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Ugliness In Art

( Originally Published Early 1900's )



Nor need it be supposed that what has been said endorses the mistaken view that any subject which is "natural" is legitimate for artistic treatment. The truth seems to be that ugliness, simply because it is repulsive, is not legitimate in art except so far as, by way of contrast, as in the case of shadows which throw that which they surround into brighter relief, the ugliness enhances the beauty to which it is kept in manifest subordination. What the particular phases of this beauty shall be must be determined, of course, by the taste of the artist. But their effectiveness will depend upon his powers of observation and his study of the analogies of nature. Beauty is never so attractive as when it appears in the dignity attaching to the creative proportions there; truth is never so operative as when it manifests the sanction of the laws of the Creator that are there embodied.-The Representative Significance of Form, XII.

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