Expanding Friedrich Nietzsche’s Theory of Art.
The philosopher Nietzsche said: art occurs as a synthesis of the Dionysian and the Apollonian elements The Dionysian aspects are beat and rhythm and the Apollonian aspects are melody and harmony.
This article seeks to explicate how Nietzsche’s theory of art works in art, literature, painting, and music.
In music, the Apollonian elements are melody and harmony and the Dionysian elements are rhythm and beat. Music the highest form of art synthesises the Dionysian and the Apollonian elements. Music is the art of the soul. Music renders passion to the ears. In classical music, the Apollonian elements are more marked. In rock music and blues, it is the convergence of the Dionysian elements. In rap music also the Dionysian elements merge.
Now let’s examine how Nietzsche’s theory of art works in literature.
What is Literature?
Literature is the music of words. How does this music occur? What are the Dionysian things present in Literature? The Dionysian elements are the ego and the body of the writer and it is from which the Dionysian elements emerge. The Apollonian elements are the structure, form, and texture of the work. The form, texture, and structure of the work become the melody. Now let’s look at various stages, or various periods of work through which literature has passed. The first is classicism. Classicism is a work of art that is mimetic in nature. Art in classicism is the resemblance of nature. Now let’s look at the romantic period of literature. Art in the romantic period is marked by spontaneous feeling and heightened emotion. Romantic art is an allegory of an existing fable. Now let’s look at the surrealist period of literature. Surrealist literature focuses on the subconscious and the inner workings of the mind. Now let’s look at postmodern literature. Post-modern literature is characterised by allusion, reflexivity, theorising, and also by an unreliable narrator. The Dionysian elements of literature are the form, body, and ego of the writer and the Apollonian elements are the rhythmic outplay of form, texture, and content.
Now let’s examine how Nietzsche’s theory of art works in painting. The Dionysian elements of art are the consciousness of the artist and also the palette and the brush. The Dionysian elements are the product of a finished work of art. Art has gone through various periods and they are classicism, romanticism, expressionism, impressionism, surrealism, cubism, and pop art. Art during the classical period showed the out-coming of mimesis. Art was a resemblance of nature. Art during the romantic period was marked by the passion of overflowing feeling. Art during the expressionistic phase was characterised by expression of feelings like Munch’s scream. Surrealism in art sought to uncover the forces working in dreams and reality. Dali’s persistence of memory is a unique representation of surrealist art. The Cubism of Picasso was the positioning of art objects in abstract dimensional patterns. Pop art brought about the depictions of natural objects and disarmed them into cultural and aesthetic concoctions.
To conclude I would like to say that Nietzsche’s theory of art is the merger of the Dionysian and the Apollonian. The Dionysian elements are rhythm and beat and the Apollonian elements are melody and harmony.
Source by Bose Anand