Michalis Papadakis


Lecture in the frame of a series of lectures organized by the
Cultural Events Committee of the Chamber of Fine Arts of Greece -
Tritsi Amphitheatre, City of Athens , Monday 14/01/2013

Does Art have History ? An Issue in Theory of Art

To the question in the title, I answer positively, as will - assumingly - answer most if not all of you here.

Regarding the subtitle "An Issue in Theory of Art", the challenge is what we mean when we say History and Theory of Art.

In the following with the term ‘Art’, I will refer only to Visual Arts. I also want to emphasize that my criticism does not concern the work itself, but Theory of Art, which includes the artist's opinion about his work. The work itself, although the product of an individual, the artist, that requires the individual will as starting point and dominant element in the whole process of its creation, in the course of its realization as an object outside the mind, it escapes to one degree or another the intentions of its creator, because it necessarily involves and gets involved with the elements of which History of Art in general1 is shaped, and by which alone it will be judged diachronically.

Even today, the dominant theory advocates the notion that Art illustrates the respective sociohistorical phase with its hierarchies etc., and does so with an emphasis on the illustration of ideological and moral values. The dominant theory also has invented the respective adjectives such as 'religious', ‘ethical’, 'political' Art or Art of 'social criticism' etc., where the main objective of these works has to do with the description of a theme or concept ("conceptual art"), ignoring Aesthetics (i.e. the essence of Art in general), which - according to this theory - only incidentally can be satisfied in ways of artistry and good taste.

In "religious" Art, the representation is considered a pictorial narrative of the Scriptures enriching them with the appropriate feelings towards the divine. Yet the claim goes even farther. It is claimed that the iconography in general was conceived out of the need to communicate the divine will to the masses.2

Nevertheless, something quite analogous happens with the other approaches to Art that refer to social, political, conceptual etc. ideological concepts. In fact, many times it is advocated that illustrating this or another ideology characterizes the respective Art as "revolutionary-innovative» or not.

The pseudo-problem "Art for art's sake" or Art for Man?", which played a deeply negative role in the evolution of Art until the Second World War, still rules today under the cloak of a more ‘open’, supposedly democratic tolerance. The creed "Art for Man" poses as criterion of the representation some supposedly anthropocentric concept or socio-political idea.

The other creed ("Art for art's sake"), having now lost its character of being a ‘counter-power’, adds as many adjectives to the old ones, that serve mainly to encompass aesthetic applications of modern technologies (digital and otherwise) and installations in the visual arts.

Wherever the work of Art is positioned in relation to the pseudo-problem, the view that dominates today hast to a large degree mitigated the differences uniting them in the common view that the work of Art, one way or another, is the expression of the individual sensitivity of the subject-artist, who, for some mystical reasons, wants to externalize his sensitivity in a representation and with this representation to activate, equally mysteriously, the emotions of other subjects, and more so, different emotions for each of them; i.e. that the work of Art is a "testimony of the soul" from the side of the artist and a “subjective experience of individual emotions” from the side of the viewer.

Whichever we pick from the above theoretical variations, what they claim is that Art is only a means, by which ideological, political, religious and other ideas acquire image and are communicated, always in some sort of mystic revelation of the content of some "lonely souls”.

From the above is to be concluded that what they consider to be Art and Art History is nothing but the illustration and the narration of these illustrations and the subjects who produced them.


At this point, I would like to make something like a parenthetical remark to give my view on an important issue, which will help the course of my presentation.

Two of the most difficult concepts related to the work of Art are those of Form and Content.

In its material existence the work of Art is nothing more than a simple surface developing in two or three dimensions; a representation that unfolds in two or three dimensions and that, beyond whatever it shows, has nothing to hide.

This makes it seem that the two concepts are not related to the work of Art itself, the natural way in which it exists, but to the interpretations and theories about it (something that also most artists believe).

Such an approach excludes the work of Art from being an object of scientific research and “legitimizes” only being emotionally touched by it, on an individual basis.

Another widely held view on the issue is that Form is the material and the way the representation is made, and Content the theme shown by the representation, the meaning it deals with and, more generally, what it symbolizes.

A third, more philosophical approach concludes that these two concepts are identical in the work of Art, or otherwise: they can not be separated. In practice, this view meets with the first one, which separates the experience of the work of Art (and of Nature in general) from knowledge, perceiving knowledge as a process that expresses and satisfies only knowledge itself.

It is no coincidence that all the above opinions interpret the appearance of Art as a need arising from the depths of the human soul and consider its use value to be the satisfaction of this need.

A meaningful response to the above views will be one that will be able to bring out the use value of the work of Art as a discrete value, historically necessary in the process of knowledge.

This distinct use value is the subject of this presentation. Form in the work of Art (as in Nature) is what makes the object being perceived by the senses. On each scale of analysis of the object, we are constantly confronted with new forms and the causes of those forms that constitute the meaning of their existence.

Each Form is the expression of the most general determinations. Form is the line (or surface) formed when the forces that make up an entity are pushing towards and are pushed from all other entities that constitute its environment, for this entity to create its space. Form in this sense is the Point, where Space as a general concept of the Whole becomes obvious. Form is also a distinct Moment that brings out the presence of an unidentified, liquid state, i.e. Time.

Art works on the boundaries of Form in such a way that it is a representation of Space and Time, which are the Content of the work of Art.

I will refer to an example that I find rather enlightening.

In the last interview Yannis Tsarouchis gave, in old age, in a TV presentation of his work (ERT's archive), the reporter asked him in a clearly playful mood: "What is it that inspired you in choosing your themes?"

"I was always concerned, Tsarouchis replied, with the relation of the figure with the background. The themes were merely meaningless occasions."

This answer, besides being disappointing, was also gobbledegook for the reporter on the artistic, who rather than to benefit from it changed the topic.

In a gathering with mature in age and work artists, where I found myself by chance, I mentioned the above interview with Tsarouchis adding my admiration for his answer, and commented that he described in the most concise manner the question that his work is trying to answer: The relation of the indeterminate whole (background) with the determinate (figure) in perception - and that this is an epistemic question.

All that I got from the others in reaction to this was awkwardness and the following comment: "I knew Tsarouchis well, that is not the way he was thinking."

Well, Content is what Tsarouchis described assertively for his work. A deep question concerning knowledge, which for him took the form of the relation of the figure with the background. In the work of Art, the transition from Form to Content happens, when the Form, the representation, becomes a representation of Aesthetics. The representation of Aesthetics (work of Art) is the reduction of the sensory expressions to a representation that gives meaning (Content) to their existence.


The same theoretical considerations also speak about 'language'. What they actually mean is a certain way of narration about events or conditions, or a personal idiom, something analogous to that of autism, that suggests events that lie in the "depths of the soul’s activity" (something very typical for constructions in 'contemporary art' which must be accompanied by texts of the translator-curator).

But the ‘visual language’, like any language, in order to be language, creates powerful laws and rules in order to make it another form of reflection aiming at the logic underlying the motion of the substance of objects, despite their description. In this way, the representation transcends the passive role of a ‘mirror’ and becomes a carrier of evolution of knowledge and culture.

And in this respect, the theory of Art should also have at the centre of its analysis the visual language as such, because history of Beauty unfolds also within the motion of forms of visual language.

Because the property ‘language’ is one of the properties of the substance of Aesthetic representation, it can not be ignored. Through the “language” of Aesthetics, as happens with the language, the concept of substance of things emerges into cognition; we express this substance and by this act take part in its motion.


Art, according to the theories mentioned above, can not exist independently of the respective sociohistorical or individual psychological conditions, as for instance happens with the natural sciences dealing with something that is the criterion of their truth. Although the discovery of something is solely due to the history of Man, at the same time that something exists independently of this history, and so the scientific truth does not depend upon the respective historical periods, and quite often it is against or beyond them. Therefore, in natural sciences, their History is science as well, the science of the process approaching that something. This way and regardless of what anyone may claim, it is recognized that the object, the something, and its reflection in thought (knowledge) are associated with the fact that both belong to one and the same objective world.

In the pursuit of science there is no place for the question, whether the determinations of thought concern properties of the thing itself and its phenomena or only the way thought can express its particular nature regardless the things themselves and their essence.

The criterion of truth is something relentless for the practice of science. The assertion of ‘self-existence’ of thought - either in a parallel world or as a cause of things - which we find also in metascientific theories, draws its arguments from the fact that the exciting theoretical activity and theoretical conception usually precede proof in time. Moreover, it is strengthened by the fact that the criterion of truth (proof) always leaves many questions unanswered and raises new ones. However, if we accept the self-existence of the mind, what would be the point of the existence of this world, in order for the mind to express its essence?

This deep irrationalism in contemporary theory, which to a great extent distresses scientific thought as well, finds the “freedom” to express its “self-existence” in the field of "humanities", and first of all in the great History of Man.

The adjective “humanities” was devised to “solve” the problem of the difference between subjective knowledge and the history of Man as an object outside the mind and independent from it by abolishing the object and declaring the will as the driving force of History, and History as the "subjective narrative" of manifestations of the will of dominant subjects. As a result, it abolishes History as a science and with it the criteria posed by science. What remains are the subjective opinions ("narratives") with their own criteria each time, where the main winners are the economic and political elites in power. These are presented as driving forces (like some sort of spirit) financing the fairy tale called "narratives of applied political correctness”.

The other views, such as in History of Art (and in this with return to the subject of this presentation), the non-dominant in the official "narratives", if they have not been able to get rid of the idealistic starting point (i.e. methodological belong to the same category), end also up giving the battle outside the field of Art itself, bringing forth ideological concepts and “narratives” of competing groups, potential new elites, who declare themselves to be "avant-gardes".


The theory of Art begins its approach from products of individual activities that claim to be recognized as works of Art. However, these are linked technologically and intellectually to collective social activities referring to the relevant historical context, both on the level of technology and on the level of thought. In this way, the individual transforms into an image of the social collective as well, and is judged as such. However, by focussing only on this image, as the image of a social collective, we only perceive the passive side of the image, the side of the ‘mirror’, which is only part of the truth, but which, ultimately, does not participate at all in the characterization of the image as a work of Art.

To make my position easier to understand, let us assume that the sole cause of the production of images (diachronically up to the contemporary digital images) is the reproduction of representations of individual or social activities for the collective or individual memory. This is of course an undertaking that by its nature is impossible to be accomplished, since one would aim to cover every moment of any being indiscreetly. Except from the fact that it would be impossible to produce a monstrous in volume material, it would also be impossible to be read in its entirety, thus becoming useless for memory. Choice opposes itself in a natural way. Choice is a product of judgement, and judgement a set of criteria that constitute a system of a process that leads to generalizations defined as substantial ones: Abstraction. This system operates whenever someone deals with the chaotic images of every single moment, focussing on one or some objects proclaiming them the most important. Therefore, in any attempt to create an image, with which one wants simply to capture and communicate in instance (photo), the system of judgement (Abstraction) intervenes ‘uninvited’. This system sets the criteria and channels the randomly and unintentionally mapping or the event (moment) in order to reduce it to something comprehensive and worth to be remembered. In this way, however, this random picture becomes part of a narration that unintentionally is connected with History (e.g. archives of museums consist of photographs and other items that were not produced for this purpose, but for other needs). In exactly the same way, another system interferes “uninvited”, the system of individual aesthetic perception (taste) that ultimately, and like the system of judgement unintentionally, places the result under the judgement of Aesthetics.

In the same way, the work of Art provides together with the narrative also the search for more and more comprehensive pictures of increasingly comprehensive meanings, from where the criteria are produced and through them, regardless of intentions, the History of Aesthetics. The artist, naturally, has the intention to connect with the History of Art (Aesthetics). That what eludes him is whether the result will justify him.

This way, in the work of Art Aesthetics dominate over the representation, and the representation of the work of Art becomes the active element (side) that portends motion-change, with advancements both in technology and thought - both being the product of activated Imagination.

This particular way (of the visual arts) pushes Abstraction to another level, from where the causes of the representation still are drawn form the whole image of the World, but find the criterion of their truth in Aesthetics and its Logic.


The view of the hetero-determination of the image, which embraces all forms of religious and sociopolitical "correctness", is supplemented by the view that Art ultimately is a subjective expression of each creator, the "individual soul" as a unit, who by an inexplicable ("magic") way finds each time a certain sum of subjects responding to it - with each subject of this sum communicating with the work applying its own criteria.

Within this tangle of self-fuelled individuality, from the individual person to the sum of subjects and vice versa, it is impossible for Art History to find the way that connects Art with the natural history and the history of the universe.

What is it that could make our perception to recognize that Art is a function produced by a process that is governed by laws and regulations, upon which it forms its own and thus its criteria? Only the recognition that Art is a product resulting from the formation of the entity we call, with historical terms, Man, and - from some point on - a precondition to his evolution.

What I want to emphasize is that Aesthetics are deeply rooted in natural history, before acquiring its particular form through human history.

Aesthetics were officially recognized by Philosophy just the 18th century, because it has its origin in the - inferior to ‘pure thought’ sensory perception. In its recognition, the rapid development in science clearly played a decisive role, but this is a big issue that can not be developed here.

It will however take this opportunity to point out that the rapid development in science opened a ‘window’ to the endless treasures of nature, changing definitively the terms of social history with the industrial revolution, while, regarding our subject here, it showed all the poverty of the "wealth of the soul", to which too many still cling presenting nature as something inferior and finite.

The sensory perception is the first picture of a world that consists of the sensory impulses that reach the brain. The image is produced in the brain, which synthesizes data from all senses with the experience of the movement of the subject's body, to which it belongs.

It is known that the sensory perception is innate to living matter and constitutes one of its main characteristics. For each species, each of the senses functions in a small range of the spectrum that carries all the information about things. It is certain that each organism is potentially equipped with the possibility to come in accordance with the whole of the environment consisting of any kind of form of inorganic and organic matter, and in all ranges these forms exist and interact

But, each particular form would be impossible to exist as a form, i.e. to distract from the environment everything necessary for its existence as such, if it had to have such a big central nervous system that could respond to any kind and any form of stimuli, assess it and establish the mental image of a world containing everything, and then detect in this world the elements that would ensure its survival. Such a being would be a super-being with infinite choices and abilities, such that would not leave room for any other to exist. Ultimately, it would a being that would be one and the same with Nature as a whole, in all its forms and functional modes, i.e. it would be Nature itself. As a result it would not be able to acquire consciousness, since it would not be forced to abstract, and hence to distinguish himself from the other.3 However, through this defect of its beings, Nature is gaining the ability to approach consciousness of itself.

Based the above, we could say that each individual interactional ability of every kind and every form - with sensory perception playing the most important role - constitutes a fraction, which emanates from and refers to the supreme entity of Nature as a part of Nature.

It is crucial to recognize this, because only with this assumption can we give an explanation of how Man as a species manages to exceed the limits of the sensory perceptions, each time rising to a more extended horizon up to Aesthetic perception, that is bringing thought closer and closer to the image of the meaning of things and the world. A process through which Man acquires consciousness of the World, and Nature of itself.

Yet there is a large group of scientists, even today, accusing the senses of being incomplete.

Aesthetic perception is a feat achieved only by Man, and as a result and as a cause marked Mans historical course to contemporary culture.

However, this feat was not at all an easy thing to do. To accomplish it, Man needed about two million years.

With the work of Art, Aesthetics acquire a material body, and though this Aesthetics become an image-object for sensory perception, perpetuating the process from the sensory to Aesthetics and back, thus laying the foundations, on which sciences were built.


The huge variety (I don’t think we will never know where it stops) of forms and ways in which the living material perceives information and understands its specific environment, from where it will meet its vital needs and desires, can generally be reduced to functional modes being part of electromagnetic and chemical processes.

The stimuli Man (as a species) perceives are restricted by the creation of his sensory organs, which operate in a certain range of frequencies and chemical abilities.

The anatomy of the species encouraged the persistent tendency of Man to use objects that magnify his natural abilities.

The development of this tendency quickly became particularly favourable, once the habit of using helpful objects developed into processing those objects into tools.

Slowly and painfully (it took about two million years) Man accomplished to set the fundaments to his humanization. During this time, physical conditions and natural selection among the variants of the species played their part, in order to make our species to base its existence on the tool, which is the basic condition of its humanization.

With the evolution of the tool, Man broadened the horizon of his possibilities, interests and needs.

The positive results of the use of the tool, i.e. the criterion of its truth, gradually gave the tool the dominant role, not only in the field of production and its growth, but also in the forms of social organization. The fields, where tools are used are constantly increasing and with them the specialized requirements concerning the quality of materials, processing methods and the variety of shapes.

A tool, e.g. for hunting, is no longer just a stone with some general properties in terms of shape and weight. It becomes the obsidian stone, that which Man seeked for in distant places and processes with specific modes into multiple shapes for different purposes.

Step by step, Man learns to see the objects that surround him through the ‘spectacles’ of the tool and his social organization. An inaccessible moving volume as the mammoth becomes accessible through the ‘spectacles’ of the tool.

The tightening of the organisation of the collective effort of the community to achieve major objectives enforces complex planning before implementation, creates division of labour, as well as the special tools needed. The utilization of experience in these planning takes the form of necessary-essential manoeuvres and a special way of dealing with his desires.

The planning before the action is certainly not something that concerns humans only.

The memory of the experience and its use in one way or another, to one degree or another, is so important, that no species of living matter could exist without it.

But Man makes a difference with the tool. The form and shape of the tool is in itself memory and plan for future action. It is the material body, which carries the processed memory of previous actions and the design of future actions. It is a form of material memory and intentions that records collective knowledge and transmits it.


The animal, from which also Man emerged, synthesizes the data of the sensory perception and combines it with the physical properties and functions of its species, and from this, the mental image of a world outside the subject is produced, in a first stage. In a second stage however (almost simultaneously) the first image fills with the characteristics of the desires of its species.

Although at the level of the stimuli the World is the same for each species, at the level of sensory perception it depends on the specifics of the sensory organs of the species, and for the production of the mental image, the particular desires of the species interfere in an even more restrictive way.

The ability of forming the stimuli into a mental image in the mind of the subject, showing a World outside of the subject, is a natural ability that produces meaning for each species, with the main meaning being that it is part of the World, so that it seeks satisfaction of its desires through it.

Based on this ability, natural for all species, the ability of synthesis is where Man can build and cultivate what he smugly considers an ability belonging only to Man and that he names Imagination.

I would like to dwell on this for a moment.

The objects that surround us interact, as we have said, in the whole range of frequencies etc., in which Nature interacts with itself, in general.

We, like any other species, ‘align’ ourselves to a small area of this range in order to perceive the image of our environment and exist within it. This limitation (different for each species), as we said, has a vital function in order for the individual to survive in the whole of Nature.

At the same time, it is a natural, unconscious process of Abstraction, a way i.e. to reduce the multi-manifoldness to specificity, a process that also leaves open the reverse route.

The frequencies, on which the sensory organs of humans specialize, do not remain completely unaffected by the influence of other frequencies. A good observer can detect indirect evidence of their presence. This was and remains one of the reasons for the development of the tools: Man invents them to detect these fields of evidence.

I insisted on the above to emphasize that what we call Abstraction is a process in Nature, which also determines how the human mind works and is described by Logic.

The mental image, formed under the pressure of impulses from the sensory organs, this Abstraction, as an immaterial image is the negative of the positive, the material object.

The image as a form of reflection (interaction) is a property of Nature, where the two poles (positive - negative) coincide as objective. I.e. they establish an objective moment of the movement of matter, which we also perceive as time. However, the picture is not identical with the thing, but bears its identity, if the thing is the cause of its existence.

The work of Art is an objective moment in the movement of Aesthetics, because the positive, the material body, becomes a representation of the Abstraction, the negative. And in this way, the aesthetic Abstraction acquires in its content the elements it did not have before, the elements of the material and how to handle it (the historical dimension). These elements push the Abstraction into a new perceptual environment. That is, with the work of Art the Abstraction loses the ‘privilege’ of immaterial generality and becomes part of the sensory perception. This way, Abstraction is called upon to operate within the sensory perception as a reference, as a constant value (that what respective to works of Art is called "values" of colour and others), which gives meaning and acquires meaning a new environment.


Let us now focus now on the vision of Man, for the sake of brevity and because it coincides with the concept of image, which leads us to the visual arts that are our subject here.

The basic operating mechanism of the eye consists of the lens in the anterior segment of the eyeball, and the retina, as a dome, with the optic nerves that connect it to the brain, at the backside of the eyeball.

The light focuses on the retina, creating there, as we all know, a “picture” that is inverted. The photoreceptors covering the retina convert the stimuli into electrochemical impulses, which flow through the optic nerve to a region of the brain that functions as a centre of processing and synthesis. As a result the brain sees a picture of a three dimensional environment outside of the eye, instead o a two-dimensional curved image produced by the physiology of the eye as some kind of reversed photograph.

The way the nervous system and the sensory organs of a Man develops from the embryonic period until some time in early childhood shows that between the operation of the sensory organs and the point where the brain accomplishes to produce the image lies some time, time full of experience, during which the synthesis of the sensory stimuli and the body movement is achieved, producing meaning.

The image of a three dimensional World outside the eye is the product of the natural capacity of the central nerve system to synthesize the stimuli of all senses and the perception of the body movement into a meaningful Whole. Without this ability the sense would have no raison d'être.

It is here where we find the starting point of the function of the mind (human or animal), which is to synthesize heterogeneous stimuli from different sensory organs with the perception of the subject's body into an image of the world as a Whole. This natural function, as already mentioned, we call imagination, and this is the fundament of human imagination.

After the first moment of the formation of the mental image desires intervene and shape the direction of the senses, causing the image to be set up and held in memory, not to be the one of the first moment, but the one formed under the guidance of desires. At this point another fundamental element involved in Imagination appears: memory.

From the formation of an image, that synthesizes and selects as important the elements of desires, to the evolution of an image that synthesized and selects as important the elements that make up the cause and the deeper truth of the universal image of the World (return to the first moment), stretches the History of Man.

Between the two extremes there is of course a long period of mixing (and struggle) between the two directions. 4 Or else: we proceed from the “World for me” of childhood to the "World for itself”, where we have to understand our role in it.

The proper understanding of the reverse “image” focused on the retina happens in the brain, as demonstrated by a known experiment, 5 and not through the standard physiology of the system of vision. In my opinion, for the brain there is no inverted image that has to be restored. There are stimuli that the brain forms into an image. With the restoration of the correctness, the image in quotes become an image without quote, because in itself it already constitutes meaning. One should probably put it this way: the formation of an image is due to the perception of meaning.

The formation of an image, that synthesizes the perception of the surrounding world of three dimensions out of the eye, also includes the subject of the eye. In this phase (moment), the subject has not yet emerged as something different from the Whole of the World’s image. In this moment, the subject is dominated by the Whole, coincides with it and expresses it as the first moment of the live perception, which is the sense of what we mentioned above. Although this moment carries the sperm of the difference, of the subject as a pole participating in the reflection of the Whole, it still is only a reflection of the Whole in itself.

From this aspect, this picture is the most important there is in the perception of meaning. It constitutes the fundament, on which perception bases the meaning of the objectivity’s image, before proceeding to the special determinations (analysis) that follow.

This moment, the first moment of live perception, keeps appearing in our daily lives, each time before our perception is dominated by our desires. It is a moment of recognizing the objectivity of the World, through which we will seek the means to satisfy our needs and desires, and therefore constitutes the physical condition in our perceptual process.

Although this moment (the first moment) is inevitably the precondition for everything that follows, in the animal life it holds little and is forgotten under the pressure of desires, which direct the formation of the mental image of perception.

This trend, i.e. to capture and remember images where priority is given to the satisfaction of desires, is the basis for the practice of deception, very common in the animal kingdom, as well as, and especially, in our society. Product of this trend is also the paranoia cultivated in human society to believe that it is Man who creates his images. And even more extreme, that each individual produces its own "personal truth".

I mentioned above the role of imagination in the formation of the image. In the image of the first moment of live perception, this image is still (for minimum of time) ‘guileless’, without desires, and hence full of all the elements that reality provides through the senses. Despite the restriction of the senses according to the species (mentioned above), the result still is a chaotic one. Needs and desires of the species immediately intervenes and ‘redirect’ the perception making the first evaluations of the chaotic image of live perception.

The ‘path’ of evaluations the human species makes with the ‘binoculars’ of the tool lasts, with many setbacks and interruptions, about two million years. During this period, Man also develops the curiosity to explore the World beyond the one of his desires.

The tool made the time, which it took for the role of humans in their environment to evolve, run at a pace that is unparalleled in biological developments. Yet, about 100,000 years ago a further jump in acceleration rates occurred, which hereinafter evolve exponentially.

The finds from about that time show very sophisticated tools for many different operations. This marks the establishment of numerous cooperating communities that base their existence exclusively on the tool, with its production holding a distinct position in the division of labour, thus determining these communities historically.

The ability to give desires the shape of the tool slowly develops a perceptiveness that uses the shape of the tool as their form (i.e. of the desires). Through the shape of the tool thought becomes familiar (and this is most important point) with more general concepts such as symmetry, rhythm, division, proportion, harmony, and above all learns to correlate similarities, differences and relationships.

The thought being quipped with meanings that have the shape and properties of the shape of the tool can now gradually realize recurrent relations (stable values) that take the form of stable meanings, also discovering meanings in areas beyond those covered by desires.

Simultaneously, the ‘language’ of the shape also becomes the shape of the structure of language, that no longer plays a significant role only in communication amongst humans, but, above all, a huge role in understanding the structure of thought, making it able to detect and give meaning to the wider surrounding in the same time that it detects and gives meaning to itself.

The step form the evolution of the shape and form of the tool to the shape and form of the representation of meaning seems obvious. However, when it happens, it is a historical leap, because it constitutes the definitive passage of thought to the level of combining Abstractions, which take the form of a higher, coherent Abstraction in the material representation of the Aesthetic image in the work of Art. And through the work of Art Man, together with thinking about the World, is thinking about his thought as well. The representation of the work of Art is by its nature representation of both the World and thought.

Through his long experience in the perception of the world through the tool, Man gradually discovers the importance of the “guileless look” for his knowledge, and returns to it with the intention to depict it as such. As truth itself.

The main means used by Man diachronically to maintain the ‘guileless look’ in the representation of the image of the live perception are Art and scientific research.

To the extent that he succeeds, he also discovers a kind of pleasure that we call aesthetic pleasure. Aesthetic pleasure is produced by the fact that the mind recognizes in the work of Art representation of itself (the mind).

These are my to my mind the roots of visual arts, through which visual arts are incorporated into the process of knowledge and rendered a natural and historical precondition for the emergence of modern civilization.

Many admit that Art is connected with knowledge, in general, and science, in particular cases, but do not bother to explain how and why. Usually they present this relationship as a sudden deviation created by random intersections (relations) of two parallel lives, or that this relationship refers to a special “kind” of Art among various other “kinds” (religious, political etc. Art mentioned in the beginning).

With this standpoint however, biased by the "political correctness" of each period, for the group of "theoreticians" who cultivate it "History of Art" is merely a concession to convention, and the only value of it to them, the “gain”, lies not in Art but in their academic position.

From the same perspective, they also formulate their respective criteria.


I am sure that created more questions than I might have answered.

At least let us keep that what I claim is that Theory and History of Art are sciences precisely because they have a distinct object, independent from any opinions, and not “narratives of applied political correctness".

1 Within this Abstraction, ‘Art in general’, the person acquires the will and the identity of the artist, and Abstraction its form and its content. The boring cliché that "the artist is in a constant dialogue with the work" wants to conceal exactly the fact that what eventually is imposed on the individual creation are the criteria of Abstraction, i.e. "Art in general", and that -in turn- Abstraction must find its content and material body in the specific work of Art.

2 It is well known that palaeontologists insist desperately, at any cost and with baseless assumptions, to establish a connection between the earliest representations and some unknown mysteries of some unknown religious beliefs.

3 This also is the point, where the concept of God and his will is crushed.

4 A recent example: In an austere tone a reporter asks the scientist, he is interviewing, about Cern and the ' God particle': "What will it serve for, in order for us to spend so many billion Euro in such a time of great economic crisis?” The 'unfortunate' scientist feels pushed in an apologetic position under the pressure of the opinion "science is for Man", and not "science for its own sake”. A pseudo-question, a variation of "Art for its own sake” or “Art for Man".

5 In the 1890s, the psychologist George Stratton did an experiment on himself. He made special binoculars inverting the image and sending it to the retina in an upright configuration.

His brain restored its confusion caused by seeing things upside down and started seeing things normally again after a period of five days. When he stopped wearing binoculars, his brain was again confused, but again corrected the image.














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