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Browning's View of Art, "Andrea del Sarto" and "Fra Lippo Lippi."

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Introduction

Browning's View of Art, "Andrea del Sarto" and "Fra Lippo Lippi." Browning was not half so interested in his age and its problems as Tennyson was, he deliberately chose to keep himself aloof from the conditions of his time. Other than social problems, his attention was captivated by a great variety of things. His interests were neither narrow nor insular, nor he sought to circumscribe his genius by confining his muse to the singing of the social, political and economic conditions of his age. He was interested in a wide variety of subjects and his poetry reveals him as a lover of art, psychology, philosophy, love, crime and a variety of other subjects. Though his basic interest was centered in human beings, the soul and its varied and multifarious phases, his poems like "Andrea del Sarto" and "Fra Lippo Lippi" testify his interest in art and painting. For Browning art is a form of praise, i.e., of religion. Art is for Browning the creation of life by the imitation of life without and within him. "Fra Lippo Lippi" and "Ardea del Sarto" are two substantial companion- pieces, admittedly creative achievements of very high order, great pieces of dramatic characterization. ...read more.

Middle

"Andrea del Sarto", which penetrates perhaps deeper than any other of Browning's poems into the nature of art and the artist and is factually based, like "Fra Lippo Lippi" on Vasarie's "Lives of the Painters." Del Sarto wonders if it may not be possible that the higher vision should co-exist with an inferior degree of artistic skill. He admits that a placid and accomplished art may be a sign of an end too easily reached. He asserts-against Fra Lippo-that beauty must have mind behind it before it can inspire true art. He demonstrates to Lucrzia-tenderly but without flinching-the relation between art and marriage. "Andrea del Sarto" lays down the principle that the soul of the true artist must exceed his technical powers; that in art, as in all else, "a man's reach should exceed his grasp." The poem, though a critical one, is more an expression of feeling; the lament of an artist who has fallen short of his ideal --- of a man who thinks himself the slave of circumstance-of a lover who is sacrificing his moral and in some degree his artistic conscience to a woman who does not return his love. It is the harmonious utterance of a many-sided sadness which has become identified with even the pleasures of the man's life; and is hopeless, because he is resigned to it. ...read more.

Conclusion

[Transcendentalism: Robert Browning] The infinite variety of human personality and of its capacity for experience can never be matched by any creation of man in art. Browning was one of those great poets who took the art and vocation of the poet with great seriousness. He was as much a devoted votary of the muse of poetry as Milton. He did not consider poetry as the product of an idle imagination aimed to offer such literature as should be a substitute for a cigar or a game of dominoes to an idle man. He did not subscribe to the view that the poet was an utopian idealist taking the readers to an unreal world of shadows, dreams and idle visions. Browning held that poetry was closely related to life and its problems. He had no faith in the theory of the "Art for Art's sake"; nor did he subscribe to the views of the pre-Raphealities glorifying art for its own sake. He believed that art was no abstraction, thin, arid and theoretic. It must be pulsating with life. For him, art was for life's sake; and his poems of art, philosophy and religion vindicate his stand that poetry and art should be intimately in touch with reality and life. ...read more.

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