Reference Entry

Croce, Benedetto

Colin Lyas

in Oxford Art Online

ISBN: 9780195139778
Published online January 2003 | e-ISBN: 9781884446054 | DOI: https://dx.doi.org/10.1093/gao/9781884446054.article.T020344
Croce, Benedetto

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  • Aesthetics and Philosophy of Art
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(b Pescasséroli, Abruzzi, Feb 25, 1866; d Naples, Nov 20, 1952).

Italian historian, critic, philosopher and statesman. He began his intellectual career as a historian, and his concern for whether history is an art or a science led him to inquire into the nature of art and to produce, in 1902, his first major work in aesthetics, Estetica come scienza dell’espressione e linguistica generale. Here he distinguished between the ‘intuitive’ knowledge of things in their concrete particularity and the ‘logical’ knowledge of general concepts. Croce proposed that human beings passively receive bombardments of sensory stimuli and, using the faculty of intuition, produce from them objects he called ‘intuitions’ or ‘representations’, which give a particular form to otherwise unintelligible stimuli. A painter, using this faculty of intuition or representation, gives the otherwise inchoate welter of stimuli produced by, for example, a moonlit countryside, the particular form of a painting, which is an intuition or representation of that countryside. Intuiting the scene involves giving articulate expression to the otherwise incoherent mass of stimuli received on such occasions, and so intuition and expression are identical. All uses of language to express thoughts and feelings, as well as the visual arts or music, are acts of intuition, which master the flood of sensations to which we are continually subjected....

Reference Entry.  850 words. 

Subjects: Aesthetics and Philosophy of Art ; History of Art ; 19th-Century Art ; 20th-Century Art

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