1902 Encyclopedia > Aesthetics > Theodor Vischer on Aesthetics

(Part 17)


Theodor Vischer

Theodor Vischer, the last of the Hegelians named here, has produced the largest and most laborious system of metaphysical aesthetic, and a brief account of its scope must be given to complete our history of the German systems.

He defines aesthetics as the science of the Beautiful. His system falls into three parts: (1.) Metaphysic of the Beautiful; (2.) The Beautiful as one-sided existence –beauty of nature and the human imagination; (3.) The subjective-objective actuality of the Beautiful -- Art.

The metaphysic again falls into two parts -- the theory of simple beauty, and that of the Beautiful in the resistance of its moments (the Sublime and Ridiculous). He defines the Beautiful as "the idea in the form of limited appearance."

His discussions of the various beauties of nature the organic world, are very full and suggestive, and his elaboration of the principles of art (excepting those of music, which he left another to elucidate) is marked by a wide and accurate knowledge. He divides the arts into -- (1.) The objective, or eye arts (architecture, sculpture, and painting); (2.) Subjective, or ear arts (music); (3.) Subjective-objective arts, or those of sensuous conception (poetry). He subdivides the first into those of measuring sight (architecture), touching sight (sculpture), and sight proper (painting). Vischer’s style is very laboured. His propositions fall into the form of mathematical theorems, and are made exceedingly incomprehensible by the excessive subtleties of his metaphysical nomenclature.

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