In chapter 1 Prefatory Remarks, Hegel’s aesthetic investigation is restricted to the fine art philosophy. In chapter 2 Limitation and Defense of Aesthetics, aesthetic investigation of Hegel excludes beauty of the nature. The beauty of art has more value as compared to beauty of the nature. In chapter 3 Refutation of Objections, Hegel talks about two main objections to art treated in scientific way. The first objection is that fine art does not deserve scientific treatment and the other is worthiness of the art. Hegel aims to analyze free art but not the ancillary art. He says free art is what that pursues its own end .
On one hand, consideration of Hegel about aesthetic follows on the specificity of fine art derived from its sensuousness and the way it represents the spiritual in the sensuous. On the other hand, Hegel is of the view that fine art can never be reduced to the sensuous work. Therefore, on one hand the study of fine art is the study of only sensuous embodiment and on other hand it is just the philosophic study of spirit.
Hagel’s unique position regarding aesthetic shows his resistance against the notion to study art based on how it is presented to the direct sensuous intuition. In this regard, he focused on studying art that should be completely anti-aesthetic. This is accomplished by making intuition non-sensuous and spiritual at the same time. Hegel says that like all other things in the world, art is demonstrating its actuality through its manifestation and ability to be intuited. Art is in fact the area where manifestation is taught rightly and where the intuition and manifestation both are shown explicitly spiritual and sensuous.
The idea of beauty seizes hold of itself as infinite spirit and discovers itself as no longer realized completely in any of the forms of external world. It identifies its true unity as spirit, only in the internal world of its consciousness. The idea of beauty breaks up this unity that is the basis of Classical Art. In general, spirit and artistic beauty is higher than beauty of nature. The natural beauty seems to be only the reflection of the beauty belonging to spirit as incomplete or imperfect mode of beauty. Besides this, limitation to fine art occurs naturally. However, a lot has been said about natural beauty but it has not yet succeeded to enter someone’s mind to concentrate on beauty of nature and make a science, which is the systematic exposition of all these beauties.
As summary of foregoing, the beauty of art is born of the spirit and higher the spirit stand above nature, the higher will be the beauty of art standing above that of nature. Classic art finds the idea of beauty in representation of spiritual individuality whereas romantic art surpass it in its absolute or infinite spirituality that arises above the visible world.
Hegel acknowledges the objection that fine art does not deserve the scientific treatment. According to him, art may be concerned with philosophical reflection but it is not a strictly scientific treatment. All arts do not fit the criticism that it’s an indulgence and mere play. Art is something that presents feeling, imagination, and intuition. It follows no rules and imagination goes beyond forms of nature. Science prohibits the whims of imagination and therefore, it has the ability to destroy any art.
Maker, William. Hegel and Aesthetics. New York: SUNY Press, 2000.