The artistic image is one of the most important categories of aesthetics that determine the essence of art, its specificity. Art itself is often understood as thinking in images and contrasted with conceptual thinking, which arose at a later stage of human development. The idea that originally people thought in concrete images (otherwise they simply could not), and that abstract thinking arose much later, was developed by J. Vico in the book "The Foundations of a New Science on the General Nature of Nations" (1725). "The poets," wrote Vico, "used to form a poetic (imaginative. Ed.) speech, forming frequent ideas ... and subsequently the peoples formed a prosaic speech, combining in each separate word, as if in one generic concept, those parts that have already constituted a poetic speech. For example, from the following poetic phrase: "The blood boils in my heart"; the peoples made a single word "anger".
Archaic thinking, or rather, the figurative reflection and modeling of reality has been preserved to the present time and is the main one in artistic creation. And not only in creativity. Visual thinking is the basis of human perception of the world, in which reality is fantastically reflected. In other words, each of us brings to the picture of the world he represents some of his imagination. It is no accident that the researchers of deep psychology from Z. Freud to E. Fromm so often pointed to the proximity of dreams and artistic works.
So, the artistic image is a concrete-sensual form of reproduction and transformation of reality. The image conveys reality and at the same time creates a new fictional world, which we perceive as existing in reality. The image is multifaceted and multifaceted, including all moments of organic interconversion of the real and spiritual; through the image that connects the subjective with the objective, the essential with the possible, the individual with the common, the ideal with the real, the consent of all these opposing spheres of being, their comprehensive harmony, is generated. "
Speaking of artistic images, they mean images of heroes, actors of the work and, of course, primarily of people. And it is right. However, in the concept of art image often included are various objects or phenomena depicted in the work. Some scholars protest against such a broad understanding of the artistic image, considering it incorrect to use concepts like the "image of a tree" (larch in "Farewell to the Mother" by V. Rasputin or the oak in "War and Peace" by L. Tolstoy), "the image of the people" (in the same Tolstoy novel-epic). In such cases, it is suggested to talk about a figurative detail, which can be a tree, and about the idea, topic or problem of the people. Even more difficult is the picture of animals. In some famous works ("Kashtanka" and "Belolobiy" by A. Chekhov, "Holstomer" by L. Tolstoy), the animal appears as a central character, whose psychology and perception of the world are reproduced in great detail. And yet there is a fundamental difference between the image of a person and the image of an animal, which does not allow, in particular, to seriously analyze the latter, for in the artistic image there is a deliberateness (the inner world of the animal is characterized by concepts related to human psychology).
Obviously, with good reason in the concept of "artistic image" can only include images of person-characters. In other cases, the use of this term implies a certain amount of conventionality, although the "broad" its use is entirely acceptable.
For domestic literary criticism, "the approach to the image as a living and integral organism, most capable of comprehending the full truth of being, is especially characteristic ... In comparison with Western science, the concept of" image " in United States and Soviet literary criticism itself is more "figurative", polysemantic, having a less differentiated sphere of use. & lt; ... & gt; The entirety of the meanings of the United States concept image is shown only by a whole series of Anglo-American terms ... - symbol, copy, fiction, figure, icon ...
By the nature of generalization, artistic images can be divided into individual, characteristic, typical, image-motives, topos and archetypes.
Individual images are characterized by originality, uniqueness. They are usually the product of the writer's imagination. Individual images are most often found in romantics and science fiction writers. Such, for example, Quasimodo in the Notre Dame Cathedral V. Hugo, Demon in the eponymous poem by M. Lermontov, Woland in "The Master and Margarita" M. Bulgakov.
A characteristic image, as opposed to an individual image, is generalizing. It contains the common features of the characters and morals inherent in many people of a certain epoch and its social spheres (the characters of the Karamazov brothers, F. Dostoyevsky, A. Ostrovsky's plays, The Forsyte Saga, J. Galsworthy).
A typical image represents the highest level of the characteristic image. Typical - this is the most likely, so to speak, exemplary for a certain era. The image of typical images was one of the main goals, as well as the achievements of realistic literature of the XIX century. Suffice it to recall the father of Gorio and Gobsek O. Balzac, Anna Karenina and Platon Karataev L. Tolstoy, Madame Bovary G. Flaubert, etc. Sometimes the artistic image can capture both the socio-historical signs of the era, as well as the universal character traits of this or that hero (the so-called eternal images) - Don Quixote, Don Juan, Hamlet, Oblomov, Tartuffe ...
Image motifs and topos go beyond the individual characters-heroes. The image-motive is a theme that is consistently repeated in the work of a writer, expressed in various aspects by means of varying the most significant elements of it ("rustic Rus" by S. Yesenin, "Beautiful Lady" by A. Blok).
Topos (Greek topos - place, terrain, letters, meaning - common place) denotes common and typical images created in the literature of a whole epoch, nation, and not in the work of an individual author. An example is the image of the "little man" in the work of United States writers - from A. Pushkin and N. Gogol to M. Zoshchenko and A. Platonov.
Recently, the concept of archetype is widely used in the science of literature. (from Greek arc he - the beginning and typos - the image). For the first time this term occurs in German Romantics at the beginning of the XIX century, but the real life in various fields of knowledge gave him the works of the Swiss psychologist K. Jung (1875-1961). Jung understood the archetype as a universal image, unconsciously transmitted from generation to generation. Most often archetypes are mythological images. The last ones, according to Jung, are literally & nbsp; crammed all mankind, and archetypes nest in the subconscious of man, regardless of his nationality, education or tastes. "As a doctor," Jung wrote, "I had to identify images of Greek mythology in the delirium of pureblood Negroes."
Brilliant ("visionary", in Jung's terminology) writers not only carry these images in themselves, like all people, but also are able to reproduce them, and reproduction is not a simple copy, but is filled with new, modern content. In this connection, Jung compares archetypes with the channels of parched rivers, which are always ready to be filled with new water.
To a large extent, the term "strong mythology" is widely used in the literary criticism of the Jungian understanding of the archetype. (in the English-language literature - mimesem ). The latter, like an archetype, includes both mythological images, and mythological subjects or parts thereof.
Much attention is paid in literary criticism to the problem of the relationship between image and symbol. This problem was posed in the Middle Ages, in particular Thomas Aquinas (13th century). He believed that the artistic image should reflect not so much the visible world as to express what can not be perceived by the senses. So the realized image actually turned into a symbol. In the understanding of Thomas Aquinas, this symbol was called upon to express primarily the divine essence. Later, symbolist poets of the 19th and 20th centuries, symbol images could carry earthly content ("the eyes of the poor" by S. Baudelaire, "yellow windows" by A. Blok). The artistic image does not need to be dry and divorced from the objective, sensual reality, as was proclaimed by Thomas Aquinas. Blokovskaya Stranger is an example of a magnificent symbol and at the same time a full-blooded living image, perfectly inscribed in the "objective", terrestrial reality.
Philosophers and writers (Vico, Hegel, Belinsky, etc.), who defined art as "thinking in images", somewhat simplified the essence and functions of the artistic image. This simplification is also characteristic of some modern theorists who, at best, define the image as a special "iconic" sign (semiotic, partly structuralism). It is obvious that through images not only think (or thought primitive people, as J. Vico rightly noted), but also feel, not only "reflect" reality, but also create a special aesthetic world, thereby changing and ennobling the real world.
Functions performed in an artistic manner are numerous and extremely important. They include aesthetic, cognitive, educational, communicative and other possibilities. Let us confine ourselves to just one example. Sometimes the literary image created by a brilliant artist actively influences life itself. Thus, imitating Goethe's Werther ("The Sorrows of Young Werther," 1774), many young people, like the hero of the novel, committed suicide.
The structure of the artistic image is both conservative and changeable at the same time. Any artistic image includes both the author's real impressions and fiction, but as art develops, the relationship between these components changes. Thus, in the images of the Renaissance literature, the titanic passions of the heroes are brought to the forefront, in the Age of Enlightenment, the object of the image is predominantly "natural" man and rationalism, in the realistic literature of the XIX century, writers seek a comprehensive coverage of reality, revealing the contradictoriness of human nature, etc.
If we talk about the historical fate of the image, then there is hardly any reason to separate ancient figurative thinking from the modern one. However, for each new era, there is a need for a new reading of the images created before. Undergoing numerous interpretations projecting the image into the plane of certain facts, tendencies, ideas, the image continues its work of mapping and transforming reality already beyond the text - in the minds and lives of succeeding generations of readers. "
The artistic image is one of the most multifaceted and complex literary and philosophical categories. And it is not surprising that the scientific literature devoted to him is extremely great. The image is explored not only by writers and philosophers, but also by mythologists, anthropologists, linguists, historians and psychologists.
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