Read What Is Art? by Leo Tolstoy Aylmer Maude Online

what-is-art

During the decades of his world fame as sage & preacher as well as author of War & Peace & Anna Karenina, Tolstoy wrote prolifically in a series of essays & polemics on issues of morality, social justice & religion. These culminated in What is Art?, published in 1898. Although Tolstoy perceived the question of art to be a religious one, he considered &aDuring the decades of his world fame as sage & preacher as well as author of War & Peace & Anna Karenina, Tolstoy wrote prolifically in a series of essays & polemics on issues of morality, social justice & religion. These culminated in What is Art?, published in 1898. Although Tolstoy perceived the question of art to be a religious one, he considered & rejected the idea that art reveals & reinvents through beauty. The works of Dante, Michelangelo, Shakespeare, Beethoven, Baudelaire & even his own novels are condemned in the course of Tolstoy's impassioned & iconoclastic redefinition of art as a force for good, for the improvement of humankind....

Title : What Is Art?
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780735102934
Format Type : Hardcover
Number of Pages : 252 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

What Is Art? Reviews

  • Glenn Russell
    2018-10-28 13:36

    Unlike many works of aesthetics which tend to be overly abstract and dense, using technical terms from philosophy and a layering of sophisticated concepts, Leo Tolstoy’s book is clear-cut, employing language and ideas anybody interested in the subject can understand. Tolstoy is passionate about art and art's place within human experience. For many years, he tells us, he has been observing art and reading about art. And what he sees and reads is not pretty. For instance, he goes to a rehearsal of opera: "All is stopped, and the director, turning to the orchestra, attacks the French horn, scolding him in the rudest of terms, as cabmen abuse each other, for taking the wrong note." Seen through Tolstoy's eyes, the entire production is a ridiculous, grotesque, overblown extravagance. We can imagine Tolstoy shaking his head when he observes, "It would be difficult to find a more repulsive sight."Tolstoy presents a detailed sampling of what philosophers and aestheticians have written about art and beauty throughout history, particularly since the eighteenth century, when aesthetics became a subject unto itself. The theories range from art being an expression of divine truth to art being a titillation of the senses of seeing, hearing, feeling and even tasting and smelling. Tolstoy notes toward the end of his study, "Therefore, however strange it may seem to say so, in spite of the mountains of books written about art, no exact definition of art has been constructed. And the reason for this is that the conception of art has been based on the conception of beauty." According to Tolstoy, we must investigate a better way to view art than linking art with beauty.Further on, Tolstoy gives us an example of a young art gallery-goer being baffled at the painting of the various modern schools of art, impressionism, post-impressionism and the like. Tolstoy empathizes with the gallery-goer and knows most other ordinary folk share this same reaction, " . . . the majority of people who are in sympathy with me, do not understand the productions of the new art, simply because there is nothing in it to understand, and because it is bad art . . . " Why is this the case in the modern world? Tolstoy lays the blame on the artistic and spiritual fragmentation of a society divided by class, "As soon as ever the art of the upper classes separated itself from universal art, a conviction arose that art may be art and yet be incomprehensible to the masses."Tolstoy views the modern institutionalization of art with its professional artists and art critics supported by the upper class as the prime culprit responsible for a plethora of artworks that are degrading, meaningless and fake. He writes: "Becoming ever poorer and poorer in subject-matter, and more and more unintelligible in form, the art of the upper classes, in its latest productions, has even lost all the characteristics of art, and has been replaced by imitations of art." To compound the problem, Tolstoy tells us schools teaching art take mankind away from what is true in art, "To produce such counterfeits, definite rules or recipes exist in each branch of art." We come to see, with Tolstoy as our guide, how aspiring artists are given these counterfeits as models to follow and imitate; things have gone so far that creating art is reduced to `acquiring the knack'. Anybody who is familiar with the way in which writing is taught in today's colleges and universities will see how exactly right Tolstoy is on this point - students are given a collection of essays written by modern writers in which to model their own writing.Tolstoy provides more examples of false, muddled, insincere, bad art. His description of an opera by Richard Wagner is laugh out loud funny. We read: "This gnome, still opening his mouth in the same strange way, long continued to sing or shout." Tolstoy hated going to the theater to see an opera or ballet. He predicts art forms like opera or ballet could never and will never be appreciated and enjoyed by the common person. Actually, on this point, he was off by a mile. Turns out, people who attend ballet nowadays can't get enough of productions like The Nutcracker. And talking about being off by a mile, Tolstoy judged Beethoven's Fifth Symphony as bad art since the work cannot be viewed as religious art nor does it unite people in one feeling; rather, he said, the fifth symphony is, "long, confused, artificial". Goodness! Most everyday Joe work-a-day type people who are concert-goers would be thrilled if Beethoven's Fifth Symphony was on the program. What else is bad art? Tolstoy writes: "In painting we must similarly place in the class of bad art all the Church, patriotic, and exclusive pictures ."Well then, what does Tolstoy regard as good art? In a word, art that has three qualities: 1) clarity, 2) sincerity, and 3) individuality (as opposed to copying other art). And, in the author’s view, in order to be considered good art, the work must create authentic religious feelings and engender the brotherhood of man. As examples of good art, Tolstoy cites Dickens, Hugo, Dostoevsky and the painter Millet. You might not agree with Tolstoy on every point, but that is no reason to pass over a careful study of his views. After all, he is one of the world's great writers and knew a thing or two about art.

  • Ahmad Sharabiani
    2018-11-18 12:33

    Что такое искусство? = Chto takoye iskusstvo?= What Is Art?, Leo Tolstoy تاریخ نخستین خوانش: بیست و دوم ماه ژوئن سال 1976 میلادیعنوان: هنر چیست؟؛ نویسنده: لئو تولستوی؛ مترجم: کاوه دهگان؛ تهران، امیرکبیر، چاپ دوم 1345، در 278 ص؛ چاپ سوم 1350؛ چاپ چهارم 1352؛ چاپ پنجم 1355؛ چاپ ششم 1356؛ چاپ هفتم 1364؛ موضوع: در باره چیستی هنر قرن 19 مرومن رولان: تولستوی در این کتاب همه ی بساط وامانده ی دنیای کهن را به دور میریزدا. شربیانی

  • Araz Goran
    2018-10-21 10:49

    ماهو الفن؟مخاطرة كبيرة أن يسأل المرء هذا السؤال، ناهيك عن مناقشته وتحليله في إطار تاريخي تطوري وكذلك من خلال جوهره كمادة دسمة يقبع تحت عباءتها كمٌ هائل من التعريفات والفروع والخلافات والأهداف والأساليب المتبعة في تشكل المعنى الواضح للفن..الفن ،الجمال، الأخلاق.. هذه المفاهيم الثلاثة لا يمكن لها أن تنفصل عن بعضها البعض تقترب من أن تكون متلازمة وتطرح من خلالها أسئلة بإستمرار حول مدى علاقة الفن بالإخلاق، وطبيعة الجمال في الفن، ودور الجمال في تكوين الفنون ونسبة إستحواذها على معنى الفن وإدراك المغزى من وراء علاقة الجمال بالفن كمفصل يتصور البعض أنه لا يمكن لها أن ينفصلا بأي حال من الأحوال، أو أصبح الجمال متماهياً في الفن لدرجة أنه أحياناً يصعب تكوين مفهوم واضح حول تداخل الجمال في دائرة الفن والعجز عن تصور ماهو الفرق بينهما، حتى الجمال نفسه له تعريفات لا حصر لها ومذاهب متعددة تفسر مفهموم الجمال وتقيمه على حسب نظرتها للمفهوم وعلى طبيعته وماهيته، خصص تولستوي الأجزاء الأولى من الكتاب بتعريف القارئ بتلك المذاهب والفلسفات التي أصلت وأتبعت مناهج عدة للوصول إلى الأصول الواضحة في الجمال ومادته وكيف يجب أن يكون وماذا يخدم، بين من يرى الجمال عبارة عن الصورة الحسية للأشياء ولا يرى فيه سوى الصور المتحركة التي تولد الجمال في الحواس، وبين الرأي القائل بجمال الأشياء في جوهرها وذاتها ويرى أن الجمال لا يمكن أن يدرك من الحس إذا لم يكن الجمال قابعاً متماهياً مع ذلك الشئ الذي نظن فيه الجمال، والذي يرى الجمال كأمر نسبي لا يمكن تحديده كحالة ثابته في الحواس والجواهر، وأخيراً اتباع النظرية التي تقول بنسبة الجمال إلى اللذة الحاصلة منه، فما كان شئ من لذة سوى كان البصر أو الشم او اللمس كان جميلاً ويستحق تلك الصفة وأما دون ذلك فلا وجود للجمال فيه مادمت اللذة فيه غائبة وقاصرة في توصيلها الى الحواس، هنا كان من الضروري أن يتداخل الجمال مع الفن في نقاط مفصلية عديدة أدت إلى تحويل الجمال الى المقياس الرئيسي بل احيانا الوحيد للفن وطغى هذا التحول في الفن وصار من المستحيل نزع أحدهما عن الآخر، إما فن معه جمال أو لا شئ .. يقول تولستوي عندما ظهر هذا المفهوم في أوروبا تحول الفن إلى آلة منتجة للجمال لا للفن، فما كان فناً في السابق يوصل الأحاسيس الى الناس العاديين بعفوية وهدوء وإتزان تحول إلى سباق يهرول فيه الجميع الى التعمق في إستدراج كل ما أتيح من جمال سواء كان أخلاقياً ام لا، الى الفن بإسم الفن نفسه، أصبح الفن وقتها لا يمثل إلا الطبقة الغنية الارستقراطية التي بلغت من الملل والتشبع إلى طلب فنٍ لا يحوى سوى المتعة والمشاهدة اللذيذة التي تكرس نفسها لإضفاء من التغيير الروتيني وجلب بعض الإثارة والدهشة لـ أولئك الأرستقراطين الخاملين.. وهنا ليس مقصد الجمال هو ذاك الذي يبعث على الاعجاب والسكينة، بل المقصود منه الجمال عن الطبقة المثقفة التي أحالت نفسها حكماً على الجمال نفسه..هنا كما يقول تولستوي، إنقلب الفن رأساً على عقب، فبعدما كانت هي الوسيلة الأكثر نجاعة في غرز قيم الخير والمحبة والتسامح في قلوب البشر، أصبح لا يبحث سوى إثارة متلقيه سواء كان أدباً او رسماً أو موسيقى.. تحول الفن في رأي تولستوي إلى مطرقة ناعمة تدق في الأساسات الأخلاقية مفاهيم وحكم معلمو البشرية الأوائل ، الذين طالما حذروا من الفن كما يقول تولستوي ليس لأنه محرم في ذاته بل لأنهم كانوا على علم مسبق لأي مسار ستؤدي طرق الفن ومذاهبها ، المسيحيون الأوائل حرموا الفنون كالنحت والموسيقى وكذلك فعل المسلمون الأوائل والأنبياء من قبلعم، لأنهم أدركوا خطورة ماقد يؤدي به الفن من طرق الإفساد وتلويث الاذواق وتهديم الاسس الاخلاقية للإنسان..لم يكن الفن الأول في نظر تولستوي سوى الفطرة الإنسانية السليمة المنقادة تحت لواء التجربة الدينية العميقة ممثلة في الأنبياء القدامى والحكماء والفلاسفة، ذلك الفن الذي كان يتحرك في داخل كل إنسان سواء كان مثقفاً أو غير ذلك، الفن الذي لم يكن بحاجة الى تلك الزخارف والتلميعات كي يرغم الناس على الإعجاب والتأثر به، ذلك الفن لم يكن بحاجة الى اضفاء الرغبات الشهوانية الخاملة في داخله، أو صورة إمرأة نصف متعرية على خشبة مسرح او لوحة فاضحة، أو مشهد دموي او حروب طاحنة لا هدف لها سوى إظهار النزعة السادية في الفنان والمتلقي على حد سواء.. كان الفن بسيطاً ساحراً يؤخذ من حياة الناس بساطتها ومن تفكيرهم قصتها ومن قضاياهم سردها وحبكتها، ومن بيئتهم وصفها وتفصيلاتها، كانت تنتمي الى الانسان بوصفه الانسان لا أكثر، لا تتطلب منه أن يكون مثقفاً وفيلسوفاً كيف يفهم رواية او قصيدة او لوحة رمزية..ذهب تولستوي أخيراً إلى أن الفن إذا إنحدر الى ذاك المستوى السحيق المتدني لم تعد الحاجة إليه ضرورية، ويفضل ان تكون الحياة خالية من الفن على يكون الفن بذلك المستوى المتدني.. ذكر أيضاً أمثلة كثيرة على رقي جوانب كثيرة من الفن، كأدب هوجو و دوستويفسكي وبعض اللوحات التي تعني حياة الانسان في صميمها وتهدف الى رفع المعاناة عنه بدلاً من تحميله أعباء جديدة تحت مسمى الفن..كتاب رائع، لذيذ، شيق، وصريح.. يعطيك نظرة شاملة عن الفن من منبعه وحتى عهده القريب، وأظن أن الفن الحديث هو نسخة مطابقة لما ذكره تولستوي في عصره مع مزيد من التطرف والمغالاة عن عصر تولستوي.. الكتاب ليس حرباً على الفن بقدر ما هو كشف لأقنعة الحقيقة ورؤية مستقبلية للإنسان لتجنب الوقوع في فخ الفن..

  • د. حمدان
    2018-11-12 17:58

    ما هو الفن ؟ ليو تولستويهذا هو الكتاب الخامس لي مع تولستوي.. وكان لي معه قبلها؛ الحرب والسلام، أنا كارنينا، موت إيفان إيلييتش، حكم النبي محمد. قبل أن أبدأ قراءتي للكتاب كنتُ أتوقع أن يكون كتاباً للفائدة العامة لا أكثر.. ولم أتوقع أن يكون صادماً ومؤثراً لهذه الدرجة.كان تسلسل تولستوي في الكتاب منطقياً.. فلا بد لمن يشاء أن يضع تعريفاً ما للفن أن يخوض في الأسباب التي تدعو لتعريف الفن.. ومدى أهميته.. ثم المرور على كل التعاريف التي وضعها كل من سبقوه.. ورغم موسوعية هذا الكتاب في كل ذلك إلا أنه بدا في مجال تعاريف الفن مملاً إلى حد ما..ثم بدأ تولستوي في تفنيد هذه التعاريف شيئاً فشيئاً.. رافضاً مبدأ الفن لذاته.. ورافضاً أن يكون الجمال أو اللذة أساس الفن.. ثم يقودك إلى ما يريد أن يقوله أخيراً: الفن ليس كما يقول الميتافيزيقيون إنه ظهور أفكار ما سرية، أو جمال أو إله، وهو ليس كما يقول علماء الجمال الفيزيولوجيون، لعباً، حيث يصرف الإنسان طاقاته الزائدة، وهو ليس ظهور الإنفعالات بوساطة الإشارات الخارجية، وليس بنتاج المواد الشيقة، والأهم إنه ليس لذة، إنما هو وسيلة إختلاط بين الناس ضرورية من أجل الحياة ولصالح تطور الإنسان والإنسانية نحو الأفضل، وسيلة توحد الناس في أحاسيس واحدة.ويرجع تولستوي فيما بعد ليقول: الفن هو وسيلة من وسيلتي تقدم البشرية. فمن خلال الكلمة يعاشر الإنسان الآخرين فكرياً، ومن خلال نماذج الفن يعاشر الإنسان جميع الناس بأحاسيسه. وليس أناس اليوم بل وأناس الماضي والمستقبل كذلك.ويا له من كلام بديع.. لكن تولستوي إذ يفعل ذلك ويقرر أخيراً الأهداف التي يجب أن يسعى الفن الحقيقي إليها فهو يقرر بالتالي وجود الفن المزيف.. أو الفن الرديء.. وهو يقرر بأنه منتشر للغاية في كل ما هو من حولنا.. ونجده يهاجم وبضراوة فن أناس كنتُ شخصياً لم أقرأ أي نقد لهم من قبل.. كبودلير ومالارميه وفارلان.. بل إنه لم يتوانَ عن نفي الفن عن بعض عظمائه ويقول بأن كل سونيتات بيتهوفن بعد إصابته بالصمم أنها من ضمن الفن الرديء.. وضرب مثلاً بـسونيتة 101. إن تولستوي هنا يضع الأساس الذي يميز به بين الفن الجيد، الأصيل، الحقيقي.. وذاك الفن المزيف، الرديء.. وهذا الأساس هو إما أن يتحكم الوعي الديني بالفن فيقود الفن إلى الله.. أو أن يتحدث الفن عن تلك الأحاسيس التي توحد كل الناس. وترك لنا معياراً للحكم والقياس وهو العدوى.. أنك إن شعرت بالعدوى من تلك الأحاسيس التي حاول الفنان أن يوصلها إليك.. ويذهب تولستوي إلى الأسباب التي أدت لظهور هذا الفن الرديء والمزيف فيقول لأن طبقة الأغنياء هي التي حرصت على خلقه كي لا تموت ضجراً ! تحدث تولستوي مطولاً عن الفن الذي يحمل وعياً دينياً ثم أرجع ذلك للدين المسيحي الحقيقي وهاجم الفن الكَنَسي متهماً إياه بالزيف. إن من أهم ما يوصله هذا الكتاب هو ضرورة تنقيح مفهومنا عن الفن من الفن التجاري.. وهو الفن الذي يكون من أجل الثمن لا من أجل القيم والأحاسيس التي تحدث عنها تولستوي. ولربما يجعلنا نتفهم قصده حين قال عن فن المستقبل: سيعيش فنان المستقبل حياة الناس العادية، وسيحصل على قوته بفضل عمل ما. وأرى أنه ليس من الضروري أن يكون الوعي الديني المقصود هنا محصوراً بالمسيحية الحقيقية كما يقول تولستوي.. فلربما كانت الضوابط الأخلاقية كافية أو لربما نذهب بعيداً بعض الشيء ونتحدث عن كونها توصل إلى الله كما قال تولستوي بالفعل.إنه يدعو بتحرر الفنان مادياً من فنه.. فهو لا يعتاش من ورائه وعليه لن يبتذل فقط كي ينتج ويتمكن من العيش. وهي فكرة مثيرة برأيي. ويقول تولستوي أيضاً تأكيداً للفرق بين الفن الحقيقي والمزيف: الفن الحقيقي كالزوجة التي يحبها زوجها، لا يحتاج إلى تبرج، أما المزيف فإنه كالعاهر، يجب أن يكون متبرجاً على الدوام. وأيضاً: ويكمن سبب ظهور الفن الحقيقي في الحاجة الداخلية للتعبير عن الأحاسيس المتراكمة، كالأم التي يكمن سبب حملها الجنسي في الحب. أما سبب الفن المزيف فهو كسبب الدعارة، يكمن في الطمع والمنفعة.إذن فالفن الحقيقي هو ثمرة شرعية لحب الزوجة.. ولا يمكن أن يكون طمعاً في المال. وقبل ذلك.. كان تولستوي قد أنكر نكراناً عظيماً على كل أشكال الفن التي تعتمد على إثارة الشهوة الجنسية فيقول: هناك كاتب اسمه رينيه دي غورمان، يطبعون كتبه، ويعدونه موهوباً، وبغية أخذ تصور عن الكتاب الجدد قرات الكتاب المذكور "خيول ديوميدا"، إنها رواية تحكي مفصلاً عن المعاشرات الجنسية التي قام بها سيد ما مع مختلف النساء. ليس هناك صفحة واحدة خالية من وصف النزوات المتقدة. وكذلك الأمر بالنسبة لكتاب "أفروديت" لملفه بييز لوي وكتاب غيوسماس "المجهولون" الذي حصلت عليه مؤخراً، وهو على الأغلب كتاب نقدي حول الرسم. هذا هو الوضع في كل الروايات الفرنسية باستثناءات نادرة جداً. إن هذه كلها نتاجات جماعة مريضة بالهوس الشهواني. إن هؤلاء الناس، كما يبدو، متأكدين من أنه طالما تركزت حياتهم كلها، نتيجة وضعهم المريض، حول نشر الرذائل الجنسية، فإن حياة العالم كله متمركزة حول الموضوع ذاته. وكل عالم أوروبا وأميريكا الفني يقتدي بهؤلاء الناس – المهووسين جنسياً. وكم هو صحيح هذا الكلام، وأعتقد أنه لو إطلع تولستوي على الأصناف الفنية المشابهة اليوم لشعر بالخيبة حتماً. فلم يكن الفن في المستقبل الذي كان يطمح إليه مختلفاً كثيراً عما كان في زمانه كل ما هنالك هو أنه أصبح أشد قبحاً. تحدث تولستوي أخيراً عن فن المستقبل والشكل الذي يفترض أن يكون عليه.. وقد بدا ذلك نهاية منطقية لهذا البحث العظيم الذي أخذ منه خمسة عشر عاماً. وكانت الخاتمة في علاقة الفن بالعلم حيث نقد تولستوي مفهوم العلم السائد لدى البشرية قائلاً: إنهم يخترعون وسائل من شأنها أن تجعل الناس في ظل ذلك التوزيع الباطل للثروات والعمل قادرين على التغذية الجيدة بوساطة الاطعمة المجهزة كيميائياً وعلى إرغام قوى الطبيعة على العمل بدلاً من أنفسهم. إن إختراع هذه الوسائل شبيه تماماً بإختراع وسائل ضخ الأوكسجين إلى رئتي إنسان محجوز في مكان مغلق مشبع بهواء فاسد في حين أنه لا يلزم لذلك الإنسان سوى الخروج من ذلك المكان المغلق. وهنا لا أملك أن أقول تعليقاً على ذلك سوى: كم كان عميق النظرة بحق !إن قيمة هذا الكتاب لا تكمن في كون كل ما فيه صحيح، إطلاقاً.. فلا بد للمرء من أن يختلف مع بعض ما جاء فيه. لكن، ما يهم حقاً هو أنه يشير إلى شيء جوهري؛ أن الفن قد تحول حقاً إلى صنعة وهو كأي صنعة أخرى يجري صاحبها لاهثاً خلف المال.. ويفقد الصدق قيمته في هذه الصنعة تماماً. إنني أجد نفسي هنا أقرب لرأي برنارد شو في هذا الكتاب حين قال: إنه مصيدة للحمقى ! القادرين على الإنقضاض على الأخطاء الخاصة والصغيرة، متجاوزين القيم الإيجابية الهائلة التي يتضمنها الكتاب. وقد يتركك هذا الكتاب أخيراً مع صراع ذاتي؛ الحرية في الفن، في مقابل تقدير فقط ما هو فن حقيقي وأصيل.. وهنا يتفهم تولستوي السبب الذي دعا الأوائل من المسلمين والمسيحيين بمنع الفن مطلقاً خوفاً من انتشار الفن الفاجر الذي أكد تولستوي أنه منتشر كما سبق وأشرت. لكنه في ذات الوقت يدعو المرء إلى ألا يمنعه.. فهو على أي حال ليس في وسعه أن يفعل ذلك على أي حال.. إنما عليه أن يجد طريقة لنفسه كي ينأى عنها كل ذلك الزيف والخداع والفجور والكذب الذي يدعونه فناً –المقصود هنا هو الفن المزيف أو الرديء-. باختصار، وبرأيي الشخصي.. هذا كتاب يجب على كل مهتم بالفن قراءته. حيث أنه سيختصر عليه الكثير.

  • Kevin Richey
    2018-10-20 16:00

    I’m so conflicted with Tolstoy. I agree with him about half the time, and the other half, I just wish he’d stop being so damn Puritanical. I don’t disagree with Tolstoy’s basic thesis, that art is defined by the following features: a person (the artist) feels a certain emotion, and captures that emotion in his work (a book, poem, concert, whatever) so that the viewer is infected with that same emotion. That works for me. I agree also with Tolstoy that emotional resonance is more important than the superficial beauty of a work. Substance over style. I disagree with Tolstoy not so much in his definition of what art is, but rather, what good art is. For Tolstoy, the only good art is that which depicts a good emotion, and the only good emotions are those which express the most evolved religious consciousness of the time. And, for Tolstoy, that was a Christian sentiment. (He wasn’t devout enough to say that it was the sentiment of the Christian church; in fact, he says the opposite: that the current art of the church is devoid of emotion, and therefore bad art.) And that Christian sentiment can be classified as two types: that which addresses the brotherhood of all mankind, and that which encourages our submission to God. Again, this is where I disagree, and where most people who enjoy the arts would disagree. Because, if you follow Tolstoy’s mandates, we dismiss the plays of Shakespeare, the philosophy of Nietzsche, the later works of Beethoven, and so on. Basically, things Tolstoy finds out of line with his view of the world. He rules that because he feels no feelings of brotherhood from these artists, they must not be artists. Even Tolstoy’s own works, save for two late short stories about God, are denounced as bad art. He also, in another of his should-have-been-repressed epilogues, denounces modern science, saying that science should only focus on figuring out how to stop wars and other problems of daily life, and not bother with bourgeois pastimes like vaccinations and chemistry and the like.So, basically, everything Tolstoy uses to define the worthiness of certain works of art I disagree with, but his comments on the nature of art, on its creation, commercialization, the worthlessness of art schools, and so on, I found realistic and insightful. I think Tolstoy was quite smart, and did see and address real problems; he was just held back by an antiquated and immobile set of morals that seem completely based on a fantasy, not his real background.

  • Ben
    2018-10-31 16:57

    Good works of art to Tolstoy: the works of Victor Hugo, the novels of Charles Dickens, some of the tales of Gogol and Pushkin, the writings of Maupassant, the comedies of Molière (whom Tolstoy refers to as "the most excellent artist of modern times," according to this translation by Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky), the writings of Dostoevsky, Schiller's Robbers, Uncle Tom's Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe, Adam Bede by George Eliot, Miguel de Cervantes' Don Quixote, a handful of paintings by little known artists, folk music, and a few compositions by musicians such as Mozart, Haydn, Schubert, Beethoven, Bach and Chopin, in addition to two of his own lesser known short stories ("God Sees the Truth" and "Prisoner of the Caucasus") and the stories of the Bible and the tales about the Buddha.Bad works of "art" to Tolstoy (many of which he does not consider art at all -- more on this below): the works of Dante, the writings of Shakespeare, most of his own literary works (including his two masterpieces, War and Peace and Anna Karenina), most of the work of Beethoven, the writings of Goethe, the art of the French symbolists (especially Verlaine and Baudelaire), many of the later works of Pushkin, the writings of Oscar Wilde, the works of Michelangelo, the paintings of artists like Monet, and perhaps more than any other, the work of Richard Wagner. Oh, but wait, his disdain for Nietzsche may be greatest yet. So, what does Tolstoy consider "art" and what does he consider "good art"? First, and perhaps most importantly, Tolstoy begins by rejecting the common argument by modern writers on the subject of aesthetics that the main purpose of art is to create works of beauty. He argues that many people think they know what art is, but when pressed we find that their definitions of art are based on taken for granted assumptions and they, in fact, are little able to defend their claims of what constitutes art. Contrary to the mainstream view, Tolstoy argues instead that art is something much broader than many so-called 'experts' in aesthetics would have us believe (including not just great paintings and novels, but short stories, sketches, jokes, lullabies, decor, etc.), and it begins whenever one creates something that expresses some feeling that the artist has based on his or her own experience (including his/her dreams, fears, wishes or aspirations). But this alone does not constitute "art." In addition to this, the artist's expression of his feeling must be "infectious," which is to say that by being exposed to this work of art others (and the working majority in particular) must be affected by the artist's creation, for it speaks to some universal Truth. This is what, to Tolstoy constitutes art, and good art is that which speaks of a universal brotherhood, drawing on a Christian ethic (the same type of feeling that eases the unrest of some of Tolstoy's autobiographic characters like Pierre Bezukhov in War and Peace and Levin in Anna Karenina, the same type of feeling that infects Natasha in War and Peace when she hears traditional Russian folk music and decides to give up harp lessons in favor of the guitar), for art throughout history, he explains, is really an expression of religious consciousness. The art of the modern era, Tolstoy argues, has been intercepted by the nonbelievers of the upper-classes and by godless men led by Nietzsche, who create art (what he refers to as "counterfeit art" as opposed to genuine art) that claims to invent new styles, to promote some sort of beauty, etc., but which is really inaccessible to the great masses, who all the while toil in the service of this art. As evidence (questionable indeed) he points to his own inability to understand the works of the French symbolists or the operatic works of Wagner versus how moved he is (and as others he knows have been) by Russian folk songs and stories by common, unknown Russian working men. For works to be "good art" Tolstoy argues they must "always be understood by everyone," and it matters little if the work is "moral" or "immoral," so long as it is understandable and so long as the content is such that feelings of the artist are communicated to and correspond with the feelings of the audience. In terms of social class Tolstoy raises several compelling points, and this is where I think the great strength of this controversial work lies (in addition to the advancements he makes to the theory of art and the role of aesthetics in art theory), namely that the upper classes have created somewhat of a stranglehold on "art." The upper-classes use their money to finance works of art (and science too) which they agree with, or that infects them (though often which has the opposite effect on the majority, which has not only a difficult time understanding these works, but feeling them, for the experiences communicated are not universal but are often restricted to society's ruling class, who feel that they have important and diverse feelings, but who really only have three "insignificant and uncomplicated feelings: the feelings of pride, sexual lust, and the tedium of living"). Tolstoy argues that for works to be good art they must be infectious not only for those in a certain class of society, but for the working majority, regardless of social class, religion, etc. I wondered as I read this what Tolstoy would make of many of the writers, painters and musicians of the 20th and 21st centuries. What would he think, for instance, of the democratic art of cinema? Or of popular music like rock and roll? The blues? It led me to hours of fun mental games wondering what Tolstoy would make of certain writers. One can imagine that he would reject most of the major visual artists of this period (including the Dadaists and Surrealists, the Cubists, the Abstract Expressionists, etc.), as well as the vast majority of Modernist writers (no art for art's sake for this fellow), the works of Postmodernists, etc. I wonder if he would consider Steinbeck a great artist. It seems plausible. What about the neorealist filmmakers? The blues and folk artists of today? Tolstoy's argument that genuine art is art that must be done for the purpose of the communication of authentic feelings, and not be done for monetary gain, makes consideration of what might be considered genuine art under his theory a bit more complicated. Genuine art should strive to be art that is unadorned, in no need of bells and whistles to communicate its essential Truth: Terrible as it may be to say it, what has happened to the art of our circle and time is the same as happens with a woman who sells her feminine attractions, destined for motherhood, for the pleasure of those who are tempted by such pleasures.The art of our time and circle has become a harlot. And this comparison holds true in the smallest details. It is, in the same way, not limited in time, is always fancy in dress, is always for sale; it is just as alluring and pernicious.The genuine work of art can manifest itself in an artist's soul only rarely, as a fruit of all his previous life, just as a child is conceived by its mother. Counterfeit art is produced by artisans and craftsmen continually, as long as there are consumers.Genuine art has no need for dressing up, like the wife of a loving husband. Counterfeit art, like a prostitute, must always be decked out.The cause of the appearance of genuine art is an inner need to express a stored-up feeling, as love is the cause of sexual conception for a mother. The cause of counterfeit art is mercenary, just as with prostitution. The consequence of true art is the introduction of a new feeling into everyday life, as the consequence of a wife's love is the birth of a new person into life. The consequence of counterfeit art is the corruption of man, the insatiability of pleasures, the weakness of man's spiritual force.This is what people of our time and circle must understand in order to get rid of the filthy stream of this depraved, lascivious art that is drowning us.This hilarious, lengthy excerpt is admittedly very cringe-inducing from a feminist perspective, but it sums up (with a few gaps) Tolstoy's view of modern art and also gives readers a general sense of the idea that art must take to be considered genuine and good art in accordance with his theory. Prophetic in many ways (such as in the final chapter where Tolstoy argues that sociology, really, should be the main focus of science, as science's main concern should, like art, be with improving the lots of humankind -- and animalkind for that matter --, but in which he argues that modern science instead will soon lead us to a state in which most of our food is produced in laboratories and in which the fleeting interests of the upper classes will be given scientific priority), Tolstoy's work is not without faults. Aside from being very antifeminist at times (forgivable in the sense that he was a product of his age), the work while broadening the understanding of what constitutes art on the one hand, narrows it on the other. The essay also downplays the audience's role in interpreting works of art, audience subjectivity being a major concern among media and literary theorists in more recent years (and I'm thinking particularly here of the newer works by theorists like Stuart Hall and Terry Eagleton). While Tolstoy criticizes those like Nietzsche for his disdain of the masses, Tolstoy less conspicuously (and I think unintentionally) shows a disdain for any (outside of the upper class circle) who are affected by the works of the artists he criticizes so harshly. And then, of course, the merits of the theory itself are debatable. I don't necessarily know that beauty, so very subjective, should be the sole determinant of whether or not something is considered art. But I also don't know that the infectiousness of a feeling is what makes a work art either. And contrary to Virginia Woolf's claim that women writers, in order to have the same chance at artistic success as men, need a certain amount of money and a room of their own (though I find her arguments faulty in the sense that she makes this argument considering gender while ignoring the effects of social class), Tolstoy argues that money is a corrupting force and that the artist of the future will create works of art whenever the feeling takes him/her, but will not earn a living through art, but rather through "some kind of labour." I side here more with Woolf, for without a little money, and thereby a little free time, it can be very difficult for one to find the means to create -- unless of course, as Marx argues in Volume 3 of Capital, pay should increase at the same time as working hours decrease. But Tolstoy opposes this insomuch as he feels more luxuries could corrupt the working people, just as luxuries have corrupted the upper classes of society. In addition to reading this work I recently watched the Orson Welles film essay F for Fake which deals with art forgery, and so I have been giving considerable thought to the topic recently (and this has also called to mind other art documentaries, such as Who the #$&% Is Jackson Pollock? and Banksy's Exit Through the Gift Shop. It took Tolstoy 15 years and much thought to organize his ideas which are presented in this work. It was a lofty undertaking and maybe he would have revised his ideas had he lived in this century. I don't know. It's a very interesting read, very representative of the turn in Tolstoy's writings after he had rejected his ambitions as a writer of fiction, and it asks a great many more questions than it answers. I don't know that I would call it "essential" Tolstoy, but I would suggest it as a must-read for any interested in the topic of art and aesthetics. So what is art? For me, it's subjective, and it includes much more than the guardians of the gates to the art world would have us believe. But is art only that which is beautiful? Only that which expresses the religious consciousness of the age? Only that which communicates feelings or some Truth of truths to others? Who's to say? Tolstoy's work, even if it has its flaws, filled in some gaps in existing theories on art. And it spurs readers to think critically about something we often take-for-granted: Art.

  • Thomas Rogers
    2018-11-10 12:42

    I recently read this book on holiday in Austria.Fascinating!I am a Fine Art student attending Falmouth University Cornwall, going into my final year, and a devout follower of Jesus. Throughout the course of my degree I have constantly struggled to reconcile my beliefs, with fine art.Most of the time art seemed pretty pointless to me, it seemed completely self-indulgent, and a total waste of my time along with everybody else's - when considering the state of this world and the majority of it's inhabitants. I am so glad to have found such a friend in Tolstoy.I almost completely agree with everything covered in the book, and share his discontent with vague, vein, modern art. I, however, believe in people's freedom, to manufacture art regardless of it's "goodness", even still I wish that more and more creative people would be willing to endeavour to stand outside of Western individualism, pleasure, and art for arts sake; and begin to explore art that is oriented towards the progression and unification of mankind and our God; encompassing all realms of our salvation: physical, emotional, spiritual, political, economic, and social. I am confident that I will not pursue a career in the arts (as we know it) after my degree, as I am keen to throw myself into the direct service of the poor; but rather I desire that art runs through my life and we will meet along the way when we may.This kind of art excites me. This art that means so much more than beauty or pleasure. Why are we so afraid of it?

  • TAM •'
    2018-11-10 15:43

    ||- ما هو الفنقد نعتقد أنه سؤال بسيط ولكن الإجابة عليه معقدّة للغاية . لو فكّر كل شخص بالإجابة عليه فعلاً، لحصلنا على ملايين التعريفات؛ لأن كل شخص يملك نظرته الخاصة في الحياة، يعيش وفقاً لقوانين محددّة ينتمي إليه، يتبناها أو رُبما يضعها بنفسه، بالتالي ستكون له رؤية خاصة يرى من خلالها الفن .في هذا الكتاب، سنلقي الضوء على إجابة تولستوي على سؤالنا المحيّر، والذي يُخبرنا فيه أنّه على الرغم من كثرة الكُتب والمقالات التي صدرت في محاولة منح الفن تعريفاً مناسباً، جميعها فشلت، وأنّه لا يوجد منذ ظهر الفن وإلى اليوم تعريف شامل ومحدد المعالم بالإمكان إعتماده كـ تعريف رسمي للفن، في بادىء الأمر كانت المشكلة في ربط الفن بالجمال وإتباع قاعدة أن الشيء الجميل يعتبر فناً والعمل الذي لا يعكس جمالاً لا يعتبر فن، وهنا يرى تولستوي -وأتفق معه كلياً- بأنّه يجب فصل الفن عن الجمال ومحاولة تعريف الفن بناء على الفن وحده؛ولكن هل من الممكن فعل ذلك؟ إن فصل الفن عن الجمال أمر معقول، فـ المضمون يجب أن يطغى على النمط أو الشكل الخارجي للعمل الفني، لكن في هذه الحالة سيرتبط الفن بمقومّات أخرى كـ الأخلاق والوعي الديني، حتى تولستوي نفسه يعبر عن الفن الجيد بأنّه الفن النابع عن وعي ديني وأخلاقي والذي قد يوصل إلى الله أو يوحّد البشرية جمعاء، حتى أنّه يرى أن هدف الفن الأساسي هو الوحدة ونشر الأخوية بين البشر .إذن ما هي النظرية السائدة التي يرفضها تولستوي؟ فكرة أن ينشأ الفن من الجمال أو أن يعكس الجمال . تولستوي يرى أنها نظرية خاطئة . بالتالي ما هي نظريته البديلة ؟ الفن يجب أن ينشأ من الدوافع الدينية والقيم الأخلاقية التي تنبع من أعماق الإنسان . بالمعنى: إن رفضنا النظرية الأولى واتفقنا مع تولستوي واتخذنا النظرية الأخرى أن الفن نابع من أعماق الفنان الذي تحركه دوافعه الدينية والأخلاقية، ألا يجب أن يتحلى أيضاً بالجمال الروحي حتى ينتج عمل فني جيد وراقي ؟! بالتالي من الصعب جداً أن ننبذ نظرية الجمال والفن ونعتمد كلياً على نظرية الفن والأخلاق، أنا أرى أنّه بالإمكان دمج النظرتين واتخاذ مسار يجمع الفن بالجمال والأخلاق . يذكر بعدها تولستوي أمثلة عن الفن المعاصر -في تلك الفترة- وعلى ما يبدو بأنّه كان من الصعب أن يستوعب الشخص أو أن يفهم ذلك الفن، لأنه وببساطة لم يكن فناً أو عالأقل كان فناً سيئاً، والسبب وراء ذلك كما يرى تولستوي هو ظهور الطبقيّة، وكل ما كان يخدم الفن في تلك الفترة كان في الأصل لخدمة الطبقة العليا . وهنا يطرح تساؤل مهم : هل يوجد مبرر أخلاقي يسمح بتضييع حياة الناس وصرف كل هذه الأموال والموارد لإنتاج فن مثل هذا الفن الذي يعتبره فناً زائفا؟ وبالطبع ستكون الإجابة بـ لا . وفي الأمثلة التي ذكرها نجد ما يشبهها اليوم في وقتنا الحالي ما نسميه بـ "الفن التجاري" الفن الذي لا يحمل أي رسالة أو هدف أو قيمة سوى صرف المال والموارد واليد العاملة لإنتاجه وبعدها حصد الملايين من وراءه، وقد نتساءل جميعا حينما نرى شيئا مماثلا "هل فعلاً أضعت وقتي على هذا" ، "هل من الممكن أن ينتج أحدهم عملاً بهذا الشكل" وفي النهاية هذا التساؤل يوصلنا لنقطة معينة حول الفن وهي : أن كل ما نشعر به ويصلنا بالإمكان اعتباره فناً وغير ذلك يعتبر فناً سيئاً ؛ وهل يعتبر هذا صحيحاً فعلاً ؟! ربما .. لكن هنا أعود لنقطة "ما لا يعجبك، يعجب غيرك" إذن بالإمكان إرجاع السبب للذوق . ما هي طبيعة الفن عند تولستوي ؟ طبيعة الفن هي الأطروحة الأساسية في هذا الكتاب، ويرى تولستوي أن طبيعة الفن ببساطة هي نقل مشاعر الفنان إلى الآخرين، بمعنى أن الشخص يشعر بمشاعر معينة، تتمثل في عمل (قصيدة، رواية، لوحة، معزوفة موسيقية .. الخ)، يتلقاها الآخرين فيشعرون بشعور الفنان من خلال عمله فتتوحد مشاعرهم مع مشاعره . ليس مهم هنا أن يكون العمل جميل أو غير جميل بقدر ما يكون صادق ويؤثر في الآخرين . ومن هذه النقطة يقدم لنا تولستوي دليلاً مبسطاً نتعرف من خلاله على الفن الجيد وهو أن يتسم بميزات معينة: الصدق، الفردية والوضوح. بعدها يشير إلى نقاط مهمة ساهمت ولا زالت تساهم بطريقة سلبية جداً في صناعة الفن، كـ المدارس الفنية، يرى تولستوي أن المدارس الفنية غير جديرة وحتماً غير ضرورية لأن الفن لا يُعلّم، ويقتصر تعليم الفن على المدارس فقط بحيث يتعرف الشخص على مختلف الفنون وإن استشعر بأنّه يستطيع صناعة عملاً فنياً بإمكانه أن يعمل عليه لوحده، في هذه النقطة أتفق مع تولستوي لأن النقطة منطقية جداً، على سبيل المثال يقضي شخص 5 أو 6 سنوات في قراءة وتعلم طريقة كتابة كاتب مشهور، وبعدها يبدأ بكتابة كُتبه الخاصة، من الطبيعي جداً أن تتشابه كتاباته مع كُتب الكاتب الذي قضى سنوات في دراسه طرقه وتشبيهاته وأسلوبه .. بالتالي المدارس الفنية من الممكن أن تعدم مواهب حقيقة بجعلها تكرر أعمالاً ناجحة أخرى . في أجزاء أخرى من الكتاب، ينقد تولستوي أعمالاً فنية كبيرة وتشكل جزء مهم في تاريخ الفن، كـأعمال بتهوفن بعد إصابته بالصمم ويصفها من ضمن الفن السيء، وكـ أشعار بودلير وفارلان وغيرهم، ويستخدم الحجج والمبررات بمهاجمة هذه الأعمال بطريقة شرسة جداً، وهنا لا أتفق معه وليس بخصوص فنان معين ولكن بشكل عام في الطريقة التي يحاول فيها تحديد الجدارة في العمل الفني، بحيث تميل أكثر للتعبير عن ذوقه الشخصي . لا أكثر . هذا الكتاب الذي استغرق من صاحبة 15 سنة من التحقيق والتقصي والبحث، من الصعب استيعابه بشكل كلي أو محاولة تلخيصه، أكتب وأشعر بأنني أتحدث عن مليون فكرة وأن الفقرات غير مترابطة ببعضها، على كل حال أعتقد أن المغزى من الكتاب ليس أن تتفق معه في كل ما جاء به ولكن أن تتفق معه في جوهر الفن وطبيعته وأن لا تنخدع بالفن الزائف الذي أصبح صنعة يتداولها الجميع، بالإضافة لذلك الكتاب سلس وواضح، ومن المهم قراءته حيث يمنحك نظرة أخرى للفن من زاوية أكثر اعتدالاً .تمّت

  • Will
    2018-11-13 17:58

    "But if the majority do not understand, they must be given an explanation, the knowledge necessary for understanding. But it turns out that this knowledge does not exist, that the works cannot be explained, and therefore those who say that the majority do not understand good works of art give no explanations, but say that in order to understand one must read, look at, or listen to the same work over and over again. But this is not to explain, it is to make accustomed. And one can get accustomed to anything, even the worst."

  • خُزامَى
    2018-11-19 15:47

    اﻵن أستطيع تسمية تولستوي "نبي" بحق...، هذا الإنسان يكتب للجميع، واثق بأنه يكتب حقيقة مشاعره..تردد في الكتابة خمسة عشر عاما..ﻷنه لم يتم كل المعاني التي في عقله و روحه، من الصفحة اﻷولى بل السطر اﻷول تعلم أنه مليء باﻹنسانية، يضع نفسه مكان العامل و رئيس العمل و مكان المتلقي و مكان الفنان..اﻷجمل أنه ما ترك شيء في مجالات الفن في أهم اﻷزمنة إلا ما تحدث عنه، و عن فنانو و كتاب كل مجال، و تحدث برأي العامة و رأيه بكل صدق و نظر بمقياس الجمال و ﻷهم و أصدق محلليه، أيضا اقتباسات لبعض النصوص. .و مقارنتها ﻹظهار الفن الرديء و الجيد..و في كل مرة يكرر لقد شوهنا الفن..و تشوهت دواخلنا، لدرجة لم نفرق بينهما ...اﻹحساس و فهمنا للفن تكرر عشرات المرات..الفن الذي يصل الجمهور و يضحكه و يبكيه و يحركه كما يحرك الفنان أمامهم هو الفن البديع. الذي يفهمه الجميع، الطفل و النساء المزارع و الشيخ...أما ما تتخذه تلك الفئات مثل "الطبقات الغنية" و تمثله بأنه فن لا يفهمه غيرهم..هذا ليس فن فهو خال من المشاعر و اﻷحاسيس و الفهم، غامض ..جاف من الجمال و الحب. تولستوي ذكر قصة قصيرة :غناء فلاحات ترحيبا بابنته القادمة، و بنفس الليلة استمع لمعزوفة بيتهوفن في منزله و الفرق أنه شعر بغنائهم يتغلغل في أعماقه و يحركه ليبتسم و يرقص أما المعزوفة قليل من فهمها ...على الرغم من روعتها..لكن الناس أصبحت تهتم و تسمع و تقرأ لما يستمع له اﻷغلبية و ما يصرخ به الشارع من المشاهير.أيضا.. ذكر عدة أسماء شهيرة في الرسم، الموسيقى و الفلسفة و الشعر و اﻷدب..و أعطى رأيه لغموض ما يفعلوه و استفزازه للشهرة الواسعة لهم ....كنت أود كتابة شيء أعمق و أعرض من هذا النص عن دهشتي لهذا الكم الهائل من الصدق و العاطفة التي تمطر القارئ في كل صفحة ..لكن تراكم الكلمات و قراءتي المتقطعة تناثر الكلام و لم أتوفق . . .قال الفنان ستاسوف ف.ف. :"ماهو الفن بمثابة اكتشاف أمريكا بالنسبة إلى الفن "و في رسالته لتولستوي:"الكونت ليف نيقولايفيتش، منذ أن صدر كتابكم، و أنا أدرسه بغيرة، و لا أكف عن الافتتان به، كله تقريبا، أعتقد أنه دشن عهدا جديدا في الفن، ﻷنه يؤدي بعمق و قوة غير طبيعيين مهمة الكتب الفنية في زمننا، تبيان و عرض تلك الكمية الهائلة من اﻵراء الباطلة و اﻷفكار المزيفة التي تراكمت لقرون عديدة على الفن، و التي كانت تقيده أحيانا بأصفاد ثقيلة، تبيانها و عرضها على مرأى الجميع، و اليوم إذ قررت أن أطبع أرائي حول هذا الموضوع أعتبر نفسي سعيدا ﻷنك سمحت لي بأن أهديك عملي"

  • الخنساء
    2018-10-24 14:42

    تحدث تولستوي عن الفن والأخلاق رابطاً فيما بين الفن والأخلاق.أيضا علق كثيراً على فترة معينة في تاريخ أوروبا احتكرت فيها الطبقات الغنية الفن، وهو مستاء من ذلك وكثيراً ماكرر نقده لذلك في مواضع متعددة من الكتاب، بالنسبة لتولستوي فالفن والدين مرتبطين، ويجب إخضاع الفن للدين ليتم اخراج فنون عظيمة، الدين يجيب على الأسئلة المتعلقة بالغاية من الحياة وغيرها من الأسئلة الوجودية، فيهذب الإحساس ويربيه ويخضعه لغايات كبرى، بالتالي يولد القدرة على انتاج فن عظيم، أما بالنسبة للطبقات العليا الغنية فتولستوي يحكم على تدينها بالزيف والشكليات، وبالتالي فالفن الناتج من سيطرتهم على الفن ومجالاته هو فن غير حقيقي، ومصطنع، ولا ينقل الأحاسيس والمشاعر، ولا يتم تقديره بناءً على قدرته على إظهار المشاعر، إنما يكون معيار تقدير الفن هو المتع الشخصية ومخاطبته للغرائز، ويشير لمسئوليتهم في نشر العري في الفن كنتيجة لذلك، وفنهم كذلك استعراض للمهارات والقدرات، التي يبالغ تولستوي في التحقير من شأنها في صناعة الفن، محدداً الإحساس وحده معياراً لتثمين الفنون، محدداً فيما بعد أن الأحاسيس هي فقط المعترف بها، في مبالغة منه في تحديد المعايير!يفرق مابين فن الطبقات الغنية، والفن الشعبي الذي يرى أن الكثيرين نظرا لفساد ذائقتهم، نتيجة لعوامل أهمها تراجع الدين لدى المجتمع الأوروبي، فهم يعجزون كثيراً عن تقدير الفنون الشعبية، وتقييمها، وأخذها على محمل الجد، وادراك عظمة انتاجها، وتأثرهم بآراء النقاد الذي استلمهم بالنقد والسخرية أيضا، فيبدون إعجابهم بأعمال لا يفهمونها ولا تخاطب في أنفسهم شيئا، حتى يواكبوا آراء النقاد الذي يزعمون أنهم أكثر فهماً وعمقاً وتقديراً للفن من غيرهم! ويتجاهل الفن الشعبي الموصل للمشاعر والأحاسيس بصدق ومباشرة.لغته في الكتاب ساخرة، حادة وغاضبة في مواضع، يبالغ في مواضع، لكنه كتاب ممتع، مستفز للغاية لكن بشكل لذيذ سواء اتفقت معه، أو اختلفت معه، بقيت مستمتعة بكتابه، استفزازه جذاب وليس منفراً، عندما أتفق معه في موضع، اختلف معه بسرعة نتيجة للاثباتات والأدلة التي يحاول اقتطاعها من سياقها، ليثبت بها صحة فكرته، في نقطة تحديده للإحساس وحده معياراً لتثمين الفنون، شدد كثيراً حول هذه النقطة وسخف وتجاهل بقية المعايير، خصوصا المهارة والحرفية! ثم تولى بعدها تحديد هذه الأحاسيس والمشاعر وتقييدها كذلك، من يعرف نكتة أبو راشد وأبو صالح الشهيرة حول مناطق الدين الصحيح في العالم وتحديد من هم أهله، سيتذكر تولستوي في هذه النقطة :)

  • هالةْ أمين
    2018-11-14 12:37

    كتاب استغرق من صاحبه خمسة عشر عاما من البحث والدراسة والتقصي حتى يكتب ويجيب عن هذا السؤال بإلمام تام وبصورة تنم عن شبه رضا عما كتب وألفلهو جدير بأن يكون كتابا جيدًا وجدير بأن ينال التقييم العاليمن الصعب أن أوجز أهم محاور الكتاب وأن أجيب عن سؤاله ماهو الفن في أسطرٍ قليلةلكن يكفيك أن تعلم مدى إخلاص هذا الرجل اتجاه قضيته التي تبناها ومدى حبه لما يعمللقد اضطر أن يثقف ويعلم نفسه على مدى تلك السنين فيما يتعلق بأمور الفن من موسيقى وغناء ورسم ونحت وتمثيل وتأليفحتى يدرك جميع الوجوه وجميع المدارس ويلم أقصى إلمام ممكن لكي يكتب عن علمٍ ودارية بعيد عن التأويل والتجني والنقد الذي يقوم عن غير أسس واضحة أو علم أضف إلى هذا تميزه بالفكر المعتدل وتفانيه اتجاه قضايا وطنه وشعبه رغم شمولية سؤال ماهو الفن واعتبار ٢٦٥ صفحة قليلة في حقهإلا أن تولستوي عندما يكتب فهو لا يخص مؤلفاته بفئة معينة بل يريد أن تصل رسالته إلى الجميع من عامة الناس وخاصتهم سأورد لكم بعض الاقتباسات علها تكون دافعا حتى نقتني هذا الكتاب وبالأخص من قبل تلك الفئات التي برزت في مجتمعنا مؤخرا ممن اتخذوا الكتابة والتأليف هوايةغافلين عن مدى أهمية هذا النوع من الفن وأهمية الرسائل التي تصل عن طريقه..الحقيقة هي المعرفة الكاملة بوساطة العقل، وأما الخير فهو المعرفة الكاملة بوساطة الإرادة الأخلاقية.تسير البشرية دون توقف من ادراك الحياة الأدنى والأكثر ذاتية والأقل وضوحًا، إلى الإدراك الأسمى والأكثر عمومية والأكثر وضوحًا، والأديان هي مرشد ذلك الإدراك العالي للحياة.الخير هو هدف حياتنا الأبدي والسامي، وبغض النظر عن فهمنا للخير فإن حياتنا ماهي سوى الطموح نحو الخير يعني نحو الله. الخير هو ذلك الشيء الذي لم يحدده أحد لكنه يحدد كل الأشياء الباقية.إذا بدا لنا أنه لا وجود للوعي الديني في المجتمع، فإن ذلك لايبدو لنا بسبب عدم وجود هذا الوعي الديني فعلا، إنما بسبب عدم رغبتنا في مشاهدته والإعتراف به. ونحن لا نرغب في مشاهدته غالبًا لأنه يفضح غير المتفقة معه.إن رسالة الفن في زمننا تكمن في نقل الحقيقة من مجال العقل إلى مجال الأحاسيس الحقيقية التي تفيد بأن خير الناس ينحصر في وحدتهم وفي تثبيت المملكة الإلهية أقصد مملكة الحب التي تبدو لنا جميعًا بأنها أسمى هدف لحياة البشرية إن مهمة الفن هي تحقيق وحدة الناس الأخوية.

  • Asmae
    2018-11-10 10:34

    بدلا من الحصول على الطعام من الزراعة و تربية المواشي يمكن الحصول عليه في المختبرات بالوسائل الكيميائية و العمل الإنساني سيستبدل كلية بقوى الطبيعة المستعملة.لن يأكل الإنسان كما يفعل الآن البيضة التي تبيضها دجاجته أو الخبز من قمح حقله أو التفاح من تلك الشجرة التي اعتنى بها و سقاها سنوات عديدة و التي أيعنت و أثمرت أمام عينيه إنما سيأكل طعاما لذيذا مغذيا مستحضرا في المختبرات.و لن يكون الإنسان بحاجة إلى العمل لهذا فإن كل الناس سيكونون في وضع يسمح لهم بالإستسلام لذلك الخمول الذي استسلمت له الآن الطبقات الغنية الحاكمة.لا شيء كهذه المثل تبين مدى انحراف العلم عن طريقه الحقيقي.غير أن التغذية بالخبز و الخضار و الثمار التي زرعها الإنسان ورعاها بجهده في الحقل هي أكثر أنواع التغذية طيبة و عافية أنها تغذية طبيعية و سهلة و العمل من أجل تمرين العضلات هو شرط ضروري من شروط الحياة مثلة مثل تأكسد الدم بواسطة التنفس.إنهم يخترعون وسائل من شأنها أن تجعل الناس في ظل ذلك التوزيع الباطل للثروات والعمل قادرين على التغذية الجيدة بواسطة الأطعمة المجهزة كيميائيا ..إن اختراع هذه الوسائل شبيه باختراع وسائل ضخ الأكسجين إلى رئتي إنسان محجوز في مكان مغلق مشبع بهواء فاسد في حين أنه لا يلزم لذلك الإنسان إلا الخروج من ذلك المكان المغلق.

  • Ráid
    2018-11-15 11:57

    . اتخيل نفسي وأنا طفل واقف أمام نافذة تكثُف عليها البخار و تولستوي يمسح بكمّ قميصه على الزجاج حتى أستطيع أن أرى من خلاله مايراه هو بوضوح.اقرأوه يارفاق. أمّا أنا فقد وصلني إحساس ما أشعر بأني أعرفه جيداً داخلي عن الفن من قبل أن أتعلم القراءة.* يوجد نسخة إلكترونية من الكتاب، لكن اعتقد أنها ناقصة بعض الصفحات عند النهاية.

  • Sunny
    2018-11-02 17:02

    brillant and very challenging to what our conventional view of art is. Tolstoys main point is that the art that we see today (and in his time also) is on the whole very immitative and not true art. for him true is is when the artist feels something and wants to convey that through his work so that the person viewing it "feels" what the artist felt also. there are lots of other very challenging views in here which are very thought provoking. Some of my favourite bits: "But among these works of various kinds of art there is one in a hundred thousand which is not simply a little better than the others, but differs from all the rest in the way a diamond differs from glass.""In painting, such are all falsely religious and patriotic pictures, as well as pictures representing the amusements and delight s of exclusive, wealthy and idle living; and such are all so-called symbolic paintings, in which the very meaning of the symbol is accessible only to persons of a certain circle; and, chiefly, all paintings of sensual objects, all that outrageous female nudity which fills all exhibitions and galleries. To the same kind belongs almost all concert and operatic music of our time, beginning with Beethoven — Schumann, Berlioz, Liszt, Wagner — the content of which is accessible only to people who have cultivated in themselves a morbid nervous excitability aroused by this artificial and exceptionally complex music.""People say it is terrible and pitiful to look at little acrobats putting their legs behind their necks, but it is no less pitiful to look at ten-year-old children giving concerts, and still more so to see ten-year-old children who know by heart the exceptions of Latin grammar . . . But it is not only that these people are crippled physically and mentally — they are also crippled morally, becoming incapable of anything that is really necessary for people.""No situation is more harmful for artistic productivity than the situation of complete security and luxury in which artists usually live in our society. The artist of the future will live the ordinary life of a human being, earning his living by some kind of labor. "

  • Todd
    2018-11-06 11:40

    Tolstoy's work in aesthetics, What is Art? deals with two main issues: (1) Is there a moral justification for the lives, money, and resources spent in the artworld, and (2) What is the nature of art? Tolstoy claims that the nature of genuine art is to transfer feelings from the artist to others, thereby uniting the artist and audience; thus, art is a means of communion. And Tolstoy argues that there is no justification for most of what passes as art in the contemporary world. Most of it, he says, is for the sake of the rich, the idle, the elite. It is thus decadent "counterfeit art". It seeks to impress rather than to join ordinary people in their common good. Tolstoy infamously repudiates most of the art that has considered to be great throughout history (including his own War and Peace and Anna Karenina), and he calls for art that connects with ordinary people and which supports the religious conception of the age, which he takes to be the brotherhood of all people. Although What is Art? has many faults, it is much more valuable than many critics claim. I highly recommend it, for it stimulates one to think about the artworld in a new, helpful way.

  • David Withun
    2018-11-13 16:00

    There are two basic theses presented by Tolstoy here. The first is that the notion that art arises from beauty or reflects beauty is false. Having abandoned this idea of an intimate relation between art and beauty, Tolstoy seeks for the remainder of the book to present his alternative theory: that art arises out of the deepest and most authentic religious impulses of a people. My own assessment, very briefly, is that Tolstoy is almost certainly correct on the latter point (art arises out of religion, and the best art out of the purest religion) but I find his former point rather problematic. To separate beauty from art and religion is, it seems to me, a misstep, given the obvious relationship of the aesthetic to the spiritual impulse.

  • Nelson Ramos
    2018-11-04 13:03

    Acabei de ler agora mesmo o meu primeiro Livro de Leon (Liev. Leão) Tolstói. Numa primeira reação, respeito imenso as ideias que estão contidas no livro. Mas creio que esta maneira de escrever, esteja muito longe dos seus Romances que o tornaram famoso. Livros a ler! Mas neste não existe Romance!What is Art? - primeiro publicado em 1897 - é um pensamento filosófico puro sobre o que é a Arte por Tolstói, em que a busca na definição de beleza e o sentimento que ela deve provocar é o que necessário para ser arte. Também discute a arte como mecanismo de prosperidade, de evolução humana, pensamento baseado no Marxismo.Até ao sentimento mais mínimo - vamos pensar no átomo - que a arte faz sentir. Tolstói foi um génio não só da escrita, mas também na forma de escrever o pensamento em palavras. Talvez entender a sua vida seja uma forma de entender o homem que foi amado de tal forma, que podia escrever, num tempo de escalada do fascismo, o que pensava. Por isso fala logo que nesta edição que não temia a censura:"So the matter has remained. A book has appeared under my name containing thoughts attributed to me which are not mine."Ao ver a sua biografia e os seus ideais, compreendo ainda melhor o livro que acabei de ler. Não quero entrar na parte de educação ou a formação ao longo da sua vida.É importante para entender este livro saber apenas umas coisas do autor. Em primeiro lugar:Para Tolstoi, os Estados, as igrejas, os tribunais e os dogmas eram apenas ferramentas de dominação de uns poucos homens sobre outros, porém repudiava a classificação dos seus ideais como sendo anarquistas. Foi citado pelo escritor anarquista russo Piotr Kropotkin no artigo Anarquismo da Enciclopédia Britânica de 1911 e alguns pensadores o consideram como um dos nomes do Anarquismo cristão. Outra aproximação com o anarquismo se deu em 1862, quando Tolstoi, em viagem pela Europa, visitou o autor anarquista Proudhon. Este estava a escrever um texto chamado "La guerre et la paix", cujo título Tolstoi propositadamente utilizou no seu maior romance.Porque no pensamento sobre a arte Tosltói aprofunda o pensamento, o seu foco de quinze anos, nesse mesclar da filosofia pura com a arte religiosa. Criada pela adoração ao deuses desde o início dos tempos. Os Gregos já adoravam deuses e artefactos.Em segundo lugar, na verdade Tolstói no livro fala muito sobre a escola alemã de estudo da estética. Remete também para os escritores franceses, que no seu entender eram imitados. Tem um pensamento socialista e por isso deduzo que o ensaio tenha sido feita durante a sua Conversão.Pois fala muito mal da corrente renascentista, das classes mais altas da Europa que definiram arte num espectro de elitismo.Mas também fala da definição do belo e do sentimento de prazer. Procura tanto isso que procura entender porque as pessoas admiram arte religiosa. Mas a verdadeira impressão era a forma de como pensava que arte não podia ser apenas de um espectro. As massas teriam direito à arte, a contemplá-la:It is said that it is all done for the sake of art, and that art is a very important thing. But is it true that art is so important that such sacrifices should be made for its sake? This question is especially urgent, because art, for the sake of which the labor of millions, the lives of men, and, above all, love between man and man, are being sacrificed,—this very art is becoming something more and more vague and uncertain to human perception.Acaba por chegar a um ponto em que fala do futuro da arte como aproximação ao progresso humano, mas numa época em vivia, não saberia o futuro.Fala numa metáfora sobre as artes e a comida e como se relacionam. Porque ambas são uma necessidade.É uma explicação de arte muito distinta. Em se distingue as elites de uma forma a que as pessoas se habituam.The theaching of the schools stops there where the wee bit begins-consequently where art begins.Por que ele toca no ponto em que a humanidade conheceu a arte. Os escritores das epopeias, não receberam nenhum dinheiro pela sua escrita e pela sua obra. Enquanto na sociedade da época era típico haver artistas que recebiam. Mais uma questão filosófica de Tolstói.A crítica da arte não existe e eu concordo com ele. Analisar a arte é o mesmo que entender o cosmos: não resposta [pelo menos cientificamente plausível].A obra é toda uma crítica à arte em si mesmo. Porque ele afirma que arte não se ensina. É impossível ensinar a arte a um homem. O que parece ser contraditório - e é - Mas faz sentido na ideia do autor e em tudo que ele expõe.Mas sempre num tom muito crítico em que crítica o próprio Wagner e a sua estrutura de compor que estabeleceu uma música impossível. Porque entre música e poesia apenas uma das formas de arte é que produz o efeito de prazer. Naquele tempo ele considerava que as classes mais altas consideravam certa arte como boa, mas na verdade não era. Para isso fala em três condições para a arte ser pura:On the greater or lesser individuality of the feeling transmittedon the greater or lesser clearness with which feelings is transmitted on the sincerity of the artist. Em conclusão, não é que não tenha percebido Tolstói neste primeiro li que li: Talvez a escolha é que não seja a mais adequada para conhecer um autor tão conhecido. Durante a Conversão. Tolstói passou de um escritor frequentador das maiores classes Europeias, para uma Quinta no campo a criar galinhas e coelhos. Quinze anos a escrever sobre um assunto ao qual não encontrou resposta pois procurava as perguntas em temas frágeis como o anarquismo e o cristianismo. Talvez isto sejam apenas pensamentos de um homem idoso e cansado da cabeça que não parava de questionar os assuntos fundamentais e que pode levar à loucura. Mas numa coisa Tosltói acertou no livro a Arte aproximou-se mais da Ciência. Recomendo Vivamente a leitura. [ver texto com imagens em http://artedeseexprimir.blogspot.pt/2...]

  • James Klagge
    2018-11-14 15:35

    Not an engaging book--more like a diatribe by an Old Testament prophet. Tolstoy here is an old depressed curmudgeon heaping scorn on all the "art" that we hold dear. It was written toward the end of his life, after he had rejected much of his own great work, and here added to that a wholesale rejection of the pillars of Western culture (pp. 96-97)--Greek tragedians, Dante, Milton, Shakespeare, Bach, Beethoven (he singles out the 9th for detailed discussion, and hates the late quartets), Wagner (he singles out the Ring Cycle, pp. 103-112), but virtually all music, Michelangelo (especially the Last Judgment), Goethe, etc. Wow!He begins by trying to answer "What is Art?" He considers a number of suggestions, including approximations to some ideal form, and what produces pleasure. He definitely severs art from the attempt to create beauty. His own answer is not any sort of characterization of how people use the term (since he believes our modern aesthetic senses are mostly thoroughly perverted--in fact, he seriously compares art as we know it to prostitution, p. 150). Instead he claims that (pp. 39-40) art is what expresses feelings the artist has experienced and which infects others with those feelings and gets them to experience them. He repeats this formulation with slight variations numerous times--indeed there is a lot of repetition in the book. Real art expresses feelings that are universal, not limited to a certain culture or class. Oddly, he thinks that religious feelings are prime candidates for this, and he in fact says often that Christianity is the source of these religious feelings, because it aims for universal application. But he does NOT mean the established church, but the deeper ideas behind it. He certainly has latched onto something--experiences that broadly move people. (On p. 37 he calls art a "means of communion among people.") But then he defines that as art, and dismisses everything else that might have claimed that label.A crucial point for Tolstoy is that art is universally understood (pp. 79-83). Therefore he dismisses any elitist art that only those with finer sensibilities can get. He heaps ridicule on this approach, and thinks most all that goes under the label of art is an enormous waste.He sometimes says a bit about what IS art by his lights, and it is a mundane lot of things that include (p. 41) lullabies, jokes, home decor, utensils, ceremonies, solemn processions, traditional folk tales and folk songs. As to whether anything traditionally thought of as art remains, he mentions a few things (p. 132), such as Hugo's Les Mis, Dostoevsky's House of the Dead, some Dickens. As for his own work, in a footnote he mentions only two of his Twenty Three Tales ("God Sees the Truth, but Waits" and "Prisoner of the Caucasus"). Toward the end Tolstoy blames the deterioration of art on the deterioration of science. And he has a similarly implausible account of science--the study of what will benefit human life. So "science" becomes a practical enterprise which leaves no room for theoretical concerns that would not pertain to the common man. In a way, this book is a bit like Plato's Republic, with its rejection of nearly all art, and its endorsement of a kind of social engineering. The last comparison that occurred to me was that Tolstoy sounds like a precursor to Wendell Berry. Not a particularly enjoyable read--but interesting for its single-mindedness, and its dedication to following out an idea to its bitter end. And it does feel bitter.I read the book b/c Wittgenstein discusses the issue of whether people understand his work and he mentions Tolstoy. I figured out that this book by Tolstoy is likely what he was referring to, with Tolstoy's insistence that a real work of art must be understood by all. If Wittgenstein was referring to this work, it raises interesting issues for thinking about Wittgenstein further. There is also the connection that "art" would seem to be a perfect illustration of Wittgenstein's point that we can't generally give an essential definition of a term, but can rest content with tracing the resemblances that its various uses have. Tolstoy takes a more Socratic view that there must be an essential definition, and a more Platonic view that a definition can run contrary to what people might have supposed (like Plato's definition of Justice). (Cf. p. 34) Finally, Wittgenstein expressed a special fondness for Tolstoy's Twenty Three Tales.

  • Fraser Kinnear
    2018-11-16 17:55

    The tl;drQ: What is art?A: "To call up in oneself a feeling once experienced and, having called it up, to convey it by means of movements, lines, colors, sounds, images expressed in words, so that others experience the same feeling - in this consists the activity of art. Ar is that human activity which consists in one man's consciously conveying to others, by certain external signs, the feelings he has experienced, and in others being infected by those feelings and also experiencing them."p.39-40)It seems like the definition of art to Tolstoy is pretty obvious, and he devotes pretty much the whole book to not building to this definition, but instead stating it and then spending the rest of the book explaining why everything else (other definitions as well as art that doesn't conform to his definition) is so bad.Tolstoy decided to write this book in response to a bloating and degrading of art in world. He saw a separation of values between the wealthy upper class (the "leisure class") and everyone else. According to old Count T., the wealthy upper class of Europe stopped believing in Christianity, and converted the Church into a mechanism of control that could sustain their economic position. Then, the resulting materialistic values drove a demand for lesser art (p.44-48,147). This lesser art had some common traits:-it's intellectual focus made it obscure and unrelatable (p.63-65), -it espoused values only held by the wealthy minirities, like "honor, patriotism, and amorousness") (p.57)This was summed up well -it is focused on amusement, which runs the risk of becoming boring and therefore has to be transformed into a new form to sustain interest (p.71-72)Tolstoy goes through reams of examples, not only of art but the bad philosophy that is trying to define art in such a way that includes this bad art. A lot of this is really funny - Tolstoy is a sassy bitch sometimes, and takes a lot of holy cows to task, such as the ancient Greeks ("small, half-savage, slave-owning people two thousand years ago" p.51) and later Beethoven ("...he is growing deaf, he cannot hear and is beginning to write totally contrived, unfinished and therefore often meaningless, musically incomprehensible works."). He devotes an entire chapter to shitting on Wagner (p.101-112).Late in the book, Tolstoy proposes what he believes the purpose of art is:And just as in the evolution of knowledge- that is, the forcing out and supplanting o fmistaken and unnecessary knowledge by truer and more necessary knowledge - so the evolution of feelings takes place by means of art, replacing lower feelings, less kind and less needed for the good of humanity, by kinder felings, more needed for that good. This is the purpose of art. And therefore art is better in its content in so far as it turns this purpose better, and is worse in so far as it fulfils it less. (p.123-124).Tolstoy's other important point is connecting art with the spiritual, which he calls "Christian" art. Art, all art, has in itself the property of uniting people... But non-Christain art, by uniting certain people with each other, thereby separates them from otehr people, so that this partial union often serves not only as a source not only of disunity but of hostility towards other people. Such as all patriotic art, with its hymns, poems, monuents; such is all Church art - that is, the art of particular cults, with its icons, statues, processions, services, churches; such is military art; such is all refined art, essentially depraved, accessible only to people who oppress others, people of the idle, wealthy classes." (p. 129). It's ironic that, by calling this universal art "Christian", Tolstoy automatically segregates it from the majority of the world's population (which isn't Christian). And while this feels like a persuasive point to make, I don't know how or where it's possible. What example of art anywhere has this power of uniting everyone? Perhaps it's the time that we live in, but even within my own country, I have trouble picking out art that hasn't been colored by our culture in some way to separate people. I suppose that just speaks to how poisonous and segregated I feel our culture is today.I'm not sure where I land with this book in terms of agreement, but it sure was interesting, and still feels relevant today.

  • Pavel
    2018-10-22 12:39

    - What has started as a religious and folk art, turned into art for rich estates. Art for rich people is what gives them some sort of pleasure (different kinds of beauty)- Religious art was pushed aside and all money, critics, art schools were concentrated in art for rich estates.- True art has to express some feeling that was experienced by an artist him/herself, while art for rich estates demands beauty and grace, each time more and more sophisticated.- That art for rich estates, which nowdays is treated as only art, has no connection with true folk's art, it is known only by insignificant number of people and in reality is a fake art.- It corrupts ordinary people severely when they are touched by that fake art.- Since number of people who understand art of rich estates is so insignificant, it has no meaning at all, despite what is being attributed to it. Those elitists who claim art to be a privilege for Nitcshian' superhumans, are more sincere then those who say that art has some positive impact on people in general.- As a result modern art describes only vanity, melancholy and lust .- Art for those rich estates is only amusement, something to kill tons of free time those people have and hide their laziness and idleness.- Any amusement tends to get old at some point so those people are always looking for new kinds of amusement. In the end they reached a place where there were no new kinds, so they declare there's nothing more to create and started to look for new forms of amusement instead of kinds. Someone takes some unusual form, renews it with porno details, which weren't allowed before and art lovers declare such inventor a great writer.- At the same time there's no reason to abuse such inventor: even if we don't like what he's doing and do like what has been doing before and we will start to criticize him from the hights of Leonardo, Bach or someone else, we will only look from previous art positions, which are still obscure for majority of people.- Art becomes obscure or even ceases to be an art when it has one goal - to entertain rich estates. The problem is that it is very hard goal: those people are world-weary and it is impossible to create even lowest kind of art without some kind of inner ability. That's why people who produce such art have to create new ways to make something that at least looks like art. Those ways are: borrowing, imitation, amaziness and amusement.- Talented people are no rarity at all. There's nothing special about them. For Tolstoy to be a true artist man has to have the highest level of outlook for his time, has to experience some feeling and has to have potential and desire to express that feeling and also a talent to do it.- What really happens is that a young man creates something, driven by his feeling, his work becomes well-known and critics are saying that his work is not bad but it isn't on the same level as Dante or Beethoven or Raphael and the artist starts to imitate those who were held up as an example. His work will be very poor now, mainly it will be fake art.- Main feature of a great art is a contagion, when recipient gets some feeling from an artist. That can happen when artist's feeling was very special, very clear and very sincere.- Tolstoy treats his own books as a bad kind of art, for the rich people.

  • Miguel
    2018-10-25 17:47

    O que é e quais são os requisitos mínimos para que algo produzido por alguém ou pela natureza, seja um quadro, uma música, um livro, seja designado como obra de arte? Como distinguir a arte sublime da cópia ou da falsa arte? Qual o valor da arte? Respostas a estas e outras perguntas sobre Arte, que estetas e pensadores ao longo dos séculos tentaram encontrar uma solução, são abordadas numa obra de carácter ensaístico sobre um tema que «me é próximo — a arte», diz Tolstói, o autor do livro O Que é a Arte?, obra que, pelo autor russo, foi moldada ao longo de quinze anos e originalmente publicada em 1898.A arte influencia a forma como vemos, ouvimos, sentimos e raciocinamos sobre as coisas comuns do nosso quotidiano. Segundo o autor de Anna Karenina a arte influencia, mas (TEXTO COMPLETO em http://silenciosquefalam.blogspot.pt/...)

  • Ryan
    2018-10-27 12:47

    Art is an infection of feeling and experience. Despite the title and author, this is a down to earth layman's discussion on the definition of art. You don't need to have any particular passion for the arts to enjoy this book. It's more about art's impact on societal issues. You will never go to a museum or art gallery and see things the same afterwards.

  • Brian
    2018-10-26 10:34

    Just read it. If you come up with a better definition than old Leo's, let me know.

  • Ali Ghasempour
    2018-11-05 17:42

    من به ندرت نقدی از آثار هنری خوانده‌ام که شالوده آن بر پایه نظر تولستوی در این کتاب باشد؛ در واقع از نظر تولستوی، زیبایی، هدف فعالیت هنری نیست، مثالی که در این زمینه می‌زند این است که اگر مقصد و رسالت هنر را در لذت حاصله از آن بدانیم، مانند اینست که منظور و ارزش غذا را در لذت ناشی از خوردن آن بدانیم. از نظر او، «به همان سان که سخن، افکار و تجارب انسانها را انتقال می‌دهد و برای اتحاد و همبستگی افراد وسیله‌ای به شمار می‌رود، هنر نیز چنین کاری را انجام می‌دهد. صفت ویژه این وسیله ارتباط، که آن را از وسیله دیگر یعنی سخن متمایز می‌سازد، این است که انسان به یاری کلام افکار خویش، و توسط هنر احساسات خود را به دیگری انتقال می‌دهد. هرگاه انسانی احساسسی را با نگاه و به یاری اصواتی که ایجاد کرده‌است، مستقیم و بلافاصله، در آن لحظه که احساس را تجربه می‌کند، آن را به دیگری یا دیگران سرایت دهد....هنر نیست. هنر این است که انسانی آگاهانه و به یاری علائم مشخصه ظاهری، احساساتی را که خود تجربه کرده‌است به دیگران انتقال دهد، به طوریکه این احساسات به ایشان سرایت کند و آنها نیز آن احساسات راتجربه نمایند و از همان مراحل حسی که او گذشته است بگذرند».هبه نظر من، روح کلی این اثر تولستوی، کاملا مشابه زندگی خود ِ اوست؛ ساده، اما بزرگ؛ هر چند شاید بتوان گفت اکنون به کناری نهاده شده‌است: «موضوعات بزرگ هنری، فقط بدین دلیل بزرگ است که قابل فهم و ادراک همگان است...بدین جهت با فعالیت عقلی که نیازمند آمادگی و توالی مخصوص معلومات است تفاوت دارد...کار هنر این است: آنچه را ممکن است در قالب استدلال و تعقل، نامفهوم و دور از دسترس باقی بماند، مفهوم سازد و در دسترس همه مردم قرار دهد. معمولا، وقتی انسان تاثری را که حقیقتا هنری است می‌گیرد، تصور می‌کند این حالت را قبلا در خود احساس می‌کرده، اما از بیان آن عاجز بوده است».هبعد از تولستوی، اینشتین-فیزیکدان بزرگ- چنین نظری را راجع به علم بیان داشت؛ وقتی که می‌گفت وقتی می‌توانم بگویم چیزی را فهمیدم که بتوانم آن را برای مادربزرگم نیز توضیح دهم...نظر اینشتین قطعا مبالغه‌آمیز بود، امروزه نیز کمتر کسی درست و حسابی نظریات او را می‌فهمد، حتی کسانی که فیزیک عمومی را در سطح دانشگاه، فراگرفته‌اند؛ اما نظر تولستوی درباره هنر را... به نظر من آن هم کمی مبالغه است، هرچند خودم بسیاری از آثار هنری را نمی‌فهمم و خیلی دوست دارم آنها را چرت یا درِ پیت بدانم!ه

  • Jeff
    2018-10-23 12:01

    I'm gonna break from tradition and actually write about what i liked rather than just trying (and failing) to express how, where, and why i was amused while reading & thinking about this book.First of all, i was very amused at many points. Tolstoy's ideas about art amuse me when he gets all, "This is Good and that is Bad." Cracks me up, but i also feel like i understand why he felt that way. And i appreciate his ideals.I can't imagine anybody else would ever make this comparison, but David Sklansky and Tolstoy have a lot in common. And Sklansky's DUCY? has a lot in common with What Is Art? (in addition to both titles being questions). They're both egotists, but i attribute that to both being true geniuses (note: Tolstoy's > Sklansky's). They're both ridiculously opinionated. Perhaps it's a function of egotistical genius? Both books ostensibly are about a topic/idea that the author says is more important than himself, but nothing is more evident in the work than the author, his ideas, his beliefs, his feelings, his prejudices, his quirkiness. ("All geniuses are alike; every idiot is idiotic in his own way"?!)I was edified by his concept of art without being able to grasp exactly what he meant. He spent a lot of time explaining how the prevailing and older definitions were unhealthy, wrong, incomprehensible (one of his favorite words, i think), or vapid. But his definition fails to get fully outside of his own head (soul) and into mine. I'll never be able to apply T's definition and know how he would've assessed it. The example that kept going through my head was The Third Policeman, which is one of my newest All Time Favorite Books. I can't imagine Tolstoy thinking it's not just a waste of words and paper and people's time, but then when he describes the effect of a great work of art on the recipient of that art as being akin to feeling you KNOW the artist and FEEL the artist acutely ... that's EXACTLY what i loved so much about Flann O'Brien's book! How to reconcile this?Well, here's how i boil it down. When T writes about bad art (i.e., that which isn't really art but that some people call art for lack of understanding T's definition of true art), i can read that as "art that isn't the greatest, that doesn't rise to the highest heights of artistic achievement." When he writes about Good Art (or true art), i can read that to mean his very favorite works of art, the stuff that moved him with what felt like personal perfection, the stuff he wishes in his wildest fantasies he could've produced personally. Bottom line is that Tolstoy doesn't want us (Humanity) to waste any time on anything that's less than the greatest but he refuses to understand that the reception of art is not as universal as his system claims it is (or should be).OK, enough of that sincerity and straightforwardness ... let's get to me trying to be witty with even less content about the book i read.Even as a former adherent of Art For Art's Sake, i gobbled up T's deconstruction of that aesthetic. I don't agree with every assault against it, but he managed to show me the Badness/Wrongness of the elitism i once openly defended as being Good/Right.The Big T, if he were still alive and a friend of mine, would hate me for saying this, but ... this book was interesting and pleasing. (those who've read it will get the gist of that comment)To clear the air, i did write in a previous review something like "i'll probably never read lit crit ever again" and now here i've gone and read Harold Bloom and this little tome, too. Sue me! I'm an addict or something.I don't agree with Tolstoy's underlying and overarching theses but i like the goal of this work: encourage people to be more Human and less Subhuman in everything they do. Tolstoy's personal assessment of how to achieve that honorable and lofty goal was (evidently) to eschew corporal satisfaction. Don't eat meat. Don't have sex. And labor physically, strenuously, rigorously.Along the way, he developed his particular definition of Art. THE CONCLUSION is all about "science" but, to paraphrase Inigo Montoya (the oft besotted swordsman of The Princess Bride), "I do not think that word means what Tolstoy thinks it means." He seems to think Science's purpose is to determine "how people should live in order to fulfil their destiny." Put slightly differently a few paragraphs later, "the proper activity of genuine science is not the study of something we have accidentally become interested in {OK, good enough; nobody's really gonna dispute that}, but of how human life should be arranged—the questions of religion, morality, social life, without resolving which all our knowledge of nature is harmful and worthless." Hmmm ... now you got me wanting to write a book about how goofy you were, T.Big T feels that Good Science begets Good Art and that Good Art will lead people forward toward its inexorable goal of perfection. Allow me a slight tangent. I think that T did not agree with Darwin's dangerous idea. And the ideas in his CONCLUSION about science (especially the quote in this para) seem to confirm that he truly believes a frequent misinterpretation about natural selection, namely that Nature somehow has a "purpose" or a "goal" toward which the evolution of species is heading.A couple great quotesI had an inkling of being able to start a story withAnd so, as a result of the unbelief and the exclusive life of the upper classes, the art of these classes became impoverished in content and was all reduced to the conveying of the feelings of vanity, the tedium of living and, above all, sexual lust. (p.63)Is there a funnier sentence in the history of nonfiction than the one with which he concludes his epic 4-page summary of Wagner's Der Ring des Nibelungen?...incomplete as {my retelling} may be, it is certain to be incomparably better than the impression one gets from reading the four booklets in which {the opera} has been published. (p. 176)

  • Peter Landau
    2018-11-11 16:43

    You think you’re an artist? You’re no artist, punk! That’s what Leo Tolstoy says in his essay WHAT IS ART? He dismisses everyone from Dante, Michelangelo, Shakespeare, Beethoven, Baudelaire, Wagner to even some of his own writings as counterfeit. For Tolstoy art is twofold, an expression of divine devotion and brotherly love. It is not overly complex or striving for beauty, but a simple and pure emotion of the artist that has never been shared before. For Tolstoy only that of God can be infinitely new. Though his God is Christian, it isn’t often aligned with what he considers so-called religious works of the church. He dismisses all you charlatans! Only the poor working peasants know art, not the upper classes who have co-opted art and corrupted it with their perverted ways. Tolstoy reads like a nut, both Christian mystic and communist sympathizer, with a narrow definition of art that he champions as a moral imperative. Your stinking false art isn’t only bad, it’s dangerous. It’s polluting society. It’s even corrupting science, which he sees as connected to art as heart is to lungs. Both must serve the good of the person, not some esoteric navel-gazing. What a bummer. I like bad art.

  • Kennedy Ifeh
    2018-11-06 17:44

    What is Art by Leo Tolstoy presents Tolstoy’s views on the question of what a good work of art should entail. The book attacks the foundation of modern art. It gives flesh to my own critical impressions about contemporary literature, which has become synonymous with poetry, style, beauty and all sort of nonsense.True to Tolstoy, the book starts with details of his own experience. He attends a rehearsal of one of the ordinary new operas of his days. He recounts that the event made no impression in him. He goes ahead to cite philosophical definition of arts by renown writers and philosophers of the 19th century. After which he carefully filters off any definition that tend to link art with beauty, pleasure and metaphysics. He draws a straight line, aligning the truth in all the researched definitions, to arrive at his own definition of art:“To call up in oneself a feeling once experienced and, having called it up, to convey it by means of movements, lines, colours, sounds, images expressed in words, so that others experience the same feelings.”He goes further to draw a historical link to prove that humanity started getting it wrong from the times of ancient Greek (Aristotle, Socrates etc), when good is mistaken for beauty.From this premise, Tolstoy begins to attack the work of contemporary artist, which are full of prose, adultery, sexual lust, pride, etc. ‘Counterfeit art is like a prostitute, who must be decked out.’ Contemporary work of art is often judged good because it is 1. Poetic 2. Realistic 3. Effectual 4. Interesting etc. He goes ahead to cite some poems which are apparently incomprehensible. Tolstoy opines that it is the infectiousness of good art that distinguishes the good from the bad art. To him, art is all about the communion of souls, fostering unity of mankind, uniting men in love and brotherhood. In this context, he praised the work of Homer, Charles Dickens, Victor Hugo, George Elliot and Dostoyevsky (House of the Dead). He took a swipe at Shakespeare, Pushkin, Marx, Beethoven, Dante, Plato etc. He calls on the effort of everyone, who wish to live a good life, to be directed towards destroying bad arts. ‘Good art is the spiritual organ of human life, and it cannot be destroyed.’ In Tolstoy’s opinion, a work of art is either good according to the measure of religious consciousness that it contains. To the extent that it can destroy the separation between the feelings of the artist and receiver. ‘The stronger the infection, the better the art is art, regardless of its content.The concluding chapter of the book links art to science. The reason for this link, as explained by Tolstoy is that, ‘true science introduces into human consciousness the truths and the knowledge which are regarded as most important by the people of a certain period and society.’ With this definition, Tolstoy took a swipe at modern science. The bases of his criticism are premised on the fact that the plethora of problems that modern science occupies itself to solve is not necessary. In Tolstoy’s view, the things which are necessary are within and around us. Scientist only needs to look within to focus on the fundamental problems that affect mankind, to understand the basics of true science. He maintains that a perverted perception of art is the cause of a perverted application of science.I agree with almost everything Tolstoy says in this book. My only alteration would be in substituting the word ‘Christian consciousnesses’ with the word ‘moral consciousnesses’, as the bases of art. In contemporary times, one need not look too far to see the contradictions of modern literature, for example. Reading through stories which are awarded annually by prestigious awards these days, one cannot agree less with Tolstoy. Modern literature is perverted, incomprehensible and above all, immoral.

  • Katy
    2018-11-16 15:46

    I read this because it was mentioned in the end notes for Anna Karenina. This book summarizes fifteen years of Tolstoy's pondering the questions, "What is Art?" "What is the current state of artistic expression in Western Culture?" and "What should art be?"First question: What is Art? The book begins with Tolstoy summarizing the philosophical discussions and attempts at definition up to that time. He finds that the idea of "beauty" has derailed the discussion, and dismisses beauty as mere pleasure. To Tolstoy, art is "that human activity which consists in one man's conveying to others, through certain external signs, the feelings he has experience, and in others being infected by those feelings and also experiencing them."Second question: What is the current state of art in Western culture? Tolstoy says that it is in a very bad state, indeed. The vast majority of art since the late middle ages, he says, has been produced by the ruling classes for the primary purpose of inducing pleasure in an ever more exclusive audience. "Art" has become a commodity, and the producers of art - both the creators and those who labour behind the scenes to bring about production - serve no good end other than to amuse a corrupt, idle class of elite consumers. This is probably the most interesting part of the book, in which Tolstoy gives numerous examples of degenerate "art" that was lauded by the educated elite, explaining in great detail all the ways in which such art is false and perverted. There is a very amusing description of his attending a performance of the second night of Wagner's Ring Cycle. He then explains the harmful effects such art has on its audience. Third question: What should art be?Art should express the religious consciousness of our time, which he says is a "true Christianity" of man's increasing unity and love for one another. Art should either express man's relationship to God (and, therefor, their brother man), or it should express virtuous emotions common to all men. Such art must also be comprehensible to all people, of every class, creed, and nation. Tolstoy ends the book discussing what he predicts the art of the future will be: Christian, egalitarian, spontaneous, and not produced by professional artists but rather by ordinary labourers, as they feel inspired to do so.I greatly enjoyed reading this book, and was "with" Tolstoy for a good portion of the book. His arguments on the falseness of art and the bad effects it has on culture seemed convincing to me. However, by the time he was describing what art needs to be, he'd lost me. It sounds as if art in his ideal future will be folk songs and virtuous ballads, with a bit of ornamented craft here and there. That sounds awfully dull, but then I may be a hopelessly depraved, over-educated pervert.

  • Aya
    2018-10-29 09:57

    The first time I read Tolstoy I wanted to throw up. We have a collection of his "Short Fictions" and there were a few passages about women that made me feel uniquely uncomfortable. There's a lot of anxious power behind his words (reading him in the original must feel like falling down a staircase) This is an extremely well written book at times but also, ridiculous. The vivisection of Wagner and Beethoven leave us..miffed. Yes at times he is right (should Wagner be included in the canon? I am not always sure) about the dismissive nature of the label 'great literature' 'great art' and even 'art' but, living as we do in the 21st century I think we can easily dismiss his hopes for a popular culture. There is nothing wrong with the examination of What is Art? What is it, after all? But Tolstoy makes a few mis-steps in his decision to find something moral and sentimental and evocative artistic. My mother, for example, is often moral, sentimental and evocative--but she doesn't deserve to be called art. (She is 'artful' and I think this is an interesting argument he doesn't fully explore) And of course, the emotional surges that the writing rises and falls with lay open a larger, perhaps more interesting issue, of the artist's separation from art. How can creators view the rest of creation? Their own creation? And there is a distinct alienation here, I think, between the writer and the forms he has known. There is a reliance upon the Christian faith but an absence of true spiritual connection to it. Compare the writing of "Mere Christianity" or "The Problem of Pain" to this. That, to me then, is interesting. If artists, as creators, are driven into a more complex relationship with reality but also with God, because of their own imaginative and authorial forces? (Coledridge linked imagination to 'to infinite I am who am' and Blake supports a thorough examination of reality through narrative structure...I think there's something interesting at work here, where Tolstoy seems to only see darkness)