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Tolstoy's Philosophy of Art.

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Chrystal Fortugno January 10, 2004 Prof. Bunch Philosophy of Art Tolstoy's Philosophy of Art Tolstoy approaches art with a very specific and narrow view of what is real and what is counterfeit in classifying artwork and what makes a work of art good or bad. Tolstoy believes that a work of art can be classified as "real" if and only if "one man consciously by means of certain external signs, hands on to others feelings he has lived through, and that others are infected by these feelings and also experience them" (10). He believes that art can only be defined as real by its ability to make the audience feel what the artist had intended to convey with his/her artwork. ...read more.


Tolstoy claims that any piece of art, no matter how beautiful, intriguing, interesting, poetic, striking, or realistic cannot be defined as real unless it also maintains this quality of infectiousness. After defining the difference between real and counterfeit art, Tolstoy goes on to relay the difference between what classifies good and bad art. Tolstoy claims that good art is found in two categories. The first one is "religious art - transmitting both positive feelings of love of God and one's neighbor..." and the second one is "good universal art" which is so "free from superfluous detail that the story may be told to any circle and will be equally comprehensible and touching to everyone" (519). ...read more.


Bull's Head by Picasso is a representation based on resemblance, therefore an imitation and could be considered counterfeit. The "Idol from Amorgos" would be considered by Tolstoy to be a form of idolatry, therefore not good Christian art. The Black Quadrilateral by Kazimir Malevich would more than likely be defined by Tolstoy as counterfeit because it doesn't seem to express or transmit an expression of a feeling that the artist intended to convey. The statue of David by Donatello would more than likely be defined as counterfeit by Tolstoy because of what may be some type of political meaning. Anything ecclesiastical or patriotic is not good art in Tolstoy's opinion as well. It seems to me that Tolstoy would probably classify a good majority of what the world considers to be good art today as counterfeit and would certainly label most of it as bad. ...read more.

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