I only want to point that artists in the 20th century weren’t so lonely or unique in their art conceptualized. Many artists (and few really genius) preceded Giorgio de Chirico, René Magritte or Joseph Kosuth in elaborating art as language, art pieces as formal sentences, depicted as the battle between signification and denotate.

Core treatise in this respect is “Oráculo manual y arte de prudencia” (1647) by Spaniard Baltasar Gracián. There are many translations of this book in English (http://www.sacred-texts.com/eso/aww/ , http://lachlan.bluehaze.com.au/books/gracian_translations.html , and one in Russian http://bookz.ru/authors/bal_tasar-grasian/karmanni_605/1-karmanni_605.html ). “The Art of Worldly Wisdom” (by Joseph Jacobs, 1892) [“Остроумие, или искусство изощренного ума” Пер. Е. Лысенко] is a baroque book about correlations in the physical and mental worlds, about unpredictable links between things that at first sight you can’t entwine. Latin “virtus” (then English “virtue” and Italian “virtuoso”) was the category of Renaissance aesthetics that was inherited by further epochs, one of it’s definition in baroque was a courage to see something common in dissimilar objects and to build resemblance upon feature that only you could see. Wit, discretion, discernment, sagacity, perspicacity, acumen and insight became one of the most valuable qualities in the human in general and in artist in particular (and vice versa). One of significant examples of such wit displayed Italian painter Arcimboldo, later, French Roland Barthes displayed his wit by interpretation of the wit of the first one (http://books.google.ru/books?id=9YgxAQAAIAAJ&q=roland+barthes+arcimboldo&dq=roland+barthes+arcimboldo&source=bl&ots=iKadDpAS9Q&sig=AC2bLV_lceMVU-Y3hfsadvJAz3Y&hl=ru&sa=X&ei=BXJyUJvQJsvT4QTw8oGABA&ved=0CDUQ6AEwAQ ).

Baltasar Gracián was highly apprised by Daniel Defoe, Arthur Schopenhauer, Friedrich Nietzsche, existentialists, psychoanalysts and many others.

by Dinara

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