Showing posts from March, 2014

Eighteenth-Century French art: Diderot's art criticism of Greuze, Chardin, Boucher and Fragonard

Diderot’s Salons have much more than a purely historical value. They did, indeed, allow readers far removed from the Parisian art exhibits to appreciate new works of art. And they do, indeed, still tell us so much—and so entertainingly—about the artistic standards of the eighteenth-century. But they also accomplish more than that. They help us understand better the connection between aesthetics and art criticism—or, otherwise put, between abstract philosophical inquiries about the nature of art and beauty and specific value judgments about particular artists and paintings. Aesthetics — a word derived from the Greek word aesthesis meaning “sense experience” — concerns itself with the study of art. Aesthetic philosophy seeks to understand the principles that underlie our value judgments: What is beauty? Is it objective in any way? How is aesthetic pleasure related to perception? What is an artist? What is called talent or genius? What makes something be art? Today we believe that such …