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Outside of "Romantic Realism"

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Cato
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I am an objectivist in every sense but in my unwillingness to capitalize that first letter, but I wanted to ask anyone who sees himself as a fully committed Objectivist about the system's aesthetics. I understand that Rand favored art she called "romantic realist" and that much great creative art falls within such a category. However, I would be concerned if the orthdox Objectivist stance is that there can be no aesthetic beauty independent of philosophical rigor and outside of certain prescribed stylings. For example, I find the Creation of Adam in the Sistine Chapel startlingly beautiful, though I would not call it "realistic" or even Romantically correspondent to legitimate virtues. Hell, I even think some of Pollack's work is cool. Would an Objectivist society define certain artefacts of aesthetic productivity "non-art" because of a failure to coincide with Romantic Realist notions of beauty? Because that sounds strikingly like "degenerate art" under a system against which Objectivism unequivocally stands.

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Rand's aesthetic views ultimately find their source in Aristotle's Poetics, which is the origin of art as representation (or imitation, as Aristotle calls it). There's nothing wrong with liking Michelangelo's Sistine Chapel; personally, it's one of my favorites, although I prefer his statue of David. Pollack's work, on the other hand, is not art, if we are to define art as representative. Art as form, which is ultimately the source of Pollack's art, finds its philosophical roots in Kant's writings on aesthetics. When analyzing art, one should never get caught up too much in labels, i.e. "realist" or "romantic" or "Marxist", etc. After reading the Poetics, I recommend reading Rand's Romantic Manifesto for further information.

Edited by adrock3215
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However, I would be concerned if the orthdox Objectivist stance is that there can be no aesthetic beauty independent of philosophical rigor and outside of certain prescribed stylings.

Definitely not. You might want to listen to Leonard Peikoff's lecture on "The Survival Value of Great (Though Philosophically False) Art".

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