Charles Batteux

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Batteux, Charles


Born May 6, 1713, near Reims; died July 14, 1780, in Paris. French philosopher. Aestheti-cian and teacher. Member of the Académie Française from 1761.

In the works on aesthetics The Fine Arts Reduced to One General Principle (1746) and A Course in Belles Lettres (1747–48), Batteux developed the ideas of classicism. Following Aristotle’s example, he believed imitation to be the basic principle of art, and he saw the differences among the arts in their means of imitation (in painting, color; in music, sound; in dance, gesture; in poetry, discourse). Only “beautiful” nature was to be imitated, and Batteux considered its embodiment in the art of antiquity as a certain kind of absolute, ahistoric norm. In the spirit of Boileau, he established unchanging rules of “good taste.” His aesthetics also became widespread in Germany and Russia. D. Diderot and G. E. Lessing, D. V. Venevitinov, V. G. Belinskii, and N. G. Chernyshevskii polemized against Batteux.


Mashkin, A. P. Esteticheskaia teoriia Batte i lirika Derzhavina. Kazan, 1916.
Istoriia estetiki, vol. 2. Moscow, 1964. Pages 376–89.


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