The house of art has a complex relationship with the landscape of the time. It embraces art, economics, social function and craftsmanship. The view of the vista for mere accumulation of knowledge, for its own sake, seem barren, in the fact of the human desire for order, pattern, and explanation. That something to be explained constitutes the disciplining center of study.
A critic may, however, view the house of art in isolation, ignoring the landscape of the time. His energy could be devoted to the external architecture, as well as the internal intricacies. The carpet in the room can be examined, with professional expertise, both for fit and pattern. The exercise may quite please the critic, but the inventory of beauty could be tiresome if the detail is too minute. On the other hand, the recognition that it exists within the landscape has dangers too. The object of attention may lose scrutiny, and blur, if it is dominated by surroundings.
An uninspired methodology does not achieve results. I am in agreement with the French historian, Marc Block, “…every historical research supposes that the inquiry has a direction at the very first step. In the beginning, there must be the guiding spirit.” Human consciousness is part of the raw material of history. This gives a crucial role to a work of art, a form in which the complexities of human consciousness can be explored, to a large extent, with subtle exactness.
A true critic is an artiste. Just as the artiste is his own critic. The artiste is the very first consumer of his work. He cannot allow the artwork to leave the shop-floor unless he is satisfied. However, this is not the case with other produce. Great art and great artistes invite a robust communion because they arise from, and exist, in a world of public interest, as well as, private imagination. Imagination, to be precise, appeals to the public, as it does to the private.
A true critic fires his imagination with the same creative impulse that is supposed with the guiding spirit of the artiste alone. Without a creative impulse, the critic may, at best produce, a piece of evidence that must take its place, possibly amongst hundreds of others.
Pix from Net.