Arts - Each Pursues The Same Object
( Originally Published Late 1800's )
The connection which exists between the different branches of the arts, is further seen in the one common object which they all alike aim at or pursue.
The object of each art is to excite in the mind certain ideas and emotions, and through these to represent certain subjects and transactions, and nature generally ; and by the whole to refine and ennoble the mind so affected. This is the end of all the arts alike; and although some attain it in a manner more striking, others in a more comprehensive mode, yet all equally make this their aim. In its infancy the struggles of art are directed to the attainment of this object, although it is only in the power and vigour of maturity that it is fully and effectually accomplished.
In each pursuit the end in view which is sought to be attained by it forms a kind of magnetic attraction, towards which it invariably and firmly points. And all pursuits which uniformly point in any one particular direction acquire a centre of union, and are thus drawn together by the same impulse. Indeed, in many pursuits, not only artistical but of various kinds, the object at which they aim is that which forms in reality the essential principle in their constitution. A point of co-incidence, so important as regards all the arts, must therefore necessarily create a no less important and essential bond of union.
Not only, indeed, do each of the arts pursue the same object, but, what is most important to bear in mind, and evinces still more strongly their connection, they alone effect it, and by no other pursuits of any other kind besides these can it be attained.
As already stated, the arts severally represent or typify not the whole of nature, but each art one or more phases or characteristics only, and which it is the object of such art to describe. Thus painting represents the colour and form, sculpture the form only, and music the sound of nature gene-rally; while poetry and eloquence aim at an ideal representation of form and colour as well as sound. Architecture represents certain forms or elevations. Acting, the motion and animation of nature. Costume, certain forms and colours ; while gardening represents landscape nature.
There is also a further point of union which each of the arts possesses in common, whether we consider it as a part of the object which they all alike have in view, or as a part of the operation by which they attain that particular object; and that is the manner in which they all affect or excite the mind. This is done in two ways :—I. As regards the immediate effect which such works of art produce being the excitement of a feeling of pleasure, whether allied to acute and vivid delight, or to certain deeper sensations which result in an intense emotion of gratification. 2. As regards the ennobling and refining effect which such works of art produce upon the mind. The first of these results is sudden and transient. The other is gradual and permanent.
The ultimate object of all the arts is to excite pleasure or gratification ; yet this is of many different kinds, and may be produced by several different means. It is pleasure alike, although of different feelings and senses, and refinement alike, although in different modes, which is the object that each art pursues. And it is nature alike, although different parts of nature, that each art aims to represent.