflict and, finally, to resolution sometimes violently, as in Sophocles' Antigone , sometimes peacefully, as in Aeschylus' Oresteian trilogy.
The gods represented in Greek sculpture are beautiful because their physical shape perfectly embodies their spiritual freedom and is not marred by marks of physical frailty or dependence. These heroes are not allegorical representations of abstract virtues, but are living human beings with imagination, character and free will; but what moves them is a passion for an aspect of our ethical life , an aspect that is supported and promoted by a god.
This distinction between pure beauty, found in Greek sculpture, and the more concrete beauty found in Greek drama means that ideal beauty actually takes two subtly different forms. Beauty takes these different forms because pure sculptural beauty—though it is the pinnacle of art's achievement—has a certain abstractness about it. Beauty is the sensuous expression of freedom and so must exhibit the concreteness, animation and humanity that are missing, for example, in Egyptian sculpture.
Yet since pure beauty, as exemplified by Greek sculpture, is spiritual freedom immersed in spatial , bodily shape, it lacks the more concrete dynamism of action in time , action that is animated by imagination and language. If art's role is to give sensuous expression to true freedom , however, it must move beyond abstraction towards concreteness. This means that it must move beyond pure beauty to the more concrete and genuinely human beauty of drama.
Hegel also acknowledges that art can, indeed must, both fall short of and go beyond such ideal beauty. It falls short of ideal beauty when it takes the form of symbolic art, and it goes beyond such beauty when it takes the form of romantic art. The form of art that is characterized by works of ideal beauty itself is classical art. The development of art from one form to another generates what Hegel regards as the distinctive history of art. What produces these three art-forms is the changing relation between the content of art—the Idea as spirit—and its mode of presentation.
The changes in this relation are in turn determined by the way in which the content of art is itself conceived. In symbolic art the content is conceived abstractly, such that it is not able to manifest itself adequately in a sensuous, visible form. In classical art, by contrast, the content is conceived in such a way that it is able to find perfect expression in sensuous, visible form.
In romantic art, the content is conceived in such a way that it is able to find adequate expression in sensuous, visible form and yet also ultimately transcends the realm of the sensuous and visible. Symbolic art, by contrast, falls short of genuine beauty altogether. This does not mean that it is simply bad art: Hegel recognizes that symbolic art is often the product of the highest level of artistry. Symbolic art falls short of beauty because it does not yet have a rich enough understanding of the nature of divine and human spirit.
Hegel's account of symbolic art encompasses the art of many different civilizations and shows his considerable understanding of, and appreciation for, non-Western art. Not all of the types of symbolic art Hegel discusses, however, are fully and properly symbolic. So what connects them all?
Art proper, for Hegel, is the sensuous expression or manifestation of free spirit in a medium such as metal, stone or color that has been deliberately shaped or worked by human beings into the expression of freedom. This is either because it is the product of a spirit that does not yet understand itself to be truly free , or because it is the product of a spirit that does have a sense of its own freedom but does not yet understand such freedom to involve the manifestation of itself in a sensuous medium that has been specifically shaped to that end.
He says nothing, for example, about prehistoric art such as cave painting , nor does he discuss Chinese art or Buddhist art even though he discusses both Chinese religion and Buddhism in his lectures on the philosophy of religion. Hegel's aim in his account of symbolic art is to examine the various kinds of art that are made necessary by the very concept of art itself, the stages through which art has to pass on its journey from pre-art to art proper.
The first stage is that in which spirit is conceived as being in an immediate unity with nature. This stage is encountered in the ancient Persian religion of Zoroastrianism. The Zoroastrians, Hegel claims, believe in a divine power—the Good—but they identify this divinity with an aspect of nature itself, namely with light. Light does not symbolize or point to a separate God or Good; rather, in Zoroastrianism as Hegel understands it light is the Good, is God Aesthetics , 1: Light is thus the substance in all things and that which gives life to all plants and animals.
This light, Hegel tells us, is personified as Ormuzd or Ahura Mazda. Unlike the God of the Jews, however, Ormuzd is not a free, self-conscious subject. He or it is the Good in the form of light itself, and so is present in all sources of light, such as the sun, stars and fire. In Hegel's view, it does not do so for two reasons: on the one hand, the Good is not understood to be free spirit that is distinct from, but manifests itself in, the light; on the other hand, the sensuous element in which the Good is present—the light itself—is understood not to be something shaped or produced by free spirit for the purpose of its self-expression, but simply to be a given feature of nature with which the Good is immediately identical.
This vision, however, does not constitute a work of art , even though it finds expression in well-crafted prayers and utterances. The second stage in the development of pre-art is that in which there is an immediate difference between spirit and nature. This is found, in Hegel's view, in Hindu art. The difference between the spiritual and the natural means that the spiritual—i. On the other hand, Hegel claims, the divine in Hinduism is conceived in such an abstract and indeterminate way that it acquires determinate form only in and through something immediately sensuous, external and natural.
The divine is thus understood to be present in the very form of something sensuous and natural.
Hindu art marks the difference between the spiritual or divine and the merely natural by extending, exaggerating and distorting the natural forms in which the divine is imagined to be present. The divine is portrayed not in the purely natural form of an animal or human being, therefore, but in the unnaturally distorted form of an animal or human being.
Shiva is portrayed with many arms, for example, and Brahma with four faces. Hindu divinity is inseparable from natural forms, but it indicates its distinctive presence by the unnaturalness of the natural forms it adopts. Hegel's judgment on Hindu art does not mean, by the way, that he finds no merit at all in such art. This is the province of ancient Egyptian art.
Spirit, as Hegel understands it in his philosophy of subjective and objective spirit , is the activity of externalizing and expressing itself in images, words, actions and institutions. Egyptian art, however, is only symbolic art, not art in its full sense. This is because the created shapes and images of Egyptian art do not give direct, adequate expression to spirit, but merely point to , or symbolize, an interiority that remains hidden from view.
Indeed, the realm of spirit is understood by the Egyptians to a large degree as the simple negation of the realm of nature and life. That is to say, it is understood above all as the realm of the dead. The fact that death is the principal realm in which the independence of the soul is preserved explains why the doctrine of the immortality of the soul is so important to the Egyptians. It also explains why Hegel sees the pyramid as the image that epitomizes Egyptian symbolic art. The pyramid is a created shape that hides within it something separate from it, namely a dead body.
It thus serves as the perfect image of Egyptian symbols which point to, but do not themselves reveal and express, a realm of interiority that is independent but still lacks the freedom and life of genuine spirit Aesthetics , 1: For Hegel, Greek art contains symbolic elements such as the eagle to symbolize the power of Zeus , but the core of Greek art is not the symbol.
Egyptian art, by contrast, is symbolic through and through. Indeed, Egyptian consciousness as a whole, in Hegel's view, is essentially symbolic. Animals, for example, are regarded as symbols or masks of something deeper, and so animal faces are often used as masks by amongst others, embalmers. As noted above, the pyramid epitomizes the symbolic art of the Egyptians.
Such art, however, does not just point symbolically to the realm of the dead; it also bears witness to an incipient but still undeveloped awareness that true inwardness is found in the living human spirit. It does so, Hegel maintains, by showing the human spirit struggling to emerge from the animal. The image that best depicts this emergence is, of course, that of the sphinx which has the body of a lion and the head of a human being.
The human form is also mixed with that of animals in images of gods, such as Horus who has a human body and a falcon's head. Such images, however, do not constitute art in the full sense because they fail to give adequate expression to free spirit in the form of the fully human being. They are mere symbols that partially disclose an interiority whose true character remains hidden from view and mysterious even to the Egyptians themselves. Even when the human form is depicted in Egyptian art without adulteration, it is still not animated by a genuinely free and living spirit and so does not become the shape of freedom itself.
Nonetheless, for all its merits, Egyptian art does not give shape to real freedom and life and so fails to fulfill the true purpose of art. This stage is in turn sub-divided into three. The first sub-division comprises sublime art: the poetic art of the Jewish people. In Judaism, Hegel maintains, spirit is understood to be fully free and independent. This freedom and independence is, however, attributed to the divine rather than the human spirit.
Judaic spirituality, in Hegel's view, is not capable of producing works of true beauty because the Jewish God transcends the world of nature and finitude and cannot manifest itself in that world and be given visible shape in it. Jewish poetry the Psalms gives expression, rather, to the sublimity of God by praising and exalting Him as the source of all things. In such pantheism, God is also understood to stand sublimely above and apart from the realm of the finite and natural, but his relation to that realm is held to be affirmative , rather than negative.
This in turn determines the relation that the poet has to objects. For the poet, too, is free and independent of things, but also has an affirmative relation to them. That is to say, he feels an identity with things and sees his own untroubled freedom reflected in them. The pantheistic spirit remains, however, free within itself in distinction from and in relation to natural objects; it does not create shapes of its own—such as the idealized figures of the Greek gods—in which its freedom comes directly into view.
The third sub-division of the fourth stage of pre-art is that in which there is the clearest break between spirit and the realm of the natural or sensuous. At this stage, the spiritual aspect—that which is inner and, as it were, invisible—takes the form of something quite separate and distinct. It is also something finite and limited: an idea or meaning entertained by human beings. The sensuous element is in turn something separate and distinct from the meaning.
This occurs, Hegel maintains, in fables, parables, allegories, metaphors and similes. This third sub-division is not associated with any particular civilization, but is a form of expression that is found in many different ones. Hegel contends, however, that allegory, metaphor and simile do not constitute the core of truly beautiful art, because they do not present us with the very freedom of spirit itself, but point to and so symbolize a meaning that is separate and independent. Hegel's account is not meant to be strictly historical, but rather to place the various forms of pre-art discussed in a logical relation to one another.
This relation is determined by the degree to which, in each form of pre-art, spirit and nature or the sensuous are differentiated from one another. To recapitulate: in Zoroastrianism, spirit and nature are in immediate identity with one another as the Light. In Hindu art, there is an immediate difference between the spiritual the divine and nature, but the spiritual remains abstract and indeterminate in itself and so can be brought to mind only through images of natural things unnaturally distorted.
In Egyptian art, the spiritual is again different from the realm of the merely natural and sensuous. In contrast to the indeterminate divinity of the Hindus, however, Egyptian spirituality in the form of the gods and of the human soul is fixed, separate and determinate in itself. The images of Egyptian art thus point symbolically to a realm of spirit that remains hidden from direct view. The spirit to which such symbolic images point, however, lacks genuine freedom and life and is often identified with the realm of the dead. The poet's relation to things is, accordingly, one in which his own free spirit finds itself reflected in the natural things around him.
Furthermore, each is finite and limited. This is the realm of allegory and metaphor. Hegel does not deny the magnificence or elegance of pre-art, but he maintains that it falls short of art proper. The latter is found in classical art, or the art of the ancient Greeks. Classical art, Hegel contends, fulfills the concept of art in that it is the perfect sensuous expression of the freedom of spirit.
It is in classical art, therefore—above all in ancient Greek sculpture and drama —that true beauty is to be found. Such beauty consists in the perfect fusion of the spiritual and the sensuous or natural. In true beauty the visible shape before us does not merely intimate the presence of the divine through the unnatural distortion of its form, nor does it point beyond itself to a hidden spirituality or to divine transcendence. Rather, the shape manifests and embodies free spirituality in its very contours.
In true beauty, therefore, the visible shape is not a symbol of, or metaphor for, a meaning that lies beyond the shape, but is the expression of spirit's freedom that brings that freedom directly into view. Beauty is sensuous, visible shape so transformed that it stands as the visible embodiment of freedom itself. In Hegel's view, however, the distinctive core of Greek art consists in works of ideal beauty in which the freedom of spirit is made visible for the first time in history.
Three conditions had to be met for such beautiful art to be produced. First, the divine had to be understood to be freely self-determining spirit, to be divine subjectivity not just an abstract power such as the Light. Second, the divine had to be understood to take the form of individuals who could be portrayed in sculpture and drama. The divine had to be conceived, in other words, not as sublimely transcendent, but as spirituality that is embodied in many different ways. The beauty of Greek art thus presupposed Greek polytheism. Third, the proper shape of free spirit had to be recognized to be the human body, not that of an animal.
Hindu and Egyptian gods were often portrayed as a fusion of human and animal forms; by contrast, the principal Greek gods were depicted in ideal human form. Not only do Greek art and beauty presuppose Greek religion and mythology, but Greek religion itself requires art in order to give a determinate identity to the gods. Although Greek sculpture and drama achieved unsurpassed heights of beauty, such art did not give expression to the deepest freedom of the spirit.
This is because of a deficiency in the Greek conception of divine and human freedom. Greek religion was so well suited to aesthetic expression because the gods were conceived as free individuals who were wholly at one with their bodies and their sensuous life. In Hegel's view, however, a deeper freedom is attained when the spirit withdraws into itself out of nature and becomes pure self-knowing interiority.
Such an understanding of spirit is expressed, according to Hegel, in Christianity. The Christian God is thus pure self-knowing spirit and love who created human beings so that they, too, may become such pure spirit and love. With the emergence of Christianity comes a new form of art: romantic art. Romantic art, like classical art, is the sensuous expression or manifestation of the freedom of spirit.
It is thus capable of genuine beauty. The freedom it manifests, however, is a profoundly inward freedom that finds its highest expression and articulation not in art itself but in religious faith and philosophy. Unlike classical art, therefore, romantic art gives expression to a freedom of the spirit whose true home lies beyond art.
If classical art can be compared to the human body which is thoroughly suffused with spirit and life, romantic art can be compared to the human face which discloses the spirit and personality within. Since romantic art actually discloses the inner spirit, however, rather than merely pointing to it, it differs from symbolic art which it otherwise resembles.
Romantic art, for Hegel, takes three basic forms. The first is that of explicitly religious art. It is in Christianity, Hegel contends, that the true nature of spirit is revealed. Much religious romantic art, therefore, focuses on the suffering and death of Christ. Hegel notes that it is not appropriate in romantic art to depict Christ with the idealized body of a Greek god or hero, because what is central to Christ is his irreducible humanity and mortality.
Romantic art, therefore, breaks with the classical ideal of beauty and incorporates real human frailty, pain and suffering into its images of Christ and also of religious martyrs. Strictly speaking, such spiritual beauty is not as consummately beautiful as classical beauty, in which the spirit and the body are perfectly fused with one another. Spiritual beauty, however, is the product of, and reveals, a much more profound inner freedom of spirit than classical beauty and so moves and engages us much more readily than do the relatively cold statues of Greek gods.
The most profound spiritual beauty in the visual arts is found, in Hegel's view, in painted images of the Madonna and Child, for in these what is expressed is the feeling of boundless love. These are not the ethical virtues displayed by the heroes and heroines of Greek tragedy: they do not involve a commitment to the necessary institutions of freedom, such as the family or the state. Rather, they are the formal virtues of the romantic hero: that is to say, they involve a commitment by the free individual to an object or person determined by the individual's contingent choice or passion.
They can, however, also crop up in more modern works and, indeed, are precisely the virtues displayed in an art-form of which Hegel could know nothing, namely the American Western. The third fundamental form of romantic art depicts the formal freedom and independence of character.
This is freedom in its modern, secular form. Note that what interests us about such individuals is not any moral purpose that they may have, but simply the energy and self-determination and often ruthlessness that they exhibit. Such characters must have an internal richness revealed through imagination and language and not just be one-dimensional, but their main appeal is their formal freedom to commit themselves to a course of action, even at the cost of their own lives.
These characters do not constitute moral or political ideals, but they are the appropriate objects of modern, romantic art whose task is to depict freedom even in its most secular and amoral forms. Hegel also sees romantic beauty in more inwardly sensitive characters, such as Shakespeare's Juliet. After meeting Romeo, Hegel remarks, Juliet suddenly opens up with love like a rosebud, full of childlike naivety. Her beauty thus lies in being the embodiment of love.
One should note that the development of romantic art, as Hegel describes it, involves the increasing secularization and humanization of art. In the Middle Ages and the Renaissance as in ancient Greece art was closely tied to religion: art's function was to a large degree to make the divine visible. With the Reformation, however, religion turned inward and found God to be present in faith alone , not in the icons and images of art.
Furthermore, art itself was released from its close ties to religion and allowed to become fully secular. It is for this reason, in Hegel's view, that art in the modern age no longer meets our highest needs and no longer affords us the satisfaction that it gave to earlier cultures and civilizations. Art satisfied our highest needs when it formed an integral part of our religious life and revealed to us the nature of the divine and, as in Greece, the true character of our fundamental ethical obligations.
In the modern, post-Reformation world, however, art has been released or has emancipated itself from subservience to religion. This does not mean that art now has no role to play and that it provides no satisfaction at all. Indeed, the considerable importance we assign to philosophy is evident, in Hegel's view, in the prominence of the philosophical study of art itself in modernity [ Aesthetics , 1: 11; VPK , 6].
Yet art in modernity continues to perform the significant function of giving visible and audible expression to our distinctively human freedom and to our understanding of ourselves in all our finite humanity. His view is, rather, that art plays or at least should play a more limited role now than it did in ancient Greece or in the Middle Ages.
Yet Hegel does think that art in modernity comes to an end in a certain respect. In Hegel's view, much painting and poetry after the Reformation focuses its attention on the prosaic details of ordinary daily life, rather than on the intimacy of religious love or the magnificent resolve and energy of tragic heroes. His view is that such works count as genuine works of art only when they do more than merely imitate nature. The naturalistic and prosaic works that best meet this criterion, he maintains, are the paintings of the sixteenth- and seventeenth-century Dutch masters.
In such works, Hegel claims, the painter does not aim simply to show us what grapes, flowers or trees look like: we know that already from nature. Often, indeed, the painter seeks to delight us specifically with the animated play of the colors of gold, silver, velvet or fur. A genuine work of art is the sensuous expression of divine or human freedom and life. Paintings that are no more than prosaic, naturalistic depictions of everyday objects or human activity would thus appear to fall short of genuine art.
The paintings of such artists may lack the classical beauty of Greek art, but they exhibit magnificently the subtle beauties and delights of everyday modern life. A much more overt expression of subjectivity is found by Hegel in works of modern humor. In this respect, Hegel does after all proclaim that art comes to an end in modernity. As was noted above, however, this does not mean that art as a whole comes to an end in the early nineteenth century.
For Hegel, the distinctive character of genuine art in contemporary and future modernity—and thus of genuinely modern art—is twofold. On the one hand, it remains bound to give expression to concrete human life and freedom; on the other hand, it is no longer restricted to any of the three art-forms. That is to say, it does not have to observe the proprieties of classical art or explore the intense emotional inwardness or heroic freedom or comfortable ordinariness that we find in romantic art. Modern art, for Hegel, can draw on features of any of the art-forms including symbolic art in its presentation of human life.
Indeed, it can also present human life and freedom indirectly through the depiction of nature. The focus of modern art, therefore, does not have to be on one particular conception of human freedom rather than another. For this reason, there is little that Hegel can say about the path that art should take in the future; that is for artists to decide. Hegel's judgment that modern artists are—and are quite rightly—free to adopt whatever style they please has surely been confirmed by the history of art since Hegel's death in There is reason to suspect, however, that Hegel might not have welcomed many of the developments in post-Hegelian art.
This is due to the fact that, although he does not lay down any rules that are to govern modern art, he does identify certain conditions that should be met if modern art is to be genuine art. These may appear to be fairly innocuous conditions, but they suggest that certain post-Hegelian art works would not count in Hegel's eyes as genuine works of art. Robert Pippin takes a different view on this last point; see Pippin From a twentieth- or twenty-first-century point of view, Hegel's stance may well look conservative.
From his point of view, however, he was trying to understand what conditions would have to be met for works of art to be genuine works of art and genuinely modern. The conditions that Hegel identified—namely that art should present the richness of human freedom and life and should allow us to feel at home in its depictions—are ones that many modern artists for example, Impressionists such as Monet, Sisley and Pissarro have felt no trouble in meeting. For others, these conditions are simply too restrictive.
They have thus taken modern art in a direction in which, from a Hegelian perspective, it has ceased to be art in the true sense any longer. Art, in Hegel's account, not only undergoes a historical development from symbolic art through classical art to romantic and then modern art , but also differentiates itself into different arts. Each art has a distinctive character and exhibits a certain affinity with one or more of the art-forms.
Hegel does not provide an exhaustive account of all recognized arts he says little, for example, about dance and nothing, obviously, about cinema , but he examines the five arts that he thinks are made necessary by the very concept of art itself. Art, we recall, is the sensuous expression of divine and human freedom. If it is to demonstrate that spirit is indeed free, it must show that spirit is free in relation to that which is itself unfree, spiritless and lifeless—that is, three-dimensional, inorganic matter, weighed down by gravity.
The art that gives heavy matter the explicit form of spiritual freedom—and so works stone and metal into the shape of a human being or a god—is sculpture. Architecture, by contrast, gives matter an abstract, inorganic form created by human understanding. In so doing architecture turns matter not into the direct sensuous expression of spiritual freedom, but into an artificially and artfully shaped surrounding for the direct expression of spiritual freedom in sculpture. The art of architecture fulfills its purpose, therefore, when it creates classical temples to house statues of the gods VPK , The constructions that fall into this category do not house or surround individual sculptures, like classical Greek temples, but are themselves partly sculptural and partly architectural.
They are works of architectural sculpture or sculptural architecture. Such constructions are sculptural in so far as they are built for their own sake and do not serve to shelter or enclose something else. They are works of architecture, however, in so far as they are overtly heavy and massive and lack the animation of sculpture. They are also sometimes arranged in rows, like columns, with no distinctive individuality. In Hegel's view, however, all such constructions have a symbolic significance for those who built them. They were not built simply to provide shelter or security for people like a house or a castle , but are works of symbolic art.
Since they house within themselves something other than themselves, pyramids, in Hegel's view, are, as it were, on the way to being properly architectural. Pyramids thus remain works of symbolic art that point to a hidden meaning buried within them.
Indeed, as was noted above, Hegel claims that the pyramid is the image or symbol of symbolic art itself Aesthetics , 1: The epitome of symbolic art is symbolic architecture specifically, the pyramids. Architecture itself, however, comes into its own only with the emergence of classical art: for it is only in the classical period that architecture provides the surrounding for, and so becomes the servant of, a sculpture that is itself the embodiment of free spirit.
Hegel has much to say about the proper form of such a surrounding. The main point is this: spiritual freedom is embodied in the sculpture of the god; the house of the god—the temple—is something quite distinct from, and subordinate to, the sculpture it surrounds; the form of that temple should thus also be quite distinct from that of the sculpture.
The temple, therefore, should not mimic the flowing contours of the human body, but should be governed by the abstract principles of regularity, symmetry and harmony. Hegel also insists that the form of the temple should be determined by the purpose it serves: namely to provide an enclosure and protection for the god VPK , This means that the basic shape of the temple should contain only those features that are needed to fulfill its purpose.
Furthermore, it means in Hegel's view that each part of the temple should perform a specific function within the economy of the whole building and that different functions should not be confused with one another. It is this latter requirement that makes columns necessary. There is a difference, for Hegel, between the task of bearing the roof and that of enclosing the statue within a given space. The second task—that of enclosure—is performed by a wall.
If the first task is to be clearly distinguished from the second, therefore, it must be performed not by a wall but by a separate feature of the temple. Columns are necessary in a classical temple, according to Hegel, because they perform the distinct task of bearing the roof without forming a wall. The classical temple is thus the most intelligible of buildings because different functions are carried out in this way by different architectural features and yet are harmonized with one another. Herein, indeed, lies the beauty of such a temple VPK , , In the Gothic cathedral columns are located within, rather than around the outside of, the enclosed space, and their overt function is no longer merely to bear weight but to draw the soul up into the heavens.
Consequently, the columns or pillars do not come to a definite end in a capital on which rests the architrave of the classical temple , but continue up until they meet to form a pointed arch or a vaulted roof. Hegel considers a relatively small range of buildings: he says almost nothing, for example, about secular buildings.
One should bear in mind, however, that he is interested in architecture only in so far as it is an art, not in so far as it provides us with protection and security in our everyday lives. Yet it should also be noted that architecture, as Hegel describes it, falls short of genuine art, as he defines it, since it is never the direct sensuous expression of spiritual freedom itself in the manner of sculpture see Aesthetics , 2: In no case is architecture the explicit manifestation or embodiment of free spirituality itself. This does not, however, make architecture any less necessary as a part of our aesthetic and religious life.
In contrast to architecture, sculpture works heavy matter into the concrete expression of spiritual freedom by giving it the shape of the human being. The high point of sculpture, for Hegel, was achieved in classical Greece. In Egyptian sculpture the figures often stand firm with one foot placed before the other and the arms held tightly by the side of the body, giving the figures a rather rigid, lifeless appearance.
By contrast, the idealized statues of the gods created by Greek sculptors, such as Phidias and Praxiteles, are clearly alive and animated, even when the gods are depicted at rest. This animation is apparent in the posture of the figure, in the nuanced contours of the body and also in the free fall of the figure's garments. Indeed, Greek sculpture, according to Hegel, embodies the purest beauty of which art itself is capable.
For a more detailed study of Hegel's account of sculpture, see Houlgate , 56— Hegel was well aware that Greek statues were often painted in quite a gaudy manner. He claims, however, that sculpture expresses spiritual freedom and vitality in the three-dimensional shape of the figure, rather than in the color that has been applied to it. In painting, by contrast, it is color above all that is the medium of expression.
The point of painting, for Hegel, is not to show us what it is for free spirit to be fully embodied. It is to show us only what free spirit looks like , how it manifests itself to the eye. The images of painting thus lack the three-dimensionality of sculpture, but they add the detail and specificity provided by color.
This is because the absence of bodily solidity and the presence of color allow the more inward spirituality of the Christian world to manifest itself as such. Painting, however, is also able—unlike sculpture—to set divine and human spirit in relation to its external environment: it is able to include within the painted image itself the natural landscape and the architecture by which Christ, the Virgin Mary, the saints or secular figures are surrounded Aesthetics , 2: Indeed, Hegel argues that painting—in contrast to sculpture, which excels in presenting independent, free-standing individuals—is altogether more suited to showing human beings in their relations both to their environment and to one another: hence the prominence in painting of, for example, depictions of the love between the Virgin Mary and the Christ child.
Hegel's account of painting is extraordinarily rich and wide-ranging. It, too, comes into its own in the period of romantic art. Like sculpture and painting, but unlike architecture, music gives direct expression to free subjectivity. Yet music goes even further in the direction of expressing the inwardness of subjectivity by dropping the dimensions of space altogether.
It thus gives no enduring visual expression to such subjectivity, but expresses the latter in the organized succession of vanishing sounds.
Music is thus not just a sequence of sounds for its own sake, but is the structured expression in sounds of inner subjectivity. Through rhythm, harmony and melody music allows the soul to hear its own inner movement and to be moved in turn by what it hears. Music expresses, and allows us to hear and enjoy, the movement of the soul in time through difference and dissonance back into its unity with itself. It also expresses, and moves us to, various different feelings , such as love, longing and joy Aesthetics , 2: In Hegel's view, however, the purpose of music is not only to arouse feelings in us, but—as in all genuine art —to enable us to enjoy a sense of reconciliation and satisfaction in what we encounter.
Hegel notes that music is able to express feelings with especial clarity when it is accompanied by a poetic text, and he had a particular love of both church music and opera. Interestingly, however, he argues that in such cases it is really the text that serves the music, rather than the other way around, for it is the music above all that expresses the profound movements of the soul Aesthetics , 2: Over and above this expression, however, independent music pursues the purely formal development of themes and harmonies for its own sake.
This, in Hegel's view, is a perfectly appropriate, indeed necessary, thing for music to do. The danger he sees, however, is that such formal development can become completely detached from the musical expression of inward feeling and subjectivity, and that, as a result, music can cease being a genuine art and become mere artistry.