The Artist and the Observer.A romantic artist shares the reward of his own mental state, revealing his deepest images of our stature and our environment. What he has chosen to present in colors, in landscape, in words, in musical harmony or in form is what he has trained his senses to focus on—what he finds most significant. To the extent that an artist is rational, his work will reflect living values. His choice of subjects is guided by his acceptance of existential reality. His style will reflect his own cognitive power; his skill reveals the effort and devotion he brings to his values. The highest art properly integrates subject matter, technical skill and meaning, idealizing the useof Man’s perceptual and cognitive tools in the work’s every detail. As an artist and a man, he has the capacity to generate, to create new depth and new ways of positively affecting the senses and of impacting the intellectual and emotional pool of his audience. At its best, romantic art helps Man to recognize what matters most, leading him to find deeper meaning in the range of his vision. By integrating the most prized attributes of a work’s subject, the artist displays the order, structure and meaning behind moral awareness. The deepest and most moving pieces require the most pleasant concentration to enjoy, and it is proper that they be the most gratifying. Art is the most potent medium for exposing the essence of an artist’s character, as well as that of the observer.
A man’s sense of life determines his response to art—his view of himself in relation to what he accepts as possible to Man. All human beings take romanticism seriously. Their reaction to it, positive, negative or neutral, simply reveals the consonance or contrast of their accepted premises. From a consonant standpoint, listening to a symphony he might think, “This is how happiness or sadness (some particular emotion or cognitive action) feels to me.” Observing a sculpture, he might think, “This is my image of what a man should be and can be.” Watching a romantic movie he might think “This is how I want to feel about someone, and how I want them to feel about me.” Reading literature he might think, “This describes me,” or, “This represents my views.” When art is disconnected from the real world or our current possibilities, he might respond with, “If I had superhuman traits, this is how I would use them,” or, “If such a diabolical evil existed, this is how valiant men would fight it.” In acceptance, his ultimate response is, “This is a reflection of life as I see it. In worship of life, this expresses my tribute.”
Imagine observing the milky smoothness of a shapely woman’s statue, then to feel the startling contrast of touch to discover it’s marble. Imagine the tautness in the statue of a Herculean figure and itstexture, which comes as no surprise. The highest art always projects the strongest man, the most stunning independence, the most beautiful physical form and poise, the purest confidence, and the most concentrated purpose—attributes that serve the challenge of life, which we admire and wish to acquire. The next time you walk through a gallery, by holding the moral standards of life and comprehension as your frame of reference, the art—good or bad—will make much more sense. Devoted to human life, I care for only one style, which is the subject of this chapter. The Self-made pattern of cognition isthe means to create romantic art, as well as the means to achieve its projections in real life.