Nietzsche and Art
By Anthony M. Ludovici 13 Nov, 2018
FROM THE PREFACE......"We philosophers are never more delighted than when we are taken for artists."[1] In this book, which embodies a course of lectures delivered in a somewhat condensed and summarized form at University College, London, during N ... Read more
FROM THE PREFACE......"We philosophers are never more delighted than when we are taken for artists."[1] In this book, which embodies a course of lectures delivered in a somewhat condensed and summarized form at University College, London, during November and December, 1910, I have done two things. I have propounded Nietzsche's general Art doctrine, and, with the view of illustrating it and of defining it further, I have also applied its leading principles to one of the main branches of Art. As this has not been done before, either in English or in any Continental language, my book is certainly not free from the crudeness and inadvertences which are inseparable from pioneer efforts of this nature. Nevertheless it is with complete confidence, and a deep conviction of its necessity, that I now see it go to print; for, even if here and there its adventurous spirit may ultimately require modification, I feel certain that, in the main, time itself, together with the help of other writers, will fully confirm its general thesis, if I should be unable to do so. Sooner or later it will be brought home to us in Europe that we cannot with impunity foster and cultivate vulgarity and mob qualities in our architecture, our sculpture, our painting, our music and literature, without paying very dearly for these luxuries in our respective national politics, in our family institutions, and even in our physique. To connect all these things together, and to show their inevitable interdependence, would be a perfectly possible though arduous undertaking. In any case, this is not quite the task I have set myself in this work. I have indeed shown that to bestow admiration on a work of extreme democratic painting and at the same time to be convinced of the value of an aristocratic order of society, is to be guilty of a confusion of ideas which ultimately can lead only to disastrous results in practical life; but further than this I have not gone, simply because the compass of these lectures did not permit of my so doing. Confining myself strictly to Nietzsche's æsthetic, I have been content merely to show that the highest Art, or Ruler Art, and therefore the highest beauty,—in which culture is opposed to natural rudeness, selection to natural chaos, and simplicity to natural complexity,—can be the flower and product only of an aristocratic society which, in its traditions and its active life, has observed, and continues to observe, the three aristocratic principles,—culture, selection and simplicity. Following Nietzsche closely, I have sought to demonstrate the difference between the art which comes of inner poverty (realism, or democratic art), and that which is the result of inner riches (Ruler Art). Identifying the first with the reflex actions which respond to external stimuli, I have shown it to be slavishly dependent upon environment for its existence, and, on that account, either beneath reality (Incompetence), on a level with reality (Realism), or fantastically different from reality (Romanticism). I have, moreover, associated these three forms of inferior art with democracy, because in democracy I find three conditions which are conducive to their cultivation, viz.—(1) The right of self-assertion granted to everybody, and the consequent necessary deterioration of world-interpretations owing to the fact that the function of interpretation is claimed by mediocrity; (2) the belief in a general truth that can be made common to all, which seems to become prevalent in democratic times, and which perforce reduces us to the only truth that can be made common to all, namely Reality; and (3) a democratic dislike of recognizing the mark or stamp of any particular human power in the things interpreted, and man's consequent "return to Nature" untouched by man, which, once again, is Reality. Identifying Ruler Art, or the Art of inner riches, with the function of giving, I have shown it to be dependent upon four conditions which are quite inseparable from an aristocratic society, and which I therefore associate, without any hesitation, as Nietzsche does, with Higher Man, with Nature's rare and lucky strokes among men. These conditions are —(1) Long tradition under the sway of noble and inviolable values, resulting in an accumulation of will power and a superabundance of good spirits; (2) leisure which allows of meditation, and therefore of that process of lowering pitchers into the wells of inner riches; (3) the disbelief in freedom for freedom's sake without a purpose or without an aim; and (4) an order of rank according to which each is given a place in keeping with his value, and authority and reverence are upheld. Less
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  • Public Domain Books
  • 2019-02-26
  • English
  • 9781546559436
Anthony Mario Ludovici MBE (8 January 1882 – 3 April 1971) was a British philosopher, sociologist, social critic and polyglot. He is best known as a proponent of aristocracy, and in the early 20th c...
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