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    3 תגובות   יום חמישי, 28/3/13, 15:39

     

     

    Nietzsche on the Arts

     and a Study in the

    Theory of Proportions

     

     

    By: Arie Ginzburg

    Contents

     

                                                                                                                            page

     

    Preface.......................................................................................................    2

     

    1.    The Apollinian and the Dionysian as Artistic    energies..............................................................................................    3

    2.    Aesthetics, Psychology and Metaphysics.......................................    4

     

    3.    Nietzsche Versus Classical Philosophy on

            Aesthetics...........................................................................................    6

     

    4.    The Development of the Theory of Proportions During

            the Renaissance.................................................................................    8

     

    Conclusion.................................................................................................    11

     

    Bibliographical background.....................................................................    13

     

    Bibliography..............................................................................................    14

     

     

     

    Preface

     

                This Study is constructed of three major parts. The first three chapters deals with Nietzsche's view of the art. In this part I shall discuss the Apollinian and the Dionysian as artistic energies and the distinction between music and the visual arts. I shall also discuss the relations between art and nature through the. contrast between Nietzsche's philosophy and the Socratic philosophy. The second part of this paper will represent the theory and practice of the Renaissance's theory of proportion as it was applied to space. The last part of this paper will contrast the Nietzschian theory of art with the one adopted by the Renaissance through its origins, manners, purposes and its relations with nature.

     

    1. The Apollinian and the Dionysian as Artistic Energies 

                My purpose is to analyze the existence of the Dionysian and the Apollinian in art, according to Nietzsche, to show their representation in the various arts and to trace their origins to psychological drives.

                The Dionysian and the Apollinian are basically artistic drives and the Greek Gods are only symbols and paradigmatic manifestations of these drives. The Apollinian is the drive to individualism, the drive to set boundaries important in Greek ethical concepts of balance, proportionality, right limits and the negative concept of hubris. The drive to individualism shows itself in plastic delineation and in other visual delineations as in dream images: "This joyous necessity of the dream experience has been embodied by the Greeks in their Apollo: Apollo the God of all plastic energies", as is expressed by Nietzsche in "The Birth of Tragedy". The Dionysian is the drive to unity and oneness and its analogy is intoxication. Nietzsche assumes that these dual drives can freely assume different forms within and even across, categories. There are whole arts which, opposite to other arts, are Dionysian or Apollinian. Painting is Apollinian; music, Dionysian. Yet among examples of an art which is primarily Apollinian (like painting) there are examples which are Dionysian or Apollinian (Raphael is Dionysian while Mozart is Apollinian). The Apollinian and the Dionysian are being represented in the two elements of the Greek tragedy: the chorus and the scene. The Dionysian is the source of the chorus as an element of tragedy. The Apollinian is the source of the element of scene, although there can be content in the scene which is Apollinian or Dionysian. The Dionysian is the language of color, mobility and dynamics of speech - the lyrics of the chorus, and the Apollinian is the world of dream.

                Thus far we have considered the Apollinian and 1ts opposite, the Dionysian, as artistic energies, as distinguished by Nietzsche. The consequence is a fundamental distinction between the musical and visual arts, which is later to be transcended by tragedy.

     

    2. Aesthetics, Psychology and Metaphysics

     

     

    I shall discuss here the relationship between Aesthetics, Psychology and Metaphysics, the latter referring to the question of what is art for the truth and for life in general.

                On the psychological level the Dionysiac and the Apolline are creative human impulses. On the aesthetic level, the two terms refer to any artistic or cultural tendencies or manifestations which are the outcome of these impulses. On the metaphysical level they denote the conditions of existence apprehended through the operation of the impulses, or the impulses themselves as universal principles belonging to the timeless cosmos.

                The connection between Nietzsche's aesthetics and his metaphysics is the connection between art and the truth. The most Dionysiac of the arts reveal the truth: music and tragedy in which the truth is symbolized more explicitly. The highest arts are highest because they express the truth most fully and directly. For Nietzsche all art has an element of illusion as they have an Apolline element in them. But while this point of view is not unusual or unpreceded (for Plato too art is illusion, but the truth which art serves to obscure is a glorious, more perfect order of existence) in Nietzsche's universe order is the illusion which art creates: life itself has none. The truth according to Nietzsche is ugly. We have art lest we perish of the truth. Nietzsche's man reacting to the horror of existence, is only allowed three ways out: religion, art, and science. In our case he does that through the use of art as a protecting illusion.

                At this point, the distinction between the Dionysian and the Apolline reappear; in "The Birth of Tragedy" Nietzsche distinguishes between the purposes of art that is Dionysiac and art that is Apolline. All art is in part protective illusion, but Apolline art is nothing but that. Vain is obliterated from the features of nature by means of lies, Beauty triumphs over the suffering inherent in life. The art of music and tragedy on the other hand affirm that pain - the fitful apprehension of truth guarantees human creativity.

                Thus, we have seen that as psychological and aesthetic realities, Dionysiac and Apolline are parallel. On the metaphysical they are not parallel at all. The beautiful for Nietzsche is a lie, an illusion, a veil behind which there is nature, which is cruel, titanic, wild and terrible.


     

    3. Nietzsche versus Classical Philosophy on Aesthetics 

     

     

                To present Nietzsche's aesthetics' versus aesthetic Socratism is important for two reasons. The first being learning about Nietzsche's view of the art through his condemnation of the Socratic view. The second being that the last part of this paper will have some reflection upon art as it is for Aristotle - the imitation of a rational, intelligible world order, a cosmos; nature is the standard for art, in contrast with art as it is for Nietzsche - the imitation of the process of a creative nature that is chaotic.

                For Nietzsche the Greek poets, not to speak of the Greek philosophers, never attained conceptual clarity about the significance of art. In "Poetics" Aristotle characterizes the arts (epic poetry, tragedy, comedy, ithyrambic, most flute and lyre playing) - as modes of imitations. They can be distinguished by differences of kinds of their means, objects and manner of imitation. In "The Birth of Tragedy" Nietzsche refers to Aristotle's concept of art as the imitation of nature and to the effects of tragedy as a catharsis of pity and fear. While Nietzsche assigns great importance to the means and manners of imitation, Aristotle assigns great meaning to the objects of Imitation. By that he is saying that art to some extent can be Judged by its fidelity to objects which can be known independently of art. For Aristotle art is imitation and imitation is natural to man as is his delight in works of imitation. Both imitation and the viewing of imitations are ways of learning and "to be learning something is the greatest of pleasures". Here the difference of different kinds of poetry is a function of the differences of character in the individual poets - the role of reason is apparent in both the pleasure derived from art and the development of different kinds of arts. While Aristotle presumes a conscious artist that can choose among different means, manners and objects, for Nietzsche the Apollinian and the Dionysian are drives. A man does not choose these drives, they choose him. Nietzsche then classifies the arts according to their different origins in these one of two psychological drives. Although these drives are natural, while for Aristotle nature is rational, for Nietzsche, nature is irrational. The two drives are the result of a contradiction in the heart of nature.

                Nietzsche disputes the classical understanding of art as the imitation of nature. For him the artist is the imitator of nature only in the sense that nature herself is creative. While Aristotle thinks that art represents objects which would be accessible to man if there were no art to represent them, Nietzsche denies that art at its highest is imitative in this primary Aristotelian sense and thinks of it rather as a supplement to natural reality. For Aristotle aesthetics is theoretical - he assumes that a detached knowledge of art is possible through the use of reason .

                Aesthetic Socratism asserts that the beautiful is a species of the intelligible. This according to Nietzsche is derived from the Socratic principle that virtue is knowledge.

     

     

    4. The Development of the Theory

        of Proportions During the Renaissance 

     

     

                In this chapter I shall examine the development of the theory of proportions during the Renaissance, its derivation from musical consonances and 1ts application in architecture. Spatial proportions for the Renaissance men were the revelation of a mysterious harmony which pervades the universe and are inherent in nature.

                The basic axiom of Renaissance architects was that architecture is a science and that each part of a building has to be integrated into one and the same system of mathematical ratios. As man is the image of God and the proportions of his body are produced by divine will, so the proportions in architecture have to embrace and express the cosmic order. The mathematical ratios that determine the harmony in macrocosm and microcosm had been revealed by Pythagoras and Plato. It was Pythagoras who discovered that tones can be measured in space. What he had found was that musical consonances were determined by the ratios of small whole numbers. If two strings are made to vibrate under the same conditions one being half the length of the other the pitch of the shorter string will be one octave above that of the longer one. If the lengths of the strings are in relation of two to three the difference in pitch will be a fifth, and if they are in the relation of three to four the difference in pitch will be a fourth. Thus the consonances on which the Greek musical system was based - octave, fifth and fourth - can be expressed by the progression 1:2:3:4. This progression contains not only the simple consonances octave, fifth and fourth, but also the two composite consonances, namely octave plus fifth (1:2:3) and two octaves (1:2:4).

                Plato found the cosmic order and harmony to be contained in the squares and cubes of the double and triple proportion starting from unity - 1:2:4:8 and 1:3:9:27. The harmony of the world is thus expressed in the seven numbers     1, 2, 3, 4, 8, 9, 27. Pythagoras believed that 1n these numbers and proportions the whole world was arranged and perfected. And from the odd as from the wale, and from the even as from the female -everything is generated. But in the cube of the one and the other, the work was terminated. For one cannot proceed beyond the third dimension in length, width and depth.

                It wasn't until the Renaissance that the harmonic ratios of the Greek musical scale influenced architectural proportion in theory and practice. This wasn't the province of architecture alone but of all art in general. Alberti and Palladio, the two Renaissance architects are the main source for our discussion. Palladio declares three different sets of ratios for height to width and length to be good proportions for rooms: in the progression a, b, c; in Arithmetic

    proportion: b - a = c - b. In Geometric proportion: a = b.

                                                                                            b    c

    In Harmonic proportion b – a = c – b. The Arithmetic mean

                                                 a            c

    is the proportion of excess. The Geometric proportion is the proportion par excellence. From the two results the Harmonic mean. The musical consonances are determined by the mean proportionals; the three means constitute all the intervals of the music scale. The fundamental belief behind the relations of musical consonances and architectural proportions was that harmonic ratios are inherent in nature and are revealed in music. The architect who relies on these harmonies is not translating musical ratios into architecture but is making use of a universal harmony apparent in music. This is why, as expressed by Alberti "The numbers by means of which the agreement of sounds affect our ears with delight are the very same which please our eyes and our minds." It is important to show that Renaissance architects did more than just applying musical ratios to space, more than just translating music into architecture; this was done by the "generation" of ratios. For example: the simple ratio 1:3 (9:27) can be expressed in terms of the compound ratio 1:2, 2:3 (9:18, 18:27). In practice it implies that the length of a nave of a church is not simply a triplication of its width (1:3), but that the length itself is charged with definite relations: one unit (9) is seen in relation to its duplication, and the two units together (18) are visualized in relation to the whole length of three units. Thus the splitting up of compound proportions into smaller harmonic ratios is a spatial experience; the consonant intervals of the musical scale rather than just being translated into space are used as the audible proofs for the beauty of the ratios of the small whole numbers 1:2:3:4. The analogues relations in music are expressed in the thesis that harmony results not from the consonance of two tones (1:2 which is an octave) but from two unequal consonances which are drawn from dissimilar proportions (2:3 and 3:4); or in the words of a Renaissance musical theorist "Harmony is discord concordant.

                For the men of the Renaissance musical consonances were the audible tests of a universal harmony which had a binding force for all the arts. Daniele Barbaro, a mathematician, poet, philosopher and theologian who lived in the mid 16th century said that "The rules of Arithmetic are those which unite Music and Astrology: for proportion is general and universal in-all things given to measure weight and numbers" (that is objects A.G.) ...the whole secret of art consists in proportionalita." He defines "proportion" as the ratio of two magnitudes and "proportionalita" as the comparison not of one magnitude with another, but of one proportion with another. Beauty results only from the right proportions. This means that numbers have a divine power when the proportions are consonant. "S7mmetry is the beauty of order. A 'eurythmia' is the beauty of disposition." It is not enough to order the measurements singly one after the other but it is necessary that those measurements be related to each other, that is to say that there must be some proportion between them. Where there is proportion there can be nothing superfluous. And as nature's instinct is the ruler of natural proportion so the rule of art is master of artificial proportion.

     

     

    Conclusion

     

     

                In the first three chapters of my study we find three interrelated aspects of the Nietzschian conception of art. The first being a fundamental distinction between the musical and visual arts which is a result of the two .artistic energies the Apollinian and its opposite, the Dionysian. The second aspect is Nietzsche's classification of the arts according to their different origins in one of two psychological drives. The contrast here with the Socratic philosophy is apparent: art as imitation of objects through the use of reason, versus art as originated in psychological drives. Beauty as a species of knowledge versus beauty as a lie or a veil. The third aspect is Nietzsche's universe order as the illusion which art creates. Truth is irrational and ugly and art is needed to create the opposite illusion rather than that truth being rational and as such an object to imitate through art.

                It is impossible to reconcile Nietzsche's view of Abe art with that of the Renaissance. The origins of the difference between the two is to be found in Nietzsche's aesthetics versus aesthetic Socratism which was discussed in chapter 3. Examining the meaning of art for the Renaissance men in regard to Nietzsch add another dimension to this dichotomy as a result of the application of musical consonances to spatial proportion during the Renaissance. Nietzsche's distinction between music and the visual art is contrasted here with a theory that suggest that spatial proportions have their equivalent in the consonances of the Greek music scale. The proportions of sound and in space are closely related. But this only a consequence of a more fundamental dispute between the origins and purpose of art; the Renaissance man was convinced of the universal validity of one and the sane harmonic system. Harmonic ratios are inherent in nature and only revealed in music. Beauty which is expressed through proportions is an imitation, and representation of an ordered intelligible truth. For Nietzgche beauty is a veil that rather than imitate, masks chaotic nature. The doctrine of a mathematical universe was rejected during the seventeenth and eighteenth century partly on the basis of Allison's theory of association which broke away with objective truth explaining that beauty and deformity are not qualities in objects but belong entirely to the sentiment. But this is not the case here: both Nietzsche and the Renaissance men refer to an objective truth; for one it is an intelligible truth arrived at through reason; for the other it is a chaotic truth being masked through art the origins of which are to be found in psychological impulses.

     

     

    Bibliographical Background 

     

     

     

    Chapter 1:       (1)    Marcus Hester, Studies in Nietzsche and the Classical

                                        Tradition, pp. 71-73.

                               (2)    F. Nietzsch, The Birth of Tragedy, pp. 33-41.

    Chapter 2:       (1)    Silk & Stern, Nietzsche on Tragedy, pp. 280-296.

                               (2)    The Birth of Tragedy, pp. 33-41.

    Chapter 3:       (1)    Werner Dannhauser, Nietzsche's View of Socrates,

                                        pp. 103-119.

                               (2)    The Birth of Tragedy, pp. 93-98.

    Chapter 4:    Rudolf Wittkower, Architectural Principles in the Age of

                            Humanism, pp. 101-154.

     

     

    Bibliography

     

     

    1.      Nietzsche's View of Socrates / Werner J. Dannhauser. By Cornell

             University, 1974.

    2.      The Birth of Tragedy / Friedrich Nietzsche. The Modern Library, 1968.

    3.      Studies in Nietzsche and the Classical tradition . Marcus Hester.

             University of North Carolina Studies in the Germanic Languages and

             Literature.

    4.      Nietzsche on Tragedy / M.S. Silk and J.P. Stern. Cambridge University press, 1981.

    5.      Architectural principles in the Age of Humanism / Rudolf Wittkower.

             W.W. Norton & Company, 1971.

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