Jacques Maritain. The A.W. Mellon Lectures in the Fine Arts.
10-second review: Creative intuition is the seed of art and poetry. Poetry is a process in communication between the artist and the inner spirit of the objects outside the artist. Oriental art concentrates on the inner spirit of the object, not inner spirit of the artist. Western art has developed in focus from the outside object to the inner consciousness of the artist’s mind.
Sample quotes and ideas. The ideas in bold-face print are my attempts to paraphrase the quote.
“…a peculiar morality and peculiar moral standards…directed to the good of the work, not of his soul.” [The artist’s morality is concerned only with achieving good work, not the good of his soul.] p. 37.
“…the creative intuition from which the whole work originates.” p. 40.
“…that art continues in its own way the labor of divine creation. It is therefore true to say with Dante that our human art is, as it were, the grandchild of God.” [Human art continues God’s creation.] p. 50.
“Modern art longs to be freed from reason (logical reason).” p. 51.
“…the progressive weakening of reason in modern times.” p. 51.
"Thus art enters the regions of obscurity…. Then art endeavors to get free from the intelligible or logical sense itself.” [The loss of rationality in art results in obscurity.] p. 54.
"The process I just described is a process of liberation from conceptual, logical, discursive reason.” p. 55.
Surrealism: "…the aim is to express ‘the real functioning of thought.’ ” [Virginia Woolf, James Joyce?] p. 59.
“The essential disinterestedness of the poetic act means that egoism is the natural enemy of poetic activity. The artist as a man can be busy only with his craving for creation.” [T.S. Eliot, Gertrude Stein and Virginia Woolf all mentioned the need for the artist not to be dominated by one’s ego.] p. 107.
Thomas Aquinas: “The beautiful…is…that which being seen, pleases….” [The ‘beautiful’ defined.] p. 122.
“Only love and faith [not literature] allow us to get out of ourselves.” p. 139.
Malevich: “The appearances of natural objects…are in themselves meaningless; the essential thing is feeling” – feeling “completely independent of the context in which it has been evoked.” [Things are meaningless. It is only feeling that gives them meaning.] p. 160.
“But different in nature as they may be, poetic experience and mystical experience are born near one another….” [Poetic and mystical experience are closely related.] p. 178. ……….
“There is no poetic experience without a secret germ, tiny as it may be, of a poem. But there is no genuine poem which is not a fruit growing with inner necessity out of poetic experience.” [The poetic experience must have a germ of a poem, but it is the poetic experience that grows the poem.] p. 177.
To be continued.