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if rightly studied, it is calculated to sustain the cause of religion, not by a stupid worship of its productions, but by the refinement which it effects upon the mind, tending to a fuller apprehension of the Divine perfections, has had much to do with the present attempt.
None can be more truly aware of the inadequacy of his work than the writer himself; but having in the course of his professional labors been led to make these remarks upon the subject, he gives them to the public in hope that they may contribute some little to the great current of thought which is now flowing in the same direction, and perhaps even by their deficiencies, provoke others, better qualified, to undertake works more completely systematizing, and more fully unfolding the riches of this interesting department of science.
THE STUDY OF ÆSTHETICS.
That faculty of our spiritual nature whereby we combine the similar, and set apart the dissimilar, is our guide alike to the highest achievements of science and to every excellence in the domain of art. Being the representative in mind of a great law pervading and governing matter, in seeking its affinities in outward things, it constitutes the clue by which man is enabled to explore the labyrinths of nature, as well as the rule whereby he may reconstruct after the model of her works. To unfold the native working of that faculty, and to direct its application to the productions of genius, is the object of Æsthetic Science.
The term Æsthetic is not indeed perfectly satisfactory, but we have no better. Theoretic, which has been proposed and advocated as a substitute, by Mr. Ruskin, is greatly inferior, being etymologically defective, as properly applying only to intellection, and redundant, as embracing much that does not belong to Art, while it is already an English word, appropriated to an entirely different idea. Whatever may be said against Æsthetic is due to its derivation, and can have no force to prevent its usage from extending to all the departments of knowledge to which it is applied. Not yet appropriated to any different or shallow sense, there is no reason why its meaning should be confined by a foreign etymology. A word yet unperverted by the popular tongue, and so completely in the hands of science to expand and shape according to her own demands, it would be foolish to reject upon the mere deficiency of its Greek original. What its parent was not to the Greek, it may become to us, as readily as a hundred others have done.
The word Art I shall also employ in a sense somewhat wider than its popular acceptation, including under it not only painting, statuary, and other departments ordinarily so designated, but also poetry, oratory, and some other productions of letters. I am aware that many will remonstrate against such a classification, because they have a confused notion of Art as something factitious, and of writing as faculty that comes by nature. They will properly
enough praise the art of the painter and statuary, and yet never think of the word in connection with literature but as meaning something low and dishonest, and akin to the arts of the gambler, the horsejockey, and the juggler; thus confounding art with trickery, a vulgar abuse of the word, for which there is no excuse in the necessities of our language.
The word Art is properly used both to designate a kind of intellectual effort, and the results thereof. In the first case it means the conception of some worthy end, and the disposal and modification of things to answer the end designed. In the second, it is applied to the works of man, as contradistinguished from those of God, which are called nature. It is also employed, in a more limited manner, to designate the application of scientific principles, and in that case differs from science, as application from investigation. By science, we inquire into, discover, and classify principles; by art, we carry those principles into practice. The principles of science become rules of art. Thus, chemistry is a science, but pharmacy is an art; the art of making lenses has sprung from the science of optics, and the science of anatomy has instructed the art of both the surgeon and the statuary. Art is the end or object of science, and science is the foundation of art, or the fountain from which its rules are drawn. That is but a futile science, unworthy of the name, which is capable of producing no offspring in art, and it is impossible to attain an honorable rank in art without a knowledge of the corresponding science. They lay an unnecessary and an embarrassing yoke upon their genius, who enter the lists of art without scientific preparation, expecting success in blindly following the works of others, or in confining themselves to an untutored struggle with their own crude notions.
The arts have been variously classified in different ages, and by different writers. By the ancient Romans they were all placed under the heads, liberal, and servile, from the fact that some had accidentally been cultivated from early time by freemen, and others by slaves. Merchandise and all mechanic arts were placed among the servile; among the liberal were put grammar, rhetoric, logic, and war. In later times, when freemen had turned their attention to handicrafts, and no longer esteemed it disgraceful to be mechanics, the name servile was dropped, and useful substituted, while liberal continued to be applied to the other class. More recently, the terms fine, elegant, or ornamental, have been employed. Thus, we now commonly hear the arts spoken of as the useful, and the fine or ornamental; as if the one class were not useful, and the other not fine or ornamental; while no such distinction is actually regarded in the distribution of them. For example, calico printing and carpet weaving are classed with the useful, while architecture and gardening are assigned to the fine or ornamental; yet there is as much obvious ornament in many calico and carpet patterns as would be tolerated in a house, and