By Georg Wilhelm Fredrich Hegel
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Additional resources for Aesthetics: Lectures on Fine Art. Volume I
50 INTRODUCTION (a«) It is true that the doctrine of the purification of passion still suffers the same deficiency as the previous doctrine of the mitigation of desires, yet it does at least emphasize more closely the fact that artistic representations needed a criterion for assessing their worth or unworthiness. This criterion [on this view] is just their effectiveness in separating pure from impure in the passions. This effectiveness therefore requires a content which can exercise this purifying force, and, in so far as producing such an effect is supposed to constitute the substantial aim of art, the purifying content will have to be brought into consciousness in accordance with its universality and essentiality.
INTRODUCTION 63 the Idea itself, been made the principle of knowledge and existence, and the Idea has become recognized as that which alone is true and actual. Thereby philosophy has attained, with Schelling,' its absolute standpoint; and while art had already begun to assert its proper nature and dignity in relation to the highest interests of mankind, it was now that the concept of art, and the place of art in philosophy was discovered, and art has been accepted, even if in one aspect in a distorted way (which this is not the place to discuss), still in its high and genuine vocation.
Yet, just as Schiller immersed himself in the consideration of the inner depths of the spirit, so Goethe pursued his own proper genius into the natural side of art, into external nature, to the organisms of plants and animals, to crystals, the formation of clouds, and colours. To this scientific research Goethe brought his great genius which in these subjects had altogether thrown to the winds the outlook of the mere 62 INTRODUCTION Understanding with its error, just as Schiller, on the other side, had succeeded in asserting, against the Understanding's treatment of willing and thinking, the Idea of the free totality of beauty.