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Art

and

Scholasticism and

The

Frontiers

of Poetry

Jacques Maritain

Jacques Maritain ART AND SCHOLASTICISM and

THE FRONTIERS OF POETRY Translated by Joseph W. Evans

UNIVERSITY OF NOTRE DAME PRESS

NOTRE DAME

LONDON

University of Notre

©

COPYRIGHT First U. S. edition

Printed

'

^ —

Press edition

1

974

1962 Jacques Maritain

1962 by Charles Scribner's Sons

in the

United States of America

Library of Congress Cataloging in Publication Data

Maritain, Jacques, 1882-1973.

Art and scholasticism and The frontiers of poetry.

r

s > \

Dame

Translation of the author's Art et scolastique and his Frontieres

de

la

poesie.

Reprint of the ed. published by Scribner,

New

Includes bibliographical references. 1.

3.

Art-Philosophy-History.

Poetry.

I.

2.

Scholasticism.

Maritain, Jacques, 1882-1973.

Frontieres de

la

poesie. English. 1974.

[N61.M3 1974] 701 ISBN 0-268-0055 6-7 ISBN 0-268-00557-5 (pbk.)

II.

74-13601

Title.

York.

Table of Contents

Art and Scholasticism

CHAPTER

The Schoolmen and

I

3

the Theory of Art

CHAPTER n The Speculative Order and the CHAPTER

m

Making and Doing

CHAPTER

rv

Art an Intellectual Virtue

3

Practical Order

7

10

23

CHAPTER V Art and Beauty

CHAPTER

The Rules

VI

5

38

of Art

CHAPTER vn The Purity of Art

49

CHAPTER

VIII

64

CHAPTER

DC Aft

APPENDIX

I

APPENDIX

II

Christian Art

An

70

and Morality

Essay on Art

Some

Reflections

85

on Religious Art

APPENDIX ni The "Triomphe de Saint Thomas'* APPENDIX

IV

100 at the

Theatre

Apropos an Article by Montgomery Belgion

The Frontiers of Poetry Notes

1^3

Index

231

119

108 113

Translator's Note

and Scholasticism was underis made from the third and final edition (1935) of Art et Scolastique. The "The Frontiers of Poetry" essay, which was added as a sup-

new

This

translation of Art

taken at Professor Maritain's suggestion, and

plement in

in the

1930

the

second edition (1927),

translation, but

it

is

is

now

again included, as

given, as Professor

Maritain desired, equal prominence with "Art and Scholasticism";

it

is

translated

from the revised version presented

de la poesie et autres essais (1935). The "Appendices" have had restored to them here their original status "The as addenda to "Art and Scholasticism"; two of them 'Triomphe de Saint Thomas' at the Theatre" and "Apropos in Frontieres



an Article by Montgomery Belgion" Finally, the

siderable I



are

new

to this edition.

"Notes" contain some minor revisions and a con-

number

of additions.

wish to thank Professor Maritain for the privilege of

translating this work. Also,

Ouinn

I

am

grateful to Professor Wilfred

and making a number of and for checking some of the bibliographical

for reading the manuscript

suggestions, detail.

JOSEPH W. EVANS Notre Dame, Indiana

VI

ART AND SCHOLASTICISM



The Schoolmen and the Theory oj Art

The Schoolmen

did not write a special treatise entitled

Philosophy of Art. This

was no doubt due

to the strict peda-

gogical discipline to which the philosophers of the Middle

Ages were subjected; occupied lems of the School in

all

in sifting

and probing the prob-

directions, they cared

little

that they

unworked regions between the quarries they excavated. find in them a very profound theory of Art; but we must look for it in austere treatises on some problem of

left

Yet we

logic



"how

"is

is

Logic a liberal art?"



or of moral theology

the virtue of Prudence, a virtue at once intellectual

and moral, to be distinguished from Art, which

is

an

intellec-

tual virtue?"

In these treatises, in which the nature of art incidentally, art in general

is

is

studied only

the subject of debate, from the

art of the shipbuilder to the art of the

grammarian and the

logician, not the fine arts in particular, the consideration of

which has no "formal" bearing on the matter under discussion.

We

must go

to the Metaphysics of the ancients to dis-

cover what their views were concerning the Beautiful, and then proceed to meet Art and see what comes of the junction of these it

two terms.

If

such a procedure disconcerts us,

by making clear to us modern philosophers, which,

at least affords us a useful lesson,

the error of the "Aesthetics" of 3

Art and Scholasticism

4

considering in art only the fine

only with regard to

art,

arts,

and treating the beautiful

runs the risk of vitiating both the no-

Art and the notion of the Beautiful.

tion of

Thus one could, by gathering together and reworking the materials prepared by the Schoolmen, compose from them a rich

and complete theory of Art.

cate here for the

some

I

should like only to indi-

of the features of such a theory.

peremptory tone thus imposed on

my

essay,

that despite their insufficiency these reflections

of the

Schoolmen

will

draw

I

apologize

and

I

hope

on maxims

attention to the usefulness of

having recourse to the wisdom of the ancients, as also to the possible interest of a conversation between philosophers artists, at

the

a time

immense

when

all feel

the necessity of escaping from

intellectual disorder inherited

teenth century, and of finding once tions of honest work.

and

more

from the nine-

the spiritual condi-



The Speculative Order and the Practical Order

There are

in the intellect virtues

whose

end

sole

is

to

know.

They belong to the speculative order. Such are: the Understanding of first principles, which, once we have drawn from our sense-experience the ideas of Being, of

Cause, of End,

through the power



etc.,

enables us to see immediately

of the active Ught

the self-evident truths

which

on which

pends; Science, which enables us to

is

in us

by nature

our knowledge de-

all

know by

demonstration,

assigning causes; Wisdom,^ which enables us to contemplate the first causes, and in which the mind holds all things in the

superior unity of a simple glance.

These speculative virtues perfect the proper function, in the activity in which

intellect in its it is

the intellect as such aims only to know.

indeed its

act

act

its

is

is,

absolutely speaking,

life

purely

The

most

itself;

for

intellect acts,

par excellence; but

an immanent act which remains wholly within the

and through which the

intellect to perfect

it,

limitless voracity,

seizes being

eats being

and drinks being

certain fashion,

all

things."



and draws

intellect, it

with a

into itself

it

so as "itself to become, in a

Thus the speculative order 5



is its

Art and Scholasticism

6 proper order;

at

it is

subject, the needs little

to

The

it; it

practical order

man

it

The good or

the evil of the

subject, matter

(frui);

is

opposed

to the speculative order be-

tends to something other than knowledge

only. If he knows,

to

there.

enjoys being and has eyes only for being.

cause there

enjoy

home

and conveniences of the

it is

it is

no longer

to rest in the truth,

and

to

to use (uti) his knowledge, with a view

some work or some

action.^

Art belongs to the practical order. It

is

turned towards

action, not towards the pure interiority of knowledge.

There

are,

it is

time sciences,

which are

true, speculative arts,

as,

These

for instance, logic.

at the

scientific

same arts

perfect the speculative intellect, not the practical intellect;

mode something

but such sciences retain in their

of the

and are arts only because they imply the making work this time a work wholly within the mind, and whose sole object is the achievement of knowledge, a work

practical,

of a



which consists for instance

in setting

our concepts

in order, in

framing a proposition or in constructing a reasoning.^ The fact remains, therefore, that wherever

we

productive operation to be contrived,

we find some some work to be made. find art

///

Making and Doing

The it

intelligence

works

is

a faculty perfectly one in

the sake of knowledge or

The

knows

Essence;

it

is

through

gaudium de

its

as

it

being, but

knows

its

perfect

and

infinitely

in the intuitive vision of the it

man

that

Veritate.

It

for

for the sake of action.

speculative intellect will have

superabundant joy only

tude:

ways according

in entirely different

is

will

Divine

then possess beati-

very rarely exercised in

absolute liberty on this earth, save in the

Man

of

Wisdom,

theologian or metaphysician, or in the pure scientist. In the great majority of cases reason works in the practical order,

and

for the diverse ends of

But the

human

practical order itself

is

actions.

divided into two entirely

which the ancients called the sphere of Do-

distinct spheres,

ing {agibile, irpaKrov) and the sphere of TTOirjTOV)

Making

(factibile,

.

Doing, in the restricted sense

understood

word, consists

this

in

which the Schoolmen

in the free use, precisely as free,

of our faculties, or in the exercise of our free will considered

not with regard to the things themselves or to the works which

we produce, but merely with

regard to the use which

we make

of our freedom.

This use depends on our specifically Will,

which of

itself

jealously to the

human

appetite,

on our

does not tend to the true, but solely and

good of man

— 7

for that alone exists for appe-

Art and Scholasticism

8 tite

which

fulfills

itself.

This use

human life;

and

is

good

is

to the subject as the subject

if it is

good, the

to

end of the whole of human

true

man

is

conformity with the law of

in

if it is

and with the

acts,

and which increases the being

desire or love

of the subject, or which

acting

is

himself good

—purely

and simply good.

Thus Doing

is

common end

ordered to the

of the whole of

human life, and it concerns the proper perfection of the human being. The sphere of Doing is the sphere of Morality, or of the human good as such. Prudence, the virtue of the practical intellect

which

rules Doing, stands entirely in the

human sphere. Queen of the moral virtues, noble and born to command, because it measures our acts with regard to an ultimate end which

God

is

Himself sovereignly loved. Pru-

dence nevertheless retains a taste of misery, because for

it

has

matter the multitude of needs and circumstances and

its

traffickings

because

it

which human anxiety flounders about, and

in

imbues with humanity

all

that

it

touches.

In contradistinction to Doing, the Schoolmen defined

Mak-

ing as productive action, considered not with regard to the

use which

we

therein

make

of our freedom, but merely with

regard to the thing produced or with regard to the work

taken in

itself.

This action sphere,

if it is

is

in

end of the work tends

if it

Making self

and the

and it

is

is

what

ought to be,

it

is

good

is

ordered to

self-sufficing,

relates to the

man making, of

and the result work be good in

to be produced;

good,

The sphere

it

in

own

its

conformity with the rules and with the proper

that this this

to

which

itself.

or that particular end, taken in

not to the

good or

common end

of

it

Thus

human

it-

life;

to the proper perfection, not of

but of the work produced.

Making

is

universal sense of this word.

the sphere of Art, in the most

Making and Doing

Making and not Doing, stands

Art, which rules

outside the

human

sphere;

it

This work

everything for Art; there

power of soothing;

establishes the artijex

it



and

manhood

intelligence of his

true of

is

it

artist

apart, closed, limited, absolute, in

which he makes. This

is

be produced.

to

for Art but one law

and absorbing power of Art, and also

the tyrannical

astonishing

human;

work

good of the work.

the exigencies and the

Hence its

is

therefore

has an end, rules, values, which

are not those of man, but those of the



9

delivers

one from the

or artisan



world

in a

which he puts the energy at the service of a thing

all art;

the ennui of living

and willing ceases at the door of every workshop.

But

man, of

if

art is not

essentially

man

human

human,

that has to be

in the

in

its

made;

end that

mode it

it

pursues,

must have on

it

it is

hu-

work the mark of

of operating.

It's

a

man: animal rationale. The work of art has been thought before being made, it has been kneaded and prepared, formed, brooded over, ripened in a mind before passing into matter. And in matter it will always retain the color and savor of the spirit. Its formal element, what constitutes it in its species and makes it what it is, is its

being ruled by the

diminishes ever so vanishes.

form

is

little,

The work

intellect.^ If this

to the

to be

made

formal element

same extent the is

only the matter of

undeviating reason. Recta ratio factibilium:

say, in order to try to translate this Aristotelian tic

definition,

works

to

reality of art

that art

be made.^

is

art, its let

us

and Scholas-

the undeviating determination of

Art an Intellectual Virtue

Let us sum up in general,

now what

considered in the

the

Schoolmen taught about

artist

art

or artisan and as something

of himself.

Art,

1.

first

of

all,

is

of the intellectual order,

consists in imprinting an idea in

some matter:

in the intelligence of the artifex that this intelligence is the subject in

which

it it

its

is

it

resides, or, as

inheres. It

is

action

therefore is

said,

a certain

quality of this intelligence.

The

2.

ancients termed habitus (e^t?) qualities of a class

apart, qualities

which are

fecting in the line of

own

nature the subject in which they

Health, beauty are habitus of the body; sanctifying

exist. ^

grace

its

essentially stable dispositions per-

is

a habitus (supernatural) of the soul." Other habitus

have for their subject the faculties or powers of the as the nature of these faculties or

the habitus which inhere in

powers

is

them perfect them

in their

dynamism, are operative habitus: such are the virtues

We use;

^

and the moral

soul,

and

to tend to action,

very

intellectual

virtues.

acquire this last kind of habitus through exercise and

but

we must not for this reason confuse modern sense of this word, that is

habit in the

10

habitus with to say, with

Art an Intellectual Virtue

mere mechanical bent and

routine; habitus

trary of habit in this sense. ^ Habit,

11 is

which

exactly the con-

weight

attests the

of matter, resides in the nerve centers. Operative habitus,

which

attests the activity of the spirit, resides principally in

first

activity in a certain

itself, it

this

disposes

its

manner, thus giving birth within

a quality which proportions

itself to

knowing

indifferent to

rather than that, demonstrates a truth to

own

When,

faculty, in the intelligence or the will.

an immaterial

for example, the intellect, at

it

to,

and makes

com-

it

mensurate with, such or such an object of speculation, a quality

which elevates

it

and

fixes

it

as regards this object;

it

acquires the habitus of a science. Habitus are intrinsic superelevations of living spontaneity,

vital

developments which

render the soul better in a given order and which

an active sap:

Thomas

turgentia ubera

them.

calls

who

lectual beings,

And

fill

it

with

animae, as John of Saint

only the living (that

to say, intel-

is

can acquire

alone are perfectly alive)

them, because only they are capable of elevating the level of their being

by

their very activity:

they have thus, in their

enriched faculties, secondary principles of action which they use

when they wish and which make easy and

them what of

delightful for

itself is difficult.

Habitus are, as

it

were, metaphysical

titles

of nobility,

and

much as innate gifts they make for inequality among men. The man who possesses a habitus has within him a quality

as

which nothing can pay for or replace; others are naked, he is

armed with

steel:

but

it is

a case of a living and spiritual

armor. Finally, habitus, properly speaking,

nent

(difficile

specifies tion,

which

it; it is

as for it

is

stable

and perma-

mobilis) by very reason of the object which thus to be distinguished from simple disposi-

example opinion. ^^ The object with regard to

perfects the subject

is itself

immutable

—such

as the

Art and Scholasticism

12

demonstration for the habitus of Science

infallible truth of

— and

it is

upon

this object that the quality

Hence

subject takes hold.

hence their

irritability



and the

the force

all

developed

from the

that deviates

in the

rigidity of habitus;

straight line

of their object galls them; hence their intransigence

—what

concession could they admit of? They are fixed in an absolute;

hence their inconvenience

the world, polished

on

all sides,

in the social order.

do not

like the

man

Men

of

of habitus,

with his asperities.

Art

3.

is

a habitus of the practical intellect.

This habitus

a virtue, that

is

is

to say, a quality which,

triumphing over the original indetermination of the lectual faculty, at

of

its activity,

to a certain efficiency.

draws

and an

and thus

of perfection

of operative

Every virtue being thus determined to the ultimate is

capable,^ ^ and every evil being a lack

infirmity, virtue

to use a virtue to of

with reference to a definite object,

it,

maximum

which the power

of

intel-

once sharpening and tempering the point

do

can tend only to the good: impossible

evil;

it is

essentially a habitus operative

good}^

The

existence of such a virtue in the

for the

good of the work,

for the

manner

disposition of the agent, and, as a

To

the work~to-be-made,

if it is

correspond in the soul of the creates between the one

workman

man

is

necessary

of action follows the

is,

so are his works. ^^

must

to turn out well, there

workman

and the other

a disposition

which

that kind of conformity

and intimate proportion which the Schoolmen called "connaturality"; Logic,

Music and Architecture respectively

graft

present in

harmony in the musician, equimasses in the architect. Through the virtue of Art them, they in some way are their work before

making

they are conformed to

the syllogism in the logician,

librium of

it;

it,

so as to be able to form

it.

13

Art an Intellectual Virtue

But

if

art

is

a virtue of the practical intellect,

virtue tends exclusively to the

good (that

is,

and

if

every

to the true in

we must conclude from Art and not the artist, who often

the case of a virtue of the intellect), this that

Art as such

(I say

acts contrary to his art)

an

never mistaken, and that

is

Otherwise

infallible rectitude.

properly speaking, stable of

of

it

implies

would not be a habitus

it

very nature.

its

The Schoolmen discussed at length this infallible rectitude art, and more generally of the virtues of the practical in(Prudence in the order of Doing, Art in the order of

tellect

Making).

How

domain

in the

can the

intellect

of the individual

be rendered

replied with the fundamental distinction

conformity with what

which consists

lect,

is,

between the truth

which consists

of the speculative intellect,

and the

infallibly true

and the contingent? They in knowing,

in

truth of the practical intel-

in directing,

in

conformity with what

ought to be according to the rule and the measure of the thing to be effected.^* If there

there

is

no

be otherwise than ing, there

is

science only of the necessary,

infallible truth in

can be

it is,

knowing

in regard to

if

what can

there can be infallible truth in direct-

art, as

there

is

prudence, in regard to the

contingent.

But

this infallibility of art

of the operation, that the mind. Let the

betray him,

let

is

concerns only the formal element

to say, the regulation of the

hand of the

artist falter, let his

the matter give way, the defect thus introduced

into the result, into the eventus, in

no way

and does not prove

is

the

moment

his intellect,

work by

instrument

that the artist

that the artist, in the act of

imposed the

the given case, there false direction.

trembling hand,

The

rule

who

in his art.

From

judgment brought by

and the measure which suited

was no error artist

affects the art itself

wanting

in

him, that

is

to say,

no

has the habitus of art and a

Art and Scholasticism

14

Gha

man

Vhabito de Varte e

che trema,

produces an imperfect work, but retains a

faultless virtue.

Likewise in the moral order, though the event can act posited according to the rules of

have been

infallibly correct.

prudence

Although

fail,

the

will nonetheless

extrinsically

the part of the matter art implies contingency and

and on

fallibility,

on the part of the form, from the mind, is not which comes and of the regulation

nevertheless art in

itself,

that

fluctuating like opinion, but It is

follows from this that

is

to say,

it is

planted in certitude.

manual

skill is

no part of

but a material and extrinsic condition of

it.

The

art;

it

labor

through which the zither player acquires nimbleness of finger does not increase his art as such nor does special art;

it

it

engender any

simply removes a physical impediment to the

non general novam artem, sed tollit on the side

exercise of the art:

impedimentum

exercitii ejus:^^ art stands entirely

of the mind.

4.

In order to determine more precisely the nature of Art,

the ancients

compared

it

with Prudence, which

is

of the practical intellect. In thus distinguishing

ing Art and Prudence, they put their finger in the psychology of

we have

Art,

human

also a virtue

and contrast-

on a

vital

point

acts.

already said,

is

in

the sphere of

Making,

Prudence in the sphere of Doing. Prudence discerns and ap-

means

plies the

of arriving at our moral ends, which are

themselves subordinate to the ultimate end of the whole of

human is, if

life,

you

good

of the

possess

above

that

will,

an life

fully,^''^

all

is

to say, to

art,

but

it is

God. Metaphorically, Prudence

the art of the totum bene vivere,^^

absolutely, an art

together with

which the Saints alone

supernatural

with the Gifts of the Holy

Spirit,

Prudence, and

which move them

— Art an Intellectual Virtue

15

to divine things according to a divine manner,

and cause them

God and

to act under the very guidance of the Spirit of

of

His loving Art, by giving them eagle wings to help them walk earth: they shall take wings as eagles, they shall run

on

not be weary, they shall

concerned with our

life,

walk and not jaint}^ Art

and not

but only with such or such particular

and extra-human ends which are an ultimate end to

is

in relation

it.

Prudence works for the good of the one

works

for the

bonum

and

that turns

operis,

and diminishes



From

the

ad bonum

from

it

moment

this

end perverts

that the artist

it

works well

from the moment that the geometrician demonstrates

as

matters

"it

it.

all

acting,

good of the work made, ad

operantis; Art

little

whether he be

in

good humor or angry."

^^

angry or jealous, he sins as a man, he does not sin

If

he

is

as

an

artist. ^^

Art in no way tends to the

artist's

being good

in his own action as a man; it would tend rather to the work produced if that were possible itself making in its own





line a perfect use of its activity.^^

produce works which move alone

and

makes works

literally

it is

art

does not

to action of themselves:

God

and thus the Saints are

truly

of this kind,

His masterpiece as Master-artisan.

Consequently, since the artist,*

But human

artist is

a

man

before being an

easy to see the conflicts which will set at logger-

heads within him Art and Prudence, his virtue as Maker and his virtue as

Man. No doubt Prudence

itself,

which judges

in

everything according to the particular cases, will not apply to

him the same rules as it will to the farmer or the merchant, and will not ask of a Rembrandt or a Leon Bloy that they

make works *

And

that pay, so as to ensure the material comforts

man also in order to be an artist. In this respect subjective causality art itself is in a vital relation

he must be a

—but by reason of



with the morality of the artist. Cf. further on, pp. 89-90, 91-98; and Frontieres de la Poesie et autres essais ("Dialogues").

Art and Scholasticism

16 of their family.

But the

order to keep himself always on

and

in

need a certain heroism

artist will

in

the straight path of Doing,

order not to sacrifice his immortal substance to the

devouring idol that he has in his soul. In truth, such conflicts

can be abolished only artist,

if

a profound humility renders the

so to speak, unconscious of his art, or

unction of wisdom gives to

that

all

is

in

if

the all-powerful

him

the sleep

and

the peace of love. Doubtless Fra Angelico did not experience

these interior conflicts.

The

remains that the pure

fact

such, reduplicative ut

sic, is

Prudence perfects the will is straight in its

say, with regard to

its

the whole man: ^^ in termining the means

human ends the appetite

something entirely amoral.

own line as human appetite, that is own proper good, which is the good reality

concerns

it

is

of

only with de-

itself

it

presupposes that

rightly disposed with reference to these ends.

appetite, for the ends at

human

to

in relation to such or such concrete

already willed, and therefore

supposing the rectitude of the

of the

only presupposing that the

intellect

on the contrary, perfects the

Art,

taken as

artist abstractly

intellect

will in its

which

it

without pre-

own hne

as

human

aims are outside the sphere

movement

good. Hence "the

of the appetite

which corrupts the judgment of prudence, does not corrupt the judgment of

art,

any more than

it

does that of geometry."

^3

Since the act of using our faculties (usus) depends on the will in its

proper dynamism as

human

appetite,^^

one can

understand that art gives only the power of making well (facultas boni operis),

The

artist

may choose

and not the use not to use his

badly, just as the grammarian,

if

itself

art,

he wishes,

barbarism, and yet the virtue of art in him

any the

less perfect.

of

making

is

well.

may use may commit

or he

not for

all

it

a

that

According to the celebrated saying of

Art an Intellectual Virtue

17

who no doubt would have hked the fantasies * Satie, the artist who sins against his art is not blamed

Aristotle,^^

of Erik if it;

he

sins willing

whereas the

justice

is

it

as

he would be

man who

blamed more

out willing

it.

if

he

he sinned without willing

sins willing

prudence or against it

than

if

he

sins with-

In this connection the ancients observed that

both Art and Prudence have

mand,

if

sins against

first

to judge

but that the principal act of art

whereas the principal act of prudence

is

is

and then

to

com-

merely to judge,

to

command. Per-

fectio artis consistit in judicando.^^

Finally, since

Prudence has for

its

matter, not a thing-to-

be-made, an object determined in being, but the pure use

makes of his freedom, it has no certain and determined ways or fixed rules. Its fixed point is the true end to which the moral virtues tend, and in relation to which it has to determine the just means. But for attaining this end, and for applying the universal principles of moral science, that the subject

precepts and counsels, to the particular action to be produced, there are

no ready-made

tissue of circumstances

rules; for this action is clothed in a

which individualize

it

and make of

it

each time a truly new case.^^ In each of these cases t there will be a particular manner of conforming to the end. It is for Prudence to find this manner, using

ways or

rules sub-

ordinated to the will which chooses according to the occurrence of circumstances and occasions

—ways

or rules that in

themselves are contingent and not pre-determined, that will

be fixed with certitude and rendered absolutely determined which are by no means barbarisms, but achievements modesty, evidencing the most profound care for rigor and purity. t Especially when, for example, it is a question of determining the exact measure of two virtues which must be practiced at the same time firmness and kindness, humility and magnanimity, mercy and * Fantasies

in



truth, etc.

Art and Scholasticism

18

only by the judgment or the decision of the Prudent

and which the Schoolmen called Particular for each

trariae.

Prudence

is

Man,

for this reason regulae arbi-

particular

the

case,

nonetheless certain and infallible, as

I

ruling

of

have said

before, because the truth of the prudential judgment depends

on the

right intention {per

tum), not on the event.

conformitatem ad appetitum rec-

And

supposing the return of a

infinity of cases, in all points identical

second case, or of an

with a given case, the very same ruling as was imposed on that

one would have

be imposed on

to

all

but there will never

:

be a single moral case which would be entirely identical with another.-^ It is

clear then that

no science can replace prudence, for

science, no matter how detailed in casuistry it may has anything but general and determined rules. It

is

clear also

why Prudence,

in

be, never

order to establish

its

judgment, must absolutely have recourse to that groping and multiple exploration which the ancients called consilium (deliberation, counsel).

on the contrary, which has for its matter a thingto-be-made, proceeds by certain and determined ways: "Art Art,

seems to be nothing other than a certain ordination of reason, by which human acts reach a determined end through determined

means."

^^

The Schoolmen, and they make

affirm this constantly,

following

fixed rules an essential property of art as such. later

some remarks concerning

Aristotle,

of this possession of I

shall present

these fixed rules in the case

of the fine arts. Let us recall here that the ancients treat of

the virtue of Art considered in

not in any one of

example of

The

is first

and

in all its generality,

particular species; so that the simplest

art thus considered, the

concept of art cal arts.

its

itself

one

in

which the generic

realized, must be sought in the mechani-

art of the shipbuilder or of the

clockmaker has

Art an Intellectual Virtue for

its

19

proper end something invariable and universal, deter-

mined by reason: the time



to permit

man

on water or

to travel

to

tell

the thing-to-be-made, ship or clock, being itself

but a matter to be formed according to that end.

And

for that

there are fixed rules, likewise determined by reason, in keep-

ing with the end and with a certain set of conditions.

Thus the

effect

produced

doubtless individual, and in

is

those cases where the matter of the art

and imperfect,

tingent

particularly con-

as in Medicine, for example, or in

Agriculture or in Strategy, Art will find

it

necessary in order

fixed rules to use contingent rules (regiilae arbi-

to apply

its

trariae)

and a kind of prudence,

to

is

will find

true that of itself Art derives

and universal ness of

its

rules,

stability

its

necessary also

it

have recourse to deliberation, to consilium.

It is

from

nonetheless rational

its

not from consilium, and that the correct-

judgment

not derived, as with Prudence, from

is

the circumstances and occurrences, but rather tain

and determined ways which are proper

why

the arts are at the

same time

from the

to

it.^^

cer-

That

is

practical sciences, such as

Medicine or Surgery {ars chirurgico-barbifica,

it

was

still

and some can even be

called in the seventeenth century),

speculative sciences, like Logic.

5.

In summary. Art

more

thus

is

exclusively intellectual

than Prudence. Whereas Prudence has for subject the practical intellect it,^^

will,

Art does not concern

itself

and with the ends that the

human

appetite;

and

appetite,"^^ this is

still

end. Like Science, object to be made, plated).

It

and depending on with the proper good of the

as presupposing right will

if it

will

pursues in

its

own

line as

supposes a certain rectitude of the

with regard to some properly intellectual

it

it

is

to

is

an object that Art

true, not

uses the roundabout

way

is

riveted (an

an object to be contemof deliberation

and coun-

Art and Scholasticism

20 sel

only by accident. Although

effects,

produces individual acts and

it

does not, except secondarily, judge according to

it

the contingencies of circumstance; thus

it

considers less than

does Prudence the individuation of actions and the hie nunc.^'^ In short,

gent,

if

its

matter, which

formal reason and as virtue

its

more with Science

and

"^^

et

contin-

speculativis in ratione virtutis, Scientist

is

quam cum

accords

cum

habitibus

prudentia.^''

an Intellectual who demonstrates, the Artist

who makes, the Prudent Man Will who acts well.

Intellectual

of

it

the habitus of the speculative intel-

than with Prudence: ars magis convenit

Man

is

Art accords more with Prudence than with Science,

yet according to

lect

by reason of

Such, in

its

principal features,

Schoolmen had of

art.

Not

is

an

is

The is

an

intelligent

the conception that the

in Phidias

and Praxiteles

only,

but in the village carpenter and blacksmith as well, they ac-

knowledged an

intrinsic

The

of the intellect.

eyes, strength of muscle

rapidity of the

development of reason, a nobility

virtue of the craftsman

was

and nimbleness of

not, in their

fingers, or the

chronometered and tailored gesture; nor was

mere empirical activity (experimentum) which takes place in the memory and in the animal (cogitative) reason, which imitates art and which art absolutely needs,^^ but which it

that

remains of

itself extrinsic to art. It v^as

and endowed the humblest

a virtue of the intellect,

artisan with a certain perfection

of the spirit.

The

artisan, in the

of truly

men.

If

because

human

normal type of human development and

civilizations,

represents the general run of

Christ willed to be an artisan in a

He wanted

to

assume the

little

common

village,

it

is

condition of

humanity.^^

The Doctors

of the

Middle Ages did

not, like

many

of

Art an Intellectual Virtue

21

our introspecting psychologists, study only city people, library dwellers, or academicians; they

were interested

mass of mankind. But even so they

still

in the

whole

studied their Master.

In considering the art or the proper activity of the artifex,

Our Lord chose

they considered the activity that

during

of His hidden

all

the very activity of the Father; for they

of Art

and

is

knew

that the virtue

predicated pre-eminently of God, as are Goodness

and that the Son,

Justice,^^

trade,

to exercise

they considered also, in a way,

life;

was

in plying

His poor man's

the image of the Father and of His never-

still

^^

ceasing action:

Philip,

who

he

sees

Me,

sees the Father

also.

It is

curious to note that in their classifications the ancients

did not give a separate place to what

They divided

we

call the fine arts.^^

the arts into servile arts and liberal arts, ac-

cording as they required or did not require the labor of the

— was taken from — according

body,'^^ or rather

one thinks,

for this division,

ratio factibilium

one case an

effect

which goes deeper than

the very concept of art, recta as the

produced

work

in matter

to be

made was

(factibile

in

properly

speaking), in the other a purely spiritual construction remaining in the soul.^^ In that case, sculpture and painting belonged to the servile

was next

arts,'*^

and music

to arithmetic

intellectually

and

to the liberal arts,

logic.

where

it

For the musician arranges

sounds in his soul, just as the arithmetician

arranges numbers there, and the logician, concepts



the oral

or instrumental expression, which causes to pass into the fluid successions of

achieved in the

sonorous matter the constructions thus

spirit,

being but an extrinsic consequence

and a simple means for these

arts.

In the powerfully social structure of mediaeval civilization,

Art and Scholasticism

22 the artist

had only the rank of

artisan,

and every kind of

anarchical development was forbidden his individualism, be-

cause a natural social discipline imposed on him from the outside certain limiting conditions.

'*'*

He

did not

work

for the

rich and fashionable and for the merchants, but for the ful;

it

was

his mission to

house their prayers, to instruct their

intelligences, to delight their souls

epoch, in

without even realizing

tors

and

their eyes.

which an ingenuous people was formed

to pray without

it,

knowing

faith-

Matchless in

beauty

just as the perfect religious

that he

is

praying;

'*'"'

in

ought

which Doc-

and image-makers lovingly taught the poor, and the poor

delighted in their teaching, because they were

all

of the

same

royal race, born of water and the Spirit!

Man

more beautiful things in those days, and he The blessed humility in which the artist was placed exalted his strength and his freedom. The Renaissance was to drive the artist mad, and to m.ake of him the most miserable of men at the very moment when the world was to become less habitable for him by revealing to him his own peculiar grandeur, and by letting loose on him the created

adored himself

less.





wild beast Beauty which Faith had kept enchanted and led after

it,

docile.^^

Art and Beauty

Saint

Thomas, who was

as simple as he

was

wise, defined

the beautiful as that which, being seen, pleases: id quod visum placet .'^'^ These four words say that

is

an

to say,

beautiful

is

intuitive

what gives

all

that

necessary: a vision,

is

knowledge, and a delight. The

—not

delight

any

just

delight, but de-

hght in knowing; not the delight peculiar to the act of knowing,

but a delight which superabounds and overflows from

this act

because of the object known.

delights the soul intuition,

Beauty

by the very

good

it is

essentially

is

fact that

to apprehend,

an object of

in the full sense of the

which alone

open

of beauty

is

it

also, in a

senses, in so far as in

way,

man

is

given to the soul's

beautiful."^^

for that

intelligence,

word is intelligence, The natural place

to the sense of sight

it

falls

is

from there that

under the grasp of the

"Among

all

the senses,

and the sense of hearing only that

the beautiful relates, because these two senses are cognoscitivi." ^^

The

ception of beauty

is

maxime

part played by the senses in the per-

even rendered enormous in

us,

and well-

nigh indispensable, by the very fact that our intelligence

not intuitive, as

is

it

they serve the intellect and can

themselves take delight in knowing: it

and

to the infinity of being.

the intelligible world,

descends. But

a thing exalts

it is

it is

which knows is

If

the intelligence of the angel;

23

it

sees, to

is

be

— 24

Art and Scholasticism

sure, but

on condition of abstracting and discoursing; only

man

sense knowledge possesses perfectly in

the intuitiveness

Thus man can

required for the perception of the beautiful.

doubtless enjoy purely intelligible beauty, but the beautiful that

connatural to

is

is

man

the beautiful that delights the

is

through the senses and through their intuition. Such

intellect

also the beautiful that

proper to our

is

a sensible matter in order to delight the like to believe that paradise is

not

the terrestrial paradise, because

it

art,

which shapes

would thus

spirit. It

lost.

It

has the savor of

restores, for a

peace and the simultaneous delight of the

moment, the and the

intellect

senses.

If

beauty delights the

intellect,

it is

because

essentially

it is

a certain excellence or perfection in the proportion of things to the intellect.

Hence

fullness

in

ity.

because the

because the

finally,

intellect is

A certain splendor

is,

intellect is

because the

of Being; proportion,

pleased in order and unity; clarity,

and above

all,

—but

it is

intellect

is

intelligibil-

in fact, according to all the ancients, claritas est

pulchritudinis ;'^ lux pulchrificat, quia sine luce ^2

pleased

radiance or

pleased in light and

the essential characteristic of beauty

turpia

Thomas

the three conditions Saint

^^ integrity,

assigned to beauty:

a splendor of intelligibility

:

de ratione

omnia sunt

splendor

veri,

said the Platonists; splendor ordinis, said Saint Augustine,

form of

adding that "unity

is

formae, said Saint

Thomas

the

language: for the form, that stitutes

in

if

all

it,

^"^

splendor

precise metaphysician's

his

that

in their essences

one may so put

beauty";

to say, the principle

the proper perfection of

and achieves things finally,

is

all

is,

and

which con-

which constitutes

qualities,

which

is,

the ontological secret that they

bear within them, their spiritual being, their operating mystery



the form, indeed,

is

above

all

the proper principle of Intel-

Art and Beauty

the proper clarity of every thing. Besides, every

ligibility,

form

is

25

a vestige or a ray of the creative InteUigence imprinted

at the heart of created being.

der and every proportion so, to say

is

On the

the other hand, every or-

work

of intelligence.

with the Schoolmen that beauty

And

the splendor of

is

on the proportioned parts of matter, ^^ is to say that a flashing of intelligence on a matter intelligibly arranged.

the form it is

The ful

intelligence delights in the beautiful because in the beauti-

it

finds itself again

tact with

its

own

light.

Francis of Assisi

and recognizes

This

is

—^perceive

itself,

and makes con-

so true that those

—such

who know that things come forth from an and who relate them to their author.

things,

Every sensible beauty implies, of the eye

itself

beauty only

A

if

as Saint

and savor more the beauty of

it

intelligence,

true, a certain delight

is

or of the ear or the imagination: but there

the intelligence also takes delight in

is

some way.

beautiful color "washes the eye," just as a strong scent

dilates the nostril;

only the

is

perfume,

knowledge,^^ liance,

but of these two "forms" or qualities color

said to be beautiful, because, being received, unlike in it

a

sense

power capable of

can be, even through

an object of delight for the

higher the level of man's culture, the

its

disinterested

purely sensible bril-

intellect.

more

Moreover, the

spiritual

becomes

the brilliance of the form that delights him. It is

important, however, to note that in the beautiful that

we have called connatural to man, and which is proper to human art, this brilliance of the form, no matter how purely intelligible it may be in itself, is seized in the sensible and through the sensible, and not separately from it. The intuition of artistic beauty thus stands at the opposite extreme

the abstraction of scientific truth.

For with the former

from it

is

through the very apprehension of the sense that the light of being penetrates the intelligence.

26

Art and Scholasticism

The

work and without

abstraction, rejoices without is

dispensed from

an to

from

intelligence in this case, diverted

intelligible

go over

its

usual labor;

its

from the matter

it

it is

by

different attributes step

step; like a stag at

do but drink;

drinks the clarity of being. Caught up in the intuition of

sense,

it is

given to it

It

buried, in order

the gushing spring, intelligence has nothing to it

discourse.

does not have to disengage

which

in

effort of

all

it,

irradiated

by an

does not seize sub ratione

veri,

which

it

glitters,

and which

but rather sub ratione delec-

through the happy release procured for the intelligence

tabilis,

and through the delight ensuing at every

wards

suddenly

intelligible light that is

in the very sensible in

good of the soul

will

it

be able to

as at

reflect

in the appetite,

its

which leaps

proper object. Only after-

more or

upon

less successfully

the causes of this delight.^^

Thus, although the beautiful borders on the metaphysical true, in the sense that every

implies

splendor of

some conformity with

the Intelligence that

of things, nevertheless the beautiful

a kind of good;

^^

is

the cause

not a kind of truth, but

is

the perception of the beautiful relates to

comme

knowledge, but by way of addition, s'ajoute sa fleur;

intelligibility in things

it is

not so

much

a kind of

a

la

jeunesse

knowledge as a

kind of delight.

The

beautiful

is

essentially delightful. This

very nature and precisely as beautiful,

it

is

stirs

why, of desire

produces love, whereas the true as such only illumines. nibus igitur est pulchrum et diligibile."

And

it is

-'^

It is

for

et its

bonum

wards the too weak

flesh is

turn produces ecstasy, that

is

is first

caught to say,

"Om-

desiderabile et amabile

beauty that

for itself that every beauty

its

and

Wisdom

in the trap. it

is

loved, even

loved.^* if

Love

afterin its

puts the lover outside

of himself; ec-stasy, of which the soul experiences a diminished

27

Art and Beauty

form when of

seized

it is

when

the fullness

it is

by the beauty of the work of

art,

and

absorbed, like the dew, by the beauty

God.

And

of God Himself, we must be so bold as

according to Denis the Areopagite,^^ to say that

ecstasy of love, because of the

Him

which leads

He

suffers in

some way

abundance of His goodness

to diffuse in all things a participation of

His

But God's love causes the beauty of what He loves, whereas our love is caused by the beauty of what we love. splendor.

The

speculations of the ancients concerning the beautiful

must be taken terializing their is

not just one

in the

most formal sense; we must avoid ma-

thought in any too narrow specification. There

way but

which the notion of

a thousand or ten thousand ways in

integrity or perfection or

be realized. The lack of a head or an arm

woman

able lack of integrity in a in

a statue

have

The

—whatever

felt at

plete than the

he

is

quarter of an eye, no one denies is

an eye be precisely the

Venus de Milo. is more com-

da Vinci's or even of Rodin's

futurist to give the lady

It is

M. Ravaisson may

disappointment

And

most perfect Bouguereau.

—here

quite a consider-

but of very Uttle account

not being able to complete the

least sketch of

asks only

is

completion can

pleases a

painting only one eye, or a

him

the right to

the whole problem all

if it



do

this

:

one

that this quarter of

the eye this lady needs in the given case.

same with proportion,

fitness

and harmony. They

are diversified according to the objects and according to the ends.

The good proportion

of a

man

is

not the good propor-

tion of a child. Figures constructed according to the

Greek

or the Egyptian canons are perfectly proportioned in their genre; but Rouault's clowns are also perfectly proportioned, in their genre.

Integrity

and proportion have no absolute

Art and Scholasticism

28 signification,^^

and must be understood

the end of the work, which Finally,

which

is

and above

the

all,

main thing

is

to

this

make

a form shine on matter.

radiance

in beauty,

ways of shining on matter.* There

solely in relation to

itself

has an is

of the form,

infinity of diverse

the sensible radiance of

* By "radiance of the form" must be understood an ontological splendor which is in one way or another revealed to our mind, not a conceptual clarity. We must avoid all misunderstanding here: the words clarity, intelligibility light, which we use to characterize the role of "form" at the heart of things, do not necessarily designate something clear and intelligible for us, but rather something clear and luminous in itself, intelligible in itself, and which often remains obscure to our eyes, either because of the matter in which the form in question is buried, or because of the transcendence of the form itself in the things of the spirit. The more substantial and the more profound this secret sense is, the more hidden it is for us; so that, in truth, to say with the Schoolmen that the form is in things the proper principle of intelligibility, is to say at the same time that it is the proper principle of mystery. (There is in fact no mystery where there is nothing to know: mystery exists where there is more to be known than is given to our comprehension.) To define the beautiful by the radiance of the form is in reality to define it by the radiance of a mystery. It is a Cartesian misconception to reduce clarity in itself to clarity for us. In art this misconception produces academicism, and condemns us to a beauty so meagre that it can radiate in the soul only the most paltry of delights. If it be a question of the "legibility" of the work, I would add that if the radiance of form can appear in an "obscure" work as well as in a "clear" work, the radiance of mystery can appear in a "clear" work as well as in an "obscure" work. From this point of view neither "obscurity" nor "clarity" enjoys any privilege. [1927] Moreover, it is natural that every really new work appear obscure at first. Time will decant the judgment. "They say," Hopkins wrote to Bridges apropos the poem The Wreck of the Deutschland, "that vessels sailing from the port of London will take (perhaps it should be / used once to take) Thames water for the voyage: it was foul and stunk at first as the ship worked but by degrees casting its filth was in a few days very pure and sweet and wholesome and better than any water in the world. However that may be, it is true to my purpose. When a new thing, such as my ventures in the Deutschland are, is presented us our first criticisms are not our truest, best, most homefelt, or most lasting but what come easiest on the instant. They are barbarous and like what the ignorant and the ruck say. This was so with you. The Deutschland on her first run worked very much and ,

Art and Beauty color or, tone; there

is

29

the intelligible clarity of an arabesque,

of a rhythm or an harmonious balance, of an activity or a

movement; there divine thought;

^'-^

the reflection

is

there

one glimpses of the

is,

above

there

is

a

things of a

human

still

and

ani-

and passion.

spiritual life, of pain

more exalted

or

the deep-seated splendor

soul, of the soul principle of life

mal energy, or principle of

And

upon all,

splendor, the splendor of

Grace, which the Greeks did not know. Beauty, therefore,

immutable type,

confusing the true

would have

it

is

not conformity to a certain ideal and

in the sense in

and the

which they understand knowledge and

beautiful,

man

that in order to perceive beauty

it

who,

delight,

discover

"by the vision of ideas," "through the material envelope," "the invisible essence of things" and their "necessary type." Saint as he

Thomas was was from the

There

on a

is

this

pseudo-Platonism

bazaar of Winckelmann and David.

beauty for him the

and he takes care

relative



moment

the shining of any form

to

warn us

that beauty

in

some

which the

modems

understand the word rela-

but to the proper nature and end of the thing, and to

the formal conditions under which

it

is

taken. 'Tulchritudo

quodammodo dicitur per respectum ad aliquid. enim

is

relative not to the dispositions of the subject,

in the sense in tive,

removed from

idealist

suitably proportioned matter succeeds in pleasing the

intellect,

way

as far

^^

est pulchritudo spiritus et alia corporis,

et illius corporis." ^^

And however

.

.

." ^^ ''Alia

atque alia hujus

beautiful a created thing

unsettled you, thickening and clouding your mind with vulgar mudbottom and common sewage (I see that I am going it with the image) and just then you drew off your criticisms all stinking (a necessity now of the image) and bilgy, whereas if you had let your thoughts cast themselves they would have been clearer in themselves and more to my taste too." Letter of May 13, 1878, in The Letters of Gerard Manley Hopkins to Robert Bridges, edited with notes and an introduction by Claude CoUeer Abbott (London: Oxford University Press,

1935), pp. 50-51.

30

Art and Scholasticism

may

be,

because

it

can appear beautiful

it is

some and not

to

beautiful only under certain aspects,

discern and others do not:

and not beautiful

If this is so,

is

it

to others,

which some

thus "beautiful in one place

in another."

it is

because the beautiful belongs to the order

of the transcendentals, that

to say, objects of thought

is

which

transcend every limit of genus or category, and which do not allow themselves to be enclosed in any class, because they

imbue everything and are

to be

found every where. ^^ Like the

one, the true and the good, the beautiful sidered from a certain aspect;

the

mere

thing

is

it,

an

And

as being

is

is

Thus every-

good, at least in a cer-

everywhere present and every-

where varied the beautiful likewise is

is

adds to being only

intellectual nature.

beautiful, just as everything

tain relation.

it

being considered as delighting, by

it is

intuition of

con-

itself

a property of being. It

it is

not an accident superadded to being, a relation of reason:

being

is

is

diffused everywhere

and

everywhere varied. Like being and the other transcenden-

tals, it is essentially

analogous, that

is

to say,

it is

predicated

for diverse reasons, sub diversa ratione, of the diverse subjects

of which is

good

it is

in its

predicated

own way,

:

is

each kind of being beautiful in

its

is

in

its

own way,

own way. God pre-eminently;

Analogous concepts are predicated of in

Him

the perfection they designate exists in a "formal-

eminent" manner,

in the

"sovereign analogue,"

^^

pure and

infinite state.

and they are

in things only as a dispersed

to

and prismatized

countenance of God.^^ Thus Beauty

is

God

is

their

be met with again reflection of the

one of the divine

names.

God

is

beautiful.

He

is

the

most beautiful of beings, be-

Art and Beauty

31

Thomas

cause, as Denis the Areopagite and Saint

His beauty

without alteration or vicissitude, without in-

is

crease or diminution; and because things, all of

explain,^^

it

is

not as the beauty of

which have a particularized beauty, particulatam

pulchritudinem, sicut et particulatam naturam.

He

is

beautiful

through Himself and in Himself, beautiful absolutely.

He

is

beautiful to the extreme (superpulcher)

,

because in

the perfectly simple unity of His nature there pre-exists in

a super-excellent manner the fountain of

He

is

beauty

itself,

because

He

beauty.

all

gives beauty to

all

created

beings, according to the particular nature of each, and because

He

is

the cause of

form indeed, that

all

consonance and

to say, every light,

is

proceeding from the

first

And

divine brightness."

all

is

brightness.

Every

"a certain irradiation

brightness," "a participation in the

every consonance or every harmony,

every concord, every friendship and every union whatsoever

among

beings proceeds from the divine beauty, the primordial

and super-eminent type of things together in this "the

and which

name

x