What Will Art Do for Us?


Those who read Marcel Proust's book Les plaisirs et les Jours (Pleasures and Days), published in 1896, will remember. Proust uses the following sentence in his book: '' Just like nature, the mind has its sights.He says, "This sentence is too simple but effective to make a radical change in our lives. It is a journey about getting to know a person, watching him or even looking at the traces he left. If it is a journey, the relation of landscape is important, what is the view of that person?

The element that will shape the landscapes and make them delicious is undoubtedly our intellectual background. Art at the top of human activity; emotions are the keys that open the door of pleasure, in our lives as the most competent expression. All artistic activities are the product of a genius. So it is surprising and fascinating. Another secret that this spell provides to us is the concept of catharsis. Pure art beyond our will, catharsis'It is a step towards; expressing oneself in a refined language that is free of mental schemas. For this reason, art reproduces the original not as itself, but as it appears to the senses, as glorious, sublime earthly. This is the precious part of the pleasure that art gives, that it does not attempt to embody the objective realities of things, but merely seeks to embody their sensuous appearances.

In the same way, Ingram Bywater, who interprets "Politics", the work of Aristotle, with reference to it, interprets catharsis in the field of art as follows: In Greek physiology and pathology, catharsis is physical cleansing or discharge; the removal, by art or natural effort, of something that could cause discomfort or harm if allowed to remain. The catharsis of the soul, which Aristotle refers to in "Politics", is a similar process regarding certain emotions. According to the theory of bodily secretions, this emotional state is similar to the defective secretions found in the body and must be eliminated from the system by an appropriate catharsis. The cathartic effect of art or Aristotle's concept of tragedy can be interpreted as follows: Pity and fear, emotions inherent in human nature, and often these elements can reach alarming levels. Such as love pains, traumatic memories, loss... Tragic arousal is necessary for people who experience these feelings to this extent, but at the same time it is beneficial for everyone, it acts as a medicine in alleviating the feelings accumulated in the soul and creates the situation we call catharsis. This relaxation process continues, accompanied by a harmless pleasure.

We have to choose our own methods of purification, call it catharsis or landscapes. When these feelings are used in small doses, they take on a therapeutic task, their spirit upsets us, shakes us and then cleanses us.

We may be unfamiliar with the name Samuel Henry Butcher, but he is an important name who used the pathological theory of catharsis. He argued that the function of art provides purification and distinctive aesthetic satisfaction. According to Butcher, as a result of the affect experienced with the encounter with the work of art, he says that the vulgar forms of old emotions are replaced by emotions that have transformed into a much higher and refined form.

It is impossible not to look at Greek ethics and aesthetics when it comes to pleasures and catharsis. Sculpture is the pinnacle of Greek art. Sculpture is the superior and characteristic expression of Greek art, and we can liken our own method of sensory development to sculpture, and we can take this as a basis and complete our process of carving and completion with the principles of artistic measure, harmony and order.

Why is the relationship between art and human pleasures important, because aesthetic theorists agree on the pleasure received in the presence of pleasant works of art. In this regard, David Hume makes a comprehensive analysis of the display of art and emotions through tragedy. Hume argues that the viewer feels pleasure in the face of the work of art to the extent that he is shaken and sad, and the more he is shaken, the greater the pleasure he gets. We can describe it this way, as works of art fulfill some imaginary wishes for humanity, it is a pleasure to experience these works of art.

For Aristotle, art is the representation or mimesis of a certain action in order to illuminate its universal character. Pleasure is the supreme aim of art and this pleasure is related to the pleasure of learning as defined in "Poetics". According to Aristotle, who positions reality in the social world with a modernist understanding, art should give the "truth", not just the "good". In this context, I wanted to share my own catharsis landscapes that came to my mind first.

Nicolas Poussin The Rape of the Sabine Women 1637 -1638

Violence and Catharsis

When we look at the painting "Women of Sabine", painted with the interpretation of Poussin, we see the magnificent effect of violence, struggle and pain. From the famous battle scene depicting the forced removal of Sabine women by Roman soldiers, the dynamic image of violence and chaos is passed on to the audience. Although Poussin's work is worthy of aesthetic praise, it is considered ethically flawed in the sense that it aims to provoke an objectionable response to rape. This situation leads the viewer to a dead end: How should an aesthetically valuable but ethically problematic work be evaluated? Again, Aristotle can be used to show that the ethical defect of a work will hinder its aesthetic value. As mentioned before, Aristotle stated in his "Poetics" that the tragic work is to evoke feelings of pity and fear towards the hero in the audience and that the main purpose of these emotions is to convey the catharsis.

Paganini Dream

A similar and more intense sensory situation applies in the field of music. Among the classical musicians, Niccolo Paganini is one of the composers who best experienced the feelings of pleasure and purification. Paganini was undoubtedly a great composer, but what made him so talented in the violin were it not for his flaws. According to Philiph Sandblom, author of Creativity and Disease, Paganini's solo violin whims worked exceptionally well for oversized hands, but not in other people's hands. The reason for this was Paganini's Ehlers-Donlas Syndrome and Marfan Syndrome, which is a rare disease of flexible joint structure such as long hands and fingers with normal sizes. If he had been able to catch up with Aristotle to listen to the 24th Caprise, accompanied by the legendary Stradivarius violins, he would have seen once again how right he was about the catharsis.

We have every right to regret that we missed out on 1828 years of Paganini drunkenness in Vienna in 10. The legendary virtuoso who made Schubert, who was watching his concerts cry and who spent the last days of his life, say, "It's like I listened to an angel's song," became one of the best achievers in expressing human emotions with the sound of a violin.

Nicola Paganini Illustration

Puccini and Madame Butterfly

Madame Butterfly met the audience with Giacomo Puccini's three-act opera, which premiered at La Scala in 1904. The work is a love story lived through the roles of men and women belonging to eastern and western cultures. Puccini's Madame Butterfly, which I especially refrain from giving details for those who have not watched it, is one of the most beautiful works where you can experience the concept of catharsis. The feelings of pain and fear, which are the spiritual consequences of catharsis, are the main part of this work. One of the conditions for feeling pity is to believe that the hero in the work is virtuous. While watching the tragic story in the work, the audience embarks on an ethical inner journey, putting himself in the hero's place and then; We stop our own passions for a while, saying that I am not the only one who has experienced the disaster in the tragic story. While we are now Madam Butterfly and feel sorry for her, we have optimistic thoughts about our own situation.  

The concept of catharsis is one of the concepts that has preserved its meaning from Greek philosophy until today. In Plato, it was seen as a condition of art, and therefore creation, in Aristotle, while it was used as an informational method to reach the knowledge of ideas.

We have reached the point where we understand why art is important. Art is an imitation of reaching the better than the average person. Purification with art is thinking about what is necessary and creating value again. A person who can emotionally identify with any branch of art also re-evaluates his personality by reckoning with himself. Each time, with each new work, we make a contribution to the construction of the new personality. It is also an action that must be carried out long and consciously.

This miraculous aspect of art gives an idea about the universal through the singular work. By providing information about the essence of the world and the depth of emotions, it enables us to comprehend the world. As Picasso said, let's clean ourselves from the dust of daily life with art.


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