Definition of the terms of the subject : Is the artist master of his work ?
In the introduction, after the introduction and the putting into perspective of a paradox, it is good to recall a general definition of the terms. However, this definition will have to be refined as the assignment progresses, according to the evolution of the parts.
Artist: 1. a person who creates works with aesthetic qualities that do not correspond to his or her conception of art. 2. an artisan or practitioner who demonstrates great talent in his or her work (Dictionary of the French Academy)
Master: Generally, 1. a person who directs others according to his will, who holds men and places under his authority
(Dictionary of the French Academy)
Work: Generally, 1. that which is realized, created,
accomplished by work, activity, and which, generally, remains, subsists (Dictionnaire de l’Académie française).
Issue: Is the artist master of his work?
The problematic must deal with the underlying question of the subject. As a student, you must ask yourself: why did the examiner pose this subject?
In this case, there seems to be, from the very terms of the subject, an opposition between the artist and his work: the artist and his work are distinct, and do not seem to belong together.
The artist is the one who creates the work; however, in this subject “Is the aristo master of his work ?”, the work is posed as independent of the artist, as if it did not belong to the artist anymore.
On the contrary, would the work be master of the artist? The work “holds [right] men under its authority”, in this case its very author.
Plan : Is the artist master of his work ?
I. The artist remains the creator of his work (it is the artist who shapes, who gives life to the work)
II. The work imposes itself on the artist (the work also shapes the artist, by the mark it leaves on him)
III. The work of art is the non-mortal home of mortal beings.
Development: Is the artist master of his work?
I. The artist remains the creator of his work
Aristotle deals implicitly with the work in The Poetics, by opposing poetry (philosophical, of the general) and chronicle (less noble, of the particular): “it emerges clearly that the role of the poet is to say not what really took place, but what could take place in the order of the plausible or the necessary
It is Kant who in 1790 in Critique of the faculty of judge theorizes the work of art as product of the nature. “Art is distinguished from nature as doing (angering) is distinguished from acting or performing in general (acting), and the product or consequence of art is distinguished as a work (opus) from the product of nature as an effect (actual).”
→ Summary of Treatise on Pedagogy – Immanuel Kant
Are opposed in work (opus) effect (effect) which refer respectively to the product of art, and the product of nature.
For Kant, “nature gives art its rules,” that is, effects (effective), products of nature, are superior to works (opus),
to a certain extent.
II. The work imposes itself however to the artist
This role of the work in the creation of the artist is highlighted by Alain in System of the fine arts. The human being creates only from
from his work: it is his work which tells him how it must be made. To simply understand this idea of Alain, imagine yourself drawing. You draw some shapes, a circle, a square. Then, contemplating your work, or rather the beginnings of your work,
you feel that a pencil stroke here or there would be a good addition to the drawing. You stop again, and instinctively, in view of your work, you continue in this direction rather than another.
It is by doing his work that the artist creates his work, that he shapes his work differently. Alain says in this regard: “the supreme law of human invention is that one invents only by working.”
It is in this, moreover, that the artist is an artist rather than a craftsman: because “the idea comes to him as he makes,” he is “a spectator of his work in the process of being born.”
III. The work of art is the non-mortal homeland of being mortal.
Hannah Arendt in Condition of Modern Man offers another view: “In the case of works of art, reification is more than a transformation; it is a transfiguration”
“Works of art are objects of thought, but they are no less objects.”
The work of art is thus posed against an ordinary use of the object, and the needs of the man. It is not a question of “to be useful” of a work of art.
The art is permanent: this immortality is not the immortality of the man, but of the creation of the hands of the man. In that, Hannah Arendt says that the work of art is an “immortal thing accomplished by mortal hands”.
2 thoughts on “Is the artist master of his work?”
I too spoke of the unconscious and of all the determinisms that weighed on man and therefore on the artist like society for example. I don’t think that’s completely wrong. Anyway in philosophy, there is no standard copy expected, it is the reasoning that is evaluated!
Hello, In my third part, I spoke about the unconscious. I explained that Art could be the expression of the unconscious (example: Dali), without the artist necessarily being aware of it. That by definition the artist does not control the unconscious and that in this perspective he was therefore not the master of his work. In no correction did I see the unconscious as part of the answer. Do you think that’s off topic or even just plain wrong? THANKS 🙂
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