[On Jean Phillipe Rameau.]



Proteus Ashmole

Jean Phillipe Rameau (1683-1764) wrote music that had the clean lines of early Classicism as well as the flowery ornamentation of the late Baroque period: one need only listen to his ballet suites to hear Classical lines overlaid with the perfect amount of embellishment.  In this sense, Rameau’s music was both brackish and beautiful.

What Do Bananas Have To Do With Aesthetics? Segment 2

pretty girl in vintage style. pinup girl with fashion hair. banana dieting. pin up woman with trendy makeup. retro woman eating banana. feeling flirty


Proteus Ashmole

[Study, Study, Study.]

Unless one studies and reads widely, he or she will never truly know Art.  The verb “know” is particularly important here because it has multiple senses; “Know” as I here use it means to fully experience and understand a work of Art as an entity.  So move freely, widely, and eagerly among the offerings of the art world, be they literature, dance, drama, music, painting, sculpture, furniture design, or architecture.  To experience is to know.

[Love What You Love.]

Here is some pragmatic advice: allow yourself to love what you love.  If you think the music of Dmitri Shostakovich ugly, so be it.  But thinking his music ugly does not preclude the fact that he made a major contribution to Twentieth-Century musical form.  One need not care for a work of Art to acknowledge its place in the art world.  For Art can only exist within context.  That context is usually cultural.  Shostakovich produced music within the political context of the Soviet Union.

It might be helpful, in terms of understanding the significance of context, to introduce two major schools of criticism: New Criticism and New Historical Criticism.  The former arose out of Yale University during the Twentieth Century, its principle proponent being M. H. Abrams.  New Criticism simply asserts that a work stands on its own and requires no external context for one to appreciate or understand it.  New Criticism is most often applied to literature; indeed, it was created to better understand literary texts as self-contained texts.

New Historical Criticism is a revival of Historical Criticism, one that has primarily occurred in the Twenty-First Century.  New Historical Criticism, unlike New Criticism, emphasizes the importance of context; specifically, in order to fully appreciate a work of art—be it a poem, sculpture, or building—one must know something about the creator of that artifact, that person’s beliefs, and when that artifact was created.  Quite obviously, New Historical Criticism has a broader application than does New Criticism.  Both approaches have their merits.  The times usually dictate the popularity of any given approach to the world.  Use these critical theories as you will.  I argue that context is essential, but that is far from fact.

{More to come.}

See Segment One here