ART & ORGANISM
What Delacroix said about art as communication
Eugene Delacroix said
“…painting, that is to say the material thing called painting [is] no more than the pretext, than the bridge between the mind of the painter and that of the spectator.” (1850)[i]
His comment recalls Thoreau’s “It takes two to speak the truth– one to speak, and another to hear.”
(1849, “A Week on the Concord and Merrimack Rivers,” “Wednesday”) . . .
BUT this is true of all art. And WITHIN as well as BETWEEN people: We know that communications is essential at all levels of organization … within and between cells, organs, parts of the brain … like all communications—the expressions that rise to the level of art may also be an important bridge between different parts of the painter’s mind.
MUSIC: “It is said that Verdi sat with a pounding heart and on occasion wept while composing the music for his operas. More than a century later, some listeners show the identical reactions. Thus, like written text in literature, a musical score is the medium through which creative artists communicate with their audience.”[i,ii]
STORIES: There are stories and there is story-telling—the greatest stories must be told, and the teller must evoke that sensibility within himself that he wishes to convey and infuse the words with that spirit—in the sense of Stanislavsi[i]. So, how do story-tellers (anyone communicating with language) evoke receptivity or resonance within the listener? This is one of the artist’s main problems.
This is what Kerényi (1960) writes: “The Greek word mythologia contains the sense not only of “stories” (mythoi), but also of “telling” (legein): a form of narration that was also echo-awakening, in that it awoke the awareness that the story personally concerned the narrator and the audience.” (p4) “… the chief characteristic of mythology is that its dramatis persone do not merely act the drama, but—like the figures of a dream—themselves actually construct it ..a little drama of their own.” (p10) (C Kerényi (1960) The Gods of the Greeks Grove Press).
[i] “During the Moscow Art Theatre’s early years, Stanislavski worked on providing a guiding structure for actors to consistently achieve deep, meaningful and disciplined performances. He believed that actors needed to inhabit authentic emotion while on stage and, to do so, they could draw upon feelings they’d experienced in their own lives. Stanislavski also developed exercises that encouraged actors to explore character motivations, giving performances depth and an unassuming realism while still paying attention to the parameters of the production. This technique would come to be known as the “Stanislavski Method” or “the Method.” (https://www.biography.com/actor/constantin-stanislavski )
We speak about authentic communications between artists and their audiences—“heart to heart” communications from the greatest depth accessible to the artist to the greatest depth of the audience, Delacroix’s “mind-to-mind”
So what happens
WHEN ARTISTS ARE IN LOVE WITH THEIR AUDIENCE?
- When the EYES provide a bridge: see comments in A&O notes on COMMUNICATIONS – in particular, notes about MIND-to-MIND COMMUNICATIONS
- look in on A&O web notes on connections between individuals
- COMMUNICATION – INTERSUBJECTIVITY page
[i].Eugene Delacroix (1798‑1863): dated 1850. Journal (1893‑1895), Eugene Delacroix, Journal, Walter Pach, translator, New York, 1972. http://www.bc.edu/bc_org/avp/cas/fnart/fa257/delacroix.html Also cited by Gilson, 1957:132.
[i] (quoted by Mary E. Pharis (2004) in her review of: Affect Regulation and the Repair of the Self and Affect Dysregulation and Disorders of the Self by Allan N Schore (2003). Canadian Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. Spring 2004, pp. 33-34.)
[ii]. Excerpt from Josef P. Rauschecker, 2002. “Where Science Meets the Arts,” A review of Beethoven’s Anvil Music in Mind and Culture by William Benzon (Basic Books (HarperCollins), New York, 2001. 352 pp. $27.50, ,,19.99. ISBN 0-465-01543-3) in Science 296:1032.