Immoral, licentious, anarchical, unscientific -- call them by what names you will -- yet, from an aesthetic
point of view, those ancient days of the Colour Revolt were the glorious childhood of Art in Flatland -- a childhood, alas, that never ripened into manhood, nor even reached the blossom of youth.
"The Muirhead Library of Philosophy was designed as a contribution to the History of Modern Philosophy under the heads: first of Different Schools of Thought--Sensationalist, Realist, Idealist, Intuitivist; secondly of different Subjects--Psychology, Ethics, Aesthetics
, Political Philosophy, Theology.
Blunt, "have had the good fortune, the leisure to develop their intelligence and their beauty in aesthetic conditions as this charming woman had?
The little it saw of her was in the Bois for a few hours every year, riding by the side of a man of unique distinction and of exclusive tastes, devoted to the cult of aesthetic impressions; a man of whom, as far as aspect, manner, and behaviour goes, she might have been the daughter.
She talked apparently of life in general, of its difficulties, moral and physical, of its surprising turns, of its unexpected contacts, of the choice and rare personalities that drift on it as if on the sea; of the distinction that letters and art gave to it, the nobility and consolations there are in aesthetics, of the privileges they confer on individuals and (this was the first connected statement I caught) that Mills agreed with her in the general point of view as to the inner worth of individualities and in the particular instance of it on which she had opened to him her innermost heart.
I just simply let myself go admiring her as though I had been a mere slave of aesthetics: the perfect grace, the amazing poise of that venerable head, the assured as if royal - yes, royal even flow of the voice.
But listless as he lounges there, rather baffled on the aesthetic
question, and guilty of the damning fault (as we have lately discovered it to be) of confounding the merit of the artist with that of his work (for he admires the squinting Madonna of the young lady with the boyish coiffure, because he thinks the young lady herself uncommonly taking), he is a sufficiently promising acquaintance.
But Mr Verloc knew his business, and remained undisturbed by any sort of aesthetic
doubt about his appearance.
Paint us an angel, if you can, with a floating violet robe, and a face paled by the celestial light; paint us yet oftener a Madonna, turning her mild face upward and opening her arms to welcome the divine glory; but do not impose on us any aesthetic
rules which shall banish from the region of Art those old women scraping carrots with their work-worn hands, those heavy clowns taking holiday in a dingy pot-house, those rounded backs and stupid weather-beaten faces that have bent over the spade and done the rough work of the world--those homes with their tin pans, their brown pitchers, their rough curs, and their clusters of onions.
The service would have been pronounced by any modern aesthetic
religionist--or religious aesthete, which is it?--to be crude and cold: to me, coming fresh from the ever-advancing developments of a London church under a soi-disant 'Catholic' Rector, it was unspeakably refreshing.
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