It is improbable that more nonsense has been written about aesthetics than about anything else: the literature of the subject is not large enough for that (Clive Bell)


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Sunday, June 3, 2012

Kemp : Color

(this is Chapter 6 and 7 of Martin Kemp's "The Science of Art".
Quoted text is in YELLOW.
Text quoted from other authors is in GREEN)

The painting which most clearly declares its relationship to the Opticorum libri sex is the Juno and Argus – its subject matter is clearly associated with the title page centering as it does upon the Ovidian myth of Juno sprinkling the two hundred eyes of Artus on the peacock’s tail. To underline the visual implications of the subject, Rubens has included Iris…and provided her with a rainbow that carefully exhibits red, yellow, and blue “simple “ colors interspersed with the orange, green, and violet “composites”

Kemp's survey of color theory doesn't involve specific paintings until this one.

Unfortunately, examples are difficult because unlike receding orthogonals, the colors in paintings change over time - and as you can see from the above, they widely vary from reproduction to reproduction.

But even if we grant that this painting exemplifies the color theory in the text by Aguilonius that Rubens illustrated ....still no claim is being made that this arrangement is innovative.

The "Annunciation" and "Samson and Delilah" are offered as further example of where Rubens has "exploited resonant primaries and secondaries in a particularly vivid and self-aware manner"

But any more self aware than this example from Mattias Grunewald painted a hundred years earlier?

Kemp offers the torso of Argus as an example of an "optical mixture" of tints that are only partially blended but we can see that Grunewald Crucifixion does the same thing.

Poussin is offered as a contrast to Rubens, and Charles Le Brun, one of his leading students, interpreted the colors of the angels' robes in the "Ecstasy of St. Paul" (shown above) as follows: Yellow for purity, blue for committed grace, green for abandoned grace and triumph, while the red in Paul's garment represents ardent charity.

As Kemp would apply these ideas:
The center is the richest and most forceful color, the saturated red of Paul’s cloak, which is enhanced by juxtaposed green; on the left, corresponding to the direction of the light source, is the luminous ‘advancing’ yellow; on the right is the darker or ‘retreating’ blue, while at the summit is the light softness of pale, aetherial green, an ‘aerial’ or ‘celestial’ color suitable for the apex of a divine group.

While another follower, Sebastien Bourdon, wrote this about the above scene of Christ Healing the Blind: "As yellow and white partake most of light… Poussin has put them into Christ’s robe, because they are sweet colors near the narnation and are also more lively and apparent….being of a very bright and celestial color, are perfectly suited to he who wears them, as the most worthy and principal objects in all the picture"

Kemp is noting a theoretical distinction made at that time between a "clear, declamatory manner" (Poussin) and "broken elusiveness" (Titian and Rubens)

But I'm not sure that we can separate color from the forms in which they participate, and in comparing the two, it feels to me that Rubens' form is more earthy than  Poussin's.

I'm not even sure that we can separate forms from the overall sense of human purpose that each of these visionaries pursues in his own way, with the one seemingly driven by intellect and the other by passion.

After introducing Newton's division of sunlight into the spectrum of color, the next artist shown is Philipp Otto Runge (1777-1810) who wrote about color theory and painted the above "Morning" concerning which Kemp writes:

His ecstatic image of rebirth is suffused with a warm radiance of golden light which is startlingly thrown into relief by purplish-blue shadows of a remarkably translucent kind. No earlier painter had achieved comparable effects.
That's quite a bold assertion. I'd be surprised if no purplish-blue translucent shadows could not be found in any earlier paintings.... but I can't think of any right now. It would also be quite bold to suggest that this unique quality follows the application of this artist's theory of color, and Kemp doesn't go there.

As his letters reveal, Runge also had what might be called a mystical approach to color as well as geometric shapes. Yellow-Red-Blue express Longing-Love-Will.

And much to Kemp's excitement, he even pulls in science: I am thinking more and more how I could bring about the union of various arts, and that can only happen if they aid each other in their scientific knowledge" All which would fascinate me if I liked his paintings.

The above self portrait is, so far, the only painting of his that appeals to me - and color and geometry do not seem to be major issues.

Moving on to JMW Turner, Kemp notes the following:

"Turner paintings from the 1820's onwards bear witness to his sustained attempts to make his 'dense material' assume the guise of aerial prismatics. Norham Castle is perhaps the most brilliant of these. A radiant, opalescent 'grey dawn', tinged with vibrant blue, is invaded by the harbinger of 'yellow morning'. This much is a perfect illustration of his ideas. The 'advancing' blue mass of the castle is not, however. Blue should recede into the distance in the company of warm colors"

Once again, I have to give Kemp credit. His theme may be "The Science of Art", but he consistently shows that artists ignore the optical science of their time, even if, like Turner, they have lectured on it themselves.

BTW, Norris Kelly Smith would surely have considered this painting similar to Monet's images of Rouen Cathedral, since the architectural space of a culturally important edifice has been ignored in favor of various qualities of light and atmosphere. I wonder if Turner was as unpatriotic as Monet?

I would re-title this piece "Homage to the Sun". since the historic castle, so crucial in the medieval wars between Scotland and the British throne, has been demoted to nothing more than a foil for solar brilliance.

Here's a quote from Thompson's "Seasons" that he posted near another version of the same subject:
But yonder comes the powerful King of Day, Rejoicing in the East: the lessening cloud,/The kindling azure and the mountain's brow/ Illumin'd with fluid gold, his near approach/ betoken glad"

Turner exhibited the above painting in 1831, "Watteau Study by Fresnoy's Rules" accompanied by the following ditty as translated from Du Fresnoy's "De Arte Graphica":

White, when it shines with unstained lustre clear, may bear an object back or bring it near.Aided by black, it to the front aspires, that and withdrawn, it distinctly retires. But black unmixed of darkest midnight hue, still calls each object nearer to the view.

What I find curious is that I can't remember ever enjoying a Turner painting less than this one. Perhaps it looks quite different in a gallery instead of on a computer screen ---- but I'm doubting that it can overcome the challenge set by that figure and black leg set right in the middle of the composition.

Perhaps the less Turner thought about optical theory, the better he painted. Or... perhaps he just ought to stick to landscapes. He doesn't have much of a feeling for figurative work, unless those figures are details within a very large view.

Light and Color (Goethe's Theory) - The Morning after the Deluge - Moses Writing the Book of Genesis

Turner accompanied the above with the following lines:

‘The ark stood firm on Ararat; th'returning sun Exhaled earth's humid bubbles, and emulous of light, Reflected her lost forms, each in prismatic guise Hope's harbinger, ephemeral as the summer fly Which rises, flits, expands, and dies.’

... and Kemp commented as follows:

Turner's Goethe paintings are specifically about power, the elemental power of the spiritual universe expressed by the contiguous forces of color and tone

Regarding 'Morning after the Deluge' Kemp wrote:

It is a hymn to the visual and emotional potency of the reflected and refracted prismatics

Which is to say that it's not primarily about Moses and Noah - except that their inclusion might make the piece feel more spiritual - more hymn-like, and less like the mere gimmick of presenting colors as they might appear on the oily surface film of a soap bubble.

The Evening of the Deluge

Concerning this companion piece, Kemp sees it as the:

dramatic exploration of Goethe's and Field's 'negative' polarities. The greens and purplish blues reside in the 'cold' sector, creating the Goethe called 'restless, susceptible, anxious impressions' They are associated with the negative power of darkness. The hollow, ruptured vortex stands in negative contrast to the implied sphericality of Morning.... he has expressed Goethe's poles of power and colour in terms of his own sense of elemental flux"

What painter doesn't express his own sense of "power and colour" ? And are any of these any less connectable to what Goethe has written?

Paolo Uccello, "The Deluge"

One thing that I'd like to note is how Turner's vision of the Deluge compares with that of Uccello (discussed at some length by Norris K. Smith )

Puzzling as it may be, the human drama is central to Uccello's vision - while the forces of nature are the chief protagonist for Turner - as they are for the Chinese scholar/painter who has fled the city to live in isolation with the misty mountains.

William Holman Hunt, 'Our English Coasts', 1852

John Ruskin's advocacy of Turner leads us to another painting that he championed, and concerning which he had this to say:

It showed us, for the first time in the history of art, the absolutely faithful balances of colour and shade by which actual sunshine might be transposed into a key in which the harmonies possible in material pigments should yet produce the same impression upon the mind which were caused by the light itself"

Which it may well do -- but still it feels, at least in this reproduction from the Tate Gallery, like the kind of of sweet, terrible jumble that belongs in an exhibit of Outsider Art.

And it's an inauspicious introduction to the modern practice of art criticism of which Ruskin was a pioneer in addressing a large middle-class audience instead of the small, princely courts with whom earlier writers had been concerned. The connection of scientific-sounding, secular ideals to poorly felt designs continues on into our post modern era.

This painting would serve best as a back drop in a display case at a museum of natural history.

Hunt apparently read this this book by Henry James Richter, first published in 1817:

"Day-light : a recent discovery in the art of painting : with hints on the philosophy of the fine arts, and on that of the human mind, as first dissected by Emanuel Kant".

Richter was a popular artist/illustrator in his day and friend of William Blake.

Richter painted these little scenes, and they're at least as good as Turner's Watteau as shown above!

But history has not been kind to him. His paintings today go for a few thousand at auction, and his book, despite its promising title, is out-of-print and only in a handful of libraries.

According to Kemp, Richter demoted the masters of the 17th C. for their golden lights and brown shadows, while ignoring "the broad blue light of the atmosphere". As he understood Kant, whatever we deduce from the study of nature is actually revealing the "modes of our sensitive faculty", the old masters were out sync not just with nature but with their own faculties of perception.

Ford Madox Brown 'Carrying the Corn', 1854

This piece might also be called a study in light, with the artist noting in his diary:

"The greeny greyness of the unmade hay in farrows or tufts was accompanied by violet shadows..melting away one tint into another imperceptibly."

Kemp notes that the effects of the two light sources, the sun and moon, are indicated with "all of the precision that Rumford or Goethe might obtain in one of their experiments"

While the label at the Tate gallery website tells us:

This is a nostalgic view of rural England, untouched by industrialisation and modern city life. Ford Madox Brown’s view is typical of idealists of the time who believed that an engagement with nature offered spiritual redemption from urban corruption. Brown and his family were facing financial hardship at the time this picture was painted. It was one of a number of ‘potboilers’, modest and straightforward landscapes he hoped would sell easily.

So.... is it a 'potboiler', a careful, science based observation, or both?

I can't get past its heavy lumpishness to care one way or the other.


I don't have that problem with Delacroix - but I wonder how much that is dependent on his use of color

'The Barque of Dante', painted when he was 24, "bears clear witness to colouristic lessons well learnt from Rubens' paintings in the Louvre"

This feels to me like a pastiche of dramatic life studies, but it's definitely got a youthful thrill of being alive in a horrible/beautiful world.

Kemp discusses the color as follows:

Four main concepts are involved in this colourism: the controlled juxtaposition of and tones for particular effects; the exploitation of optical mixture; the use of coloured shadows with complex reflections; and a diminished use of earth colours in favor of a more 'prismatic' range of hues, all but the last were established features of Rubeniste practice.

... which is more evident in the painting he showed two years later:

...the "coloured shadows with complex reflections" are especially evident in details like this these.

And now.. thanks to the Google Art Project

let' look at flesh detail from other painters:






Kemp selected the leg of Heliodorus to further discuss the painting of flesh:

His concept of liaison, in particular, permitted him free play with harmonies which were theoretically illicit. Liaison he defined as "that atmosphere and those reflections which make a harmonious whole of the most disparate color"... The flesh shadows on Helidorus's leg provide a superb example of liaison in action. They are laced with green, adorned with fiery tongues of pure red and surrounded by contours of a violet hue. This melange captures the complex interplay of local and induced colours with intricate reflections and counter-reflections which both amplify and compete with the dominant colour of the light. The violet edges of the flesh tones - what Le Blon called the 'turning' and the 'roundings off' - are painted in a mixture of 'cassel earth, a low-toned white and vermilion', according to Delacroix's own prescription. This hue is exploited for its efficacy in what he called 'picking up the drawing with colour', though in its present appearance it more brown than Delacroix intended.

I could not find any good images of that detail on the internet, but Google Art does show us 'The Death of Sardanapalus' (1827)

This poor slave girl seems to have a complete color wheel on her back: red, yellow, blue, green, orange, violet.

But are they there to exemplify a theory of color and light - or to crank up the intensity of this wacky orientalist fantasy ?

Using a lot of colors in the flesh does not necessary make a figure painting look any better -- and Kemp does not address how Delacroix has used them successfully.

Finally arriving at the Impressionists, Kemp asserts:

"The supreme painters of 'coloured light' in the generation that followed Delacroix, the Impressionists, can thus at the same time be regarded as true post-Newtonian colourists, striving to evoke our subjective perception of the scintillation of light in nature, and as hostile to scientific prescriptions. This paradox does not seem to have troubled most of the Impressionists and has not been properly acknowledged in the subsequent literature."

The above assertion does seem to contradict what any museum docent or Art History101 lecture might be expected to say - though I'm not finding any evidence presented for 'hostility' -- just indifference -- or, perhaps just a concern for whatever might make a picture feel that it's an experience of the here-and-now.

Like the above early painting by Monet, Femmes Au Jardin (1866), which Kemp calls a key painting in the development of the 'high-toned brilliance' of the Impressionists.

Kemp points out the green reflections in the skirt of the lady in the shade (on the far left)and the 'blended brushstrokes of buff and unsaturated violet' in the shadows thrown over the path -- but regretfully the images on the internet are not large enough to see them -- and this is a very large painting (apparently the artist had to dig a trench to work on it outdoors)

While I am mostly puzzled by the narrative. These fine ladies appear to be on some kind of mission to gather flowers - while the one on the right is floating like a ghost or dream-like vision.

Note: About a year after the above was written
this painting came to Chicago
as part of the Impressionism-Fashion and Modernity exhibition.
It really is large!
And it gives a strong sense
of a very brief  moment
on a very sunny day

Concerning this 1875 painting of his wife and son ('Woman with Umbrella'), Kemp writes:

It's whole structure relies upon the controlled contrast between the cool, airy, light-toned hues which predominate in the upper region of the picture and the scattered scintillation of sunny radiance which evokes the warmth of the incident light on the forms below. Set against the sunlight, the white draperies have assumed a predominantly pale-violet hue, tinged with the green liasons from the grass and modelled with half-tones which have blended from red-green complementaries in the manner recommended by Delacroix . When the sun is directly incident on the fringes of drapery and on the boy's rounded sun-hat, it is characterized by bright cream, the complementary to the major hue of violet. The chrome-yellow flowers of the meadow 'jump' vivaciously against the background of the lady's cool dress.

(BTW - to gauge the success of Monet's painting, even as an internet image, you can compare it to this painful copy)

Again, unfortunately, it's hard to see what Kemp is writing about, since detail images for this work cannot now be found on the internet -- even on the website of the National Gallery (Washington) which owns it.

Though Chicago hasthis painting from three years earlier with a similar subject. So, once again, its the narrative that interests me -- with the artist looking up at his not-especially-happy wife/model beneath the shade of a big green umbrella.

Do you get the feeling the artist, still penurious, feels a little trapped by his young wife and son?

Comparing this kind of color painting with a Rubens approach, Kemp concludes:

The vibrant dabs of prismatic pigment in the grass throw off a fragmented diffusion of mobile colour. The visual result is that colour is no longer seen as residing in surfaces but as suffused throughout the air in front of the spectator.

This is another issue that can only be contemplated in front of actual paintings,not reproductions of them -so I'll have to think about it the next time I'm in the Art Institute.

In consequence, Kemp will argue that even if Monet and his fellow travelers did not strictly apply then-current scientific color theory in their work -- they still can be considered post-Newtonian in their treatment of color as light rather than surface - though possibly the same might be said for much earlier work done in mosaic and fabrics.

But then we have te "Neo-Impressionists", like Seurat, who:

sensed that there was something intellectually unsatisfactory in an art which possessed such obviously scientific implications while disclaiming any scientific base. If the underlying assumptions about coloured light were valid, they reasoned that its properties should be consciously explored and exploited"

Kemp also notes that :

Ogden Rood's mathematically determined diagrams promised a precision in handling colour effects which appealed enormously to Seurat, and it is not surprising that the painter carefully transcribed the color wheel.

Solidly trained in the academic traditon and predisposed by temperment to rational analysis of his artistic aims, he adopted aspirations which contrasted sharply with the predominantly anti-theoretical stance of the Impressionists. His art may be said to be the result of applying principles of academic premeditation to Impressionist intuitions.

The greater part of the Baignade is executed in interwoven brushstrokes, often disposed in a criss-cross halaye technique. This is used to build up a densely clotted surface within which he has exploited a series of optical relationships. Most conspicuous are the 'irradiated' contrasts of tone and hue at the edges of many of the prominent forms, with light haloes of complementary tints fringing the dark areas, and dark 'ghosts' hovering beside the lighter forms. The local colors are consistently broken by tonal gradation in the Delacroix manner, and as recommended by Rood and Ruskin. Blue, the complementary of the impinging sunlight, is brushed into many of the shadows, in the pink flesh no less than in the white draperies.

Fortunately the National Gallery (London) has an image of the Bathers at Asnieres that allows us to see it up close.

Sometimes it seems that Seurat has applied those 'irradiated' contrasts and 'ghosts', and sometimes he has not.

Whatever technique has been used, I certainly feel like I'm right there, soaking in the rays on a hot, sunny day, doing absolutely nothing, my mind turned off, like the energy saving function on a computer.

Kemp suggests that the above techniques are more thoroughly applied in 'La Grand Jette', and relied even less on the use of earth pigments.

He further characterizes the technique as follows:

The transmogrification of shapes with distance; the dissolution of forms into patterns of coloured light; the tonal foundations of form; and silhouetted areas of contrasted chiarascuro..... the dominant effect is that the surface is dressed overall with Seurat's remarkable and novel application of paint in a series of small spots, short dashes and separate strokes - a complex mixture of directional brushstrokes which define form almost in the manner of magnetized iron filings and short dashes of colour at varied angles which evoke the scatter of coloured light

1. graduated local color
2. 'solar orange' in the highlights, scattered by diffusion in the shadows and reflected from form to form
3. reflection of local coour from one surface to another
4. Induced complementary contrasts of hue and tone, particularly in the shadows
5. Harmonies of contrast and analogy of hue and tone according to the specification of Chevreul and Rood.

Items #2 and #5 seem to be the only ones I haven't seen before - and it's not clear just how specific those 'specifications of Chevreul and Rood' may be, since Kemp does discuss specific details.

But since the Art Institute of Chicago has begun to cooperate with the Google Art Project, there are plenty of details to observe online.

The main problem is that the pigments have darkened and changed hue over time - so what was once a pure yellow is now much closer to a brown. The earth tones have come back with a vengeance! And, we have to remember that actually, 'pure yellow' exists only in theory.

The A.I.C. had a Seurat exhibit about 5 years ago, and it included a life-size digital reproduction of 'Grand Jatte", where each pixel was adjusted to more closely resemble how the original painting must have looked when Seurat had just finished it. But the originality of the object continues to trump concerns for how it originally appeared, so that version is not on Google Art.

Here's a close up of the black dog -- and indeed, there are flecks of blue and orange both within and without.
The charming figure characterization cannot be recognized in these areas of detail -- but couldn't this stand alone as very good abstract painting?

I suspect that some of those flecks in the sunlight were once a brighter yellow.
I don't know about the colors in the black tail - but it does seem that the flecks of blue and orange are enhanced by the proximity of the black.

This is the upper right corner, showing the frame that Seurat painted around the edges of the scene. And I'm not sure which rules of color theory might explain why these combinations feel so enjoyable.

I'm also not sure that this painting's whole is better than the sum of its parts - but I'll have to go down and look at it again from whatever distance seems the best. I don't recall that it ever gave me as strong a sense of being outdoors as some other paintings have done.

Reality check: Just spent a few minutes with
the actual painting last week -- and can report
that at a certain distance (about 10 feet) it does
feel like you're standing in the park along with all
the other characters who stretch out into, and measure,
the distance behind the life-size standing couple who
are in the foreground. It's a delightful effect, and
indeed the little dots are mostly blended at that

Kemp also questions whether it achieves the feeling of real daylight:

It may be argued, and has frequently been, that this tendency towards a general neutralization at increasing distance - producing a kind of dusty veiling of colour - marks the ultimate failure of Seurat's peinture optique

Though he concludes that it produces "a special kind of elusive magic"... which is, presumably, outside the scope of optical theories.

But if he's willing to consider that kind of quality -- why not bring the narrative features into consideration as well? Is it possible for our minds to ignore the crowd of people that has been set before us?

A charming little double portrait of a fashionable couple who may never look any better.

And what's with that weird figure on the left? She looks like a chess piece.

There is a sense of mystery and eccentricity about these characters that has probably appealed to others as well as myself. Their reduction to simple shapes makes them resemble folk art of children's toys. Or as a contemporary critic, Joris-Karl Huysmans, put it: “Strip his figures of the colored fleas that cover them, underneath there is nothing, no thought, no soul, nothing”. And indeed, none of the 30+ figures appears to interacting with any of the others

It's a rather immature view of humanity -- appropriate for an artist who was 24-26 when he was working on this project

The A.I.C. website quotes a letter by the artist as follows:

"The Panathenaeans of Phidias formed a procession. I want to make modern people, in their essential traits, move about as they do on those friezes, and place them on canvases organized by harmonies of color."

Replacing the Parthenon's celebratory procession of handsome young dudes and horses with a young person's guide to Parisian society

With the figures dissolving into swirling patches of brilliant light, there's also the feeling of looking at the world through a drug-induced stupor.

Or, at least, that's how I remember it from the 1960's.

One more thing to remember, is that even though professionally made, high resolution photo images of this painting can vary quite widely.

The image at the top comes from the Art Institute of Chicago's website -- the one beneath it is from the Google Art Project. (the A.I.C. had a special Seurat exhibition in 2004.) And as you can see, if you're trying to read the feeling of this face, it appears more sad in the Google version.

And emotional effect would appear to be important to the artist who is quoted as writing:

"Art is Harmony. Harmony is the analogy of the contrary and of similar elements of tone, of color and of line, considered according to their dominance and under the influence of light, in gay, calm or sad combinations".

Here's the figure who feels the most sad to me - with strokes that appear to be going downward instead of upward, and cooler colors.

And here's a quote from Seurat:

Gaity of value is the light dominant; of hue the warm dominatnt; of line, lines above the horizontal. Calmness of value is the equality of dark and light; of hue, of warm and cool; and the horizontal for line. Sadness of value is the dark dominant; of hue, the cool dominant, and of line, downward direction.

BTW - here's a super-close-up of the child's mouth:

It still looks good, though I'm doubting that the artist ever saw it this close up, even though he spent two years working on this painting.

Kemp notes these next two paintings feature indoor light sources, so intense luminosity is no longer an issue.

He also notes that the number of life studies was progressively diminishing, as if Seurat was withdrawing from an engagement with visual reality and moving more into the realm of his imagination.

Which seems about right - as it also seems that the thrill is gone - especially in the above view of his studio.

BTW - there appears to be some dispute whether this scene features three models or one - and I feel its the latter - in sequence - from disrobing - to posing - to re-dressing. In some circumstances that would be thrilling - but here, it's just a young woman doing her job - which seems to be Seurat's understanding of the human condition: we're all just playing our roles. Actions don't have serious consequences - the drama is all make-believe.

If Seurat was using different combinations of colors to make his figures express specific emotions --- I think he's failed. This girl feels emotionless - as do the characters in the painting below.

Here's his other later painting - in two versions, showing just how different these reproductions can be.

Kemp proposes that one Charles Henry (1859 - 1926) was a dominant influence on Seurat in these years, with his psychological/mathematical system of proportional harmonics - as Seurat moved from nature-based optics to psychological abstraction.

His "aesthetic protractor" was an attempt to somehow quantify aesthetic response.

But Kemp offers us no quotations from Seurat that might confirm his interest in Henry's books.

After a few words about the invention of color photography, we come to the end of both the chapter and the book.

It would be a gross oversimplification to say that photographic realism precipitated the demise of systematic naturalism as the goal of the creative painter... A number of forces that were to weaken the fabric of naturalism were already apparent in the tradition that we have been describing. Not the least important of these was the very success of the naturalistic techniques themselves, which had reached levels of verisimilitude beyond which it seemed impossible to go in the medium of paint.

I would question just how important 'systematic naturalism' ever was as the goal of the painters, from Giotto to Seurat, whom Kemp has discussed. I would also question whether "the fabric of naturalism" has 'weakened' so much as it has been marginalized in most of the narratives about Modernism.

But Kemp does modify the above as follows:

There was also the time-honoured feeling that literal or mechanical imitation should be subordinate to the higher intellectual and emotional functions of art - a feeling that had developed in the nineteenth century into the subjectivist aesthetics of Romanticism.

Might one suggest that 'subjectivist aesthetics' were practiced long before the 19th Century?

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