…on art: the Tyrant of the Hour

To atone for elapsed time, I offer narration on a thing I love; shared observations with Emerson, assisted by a re-reading of his excellent essay by the same name.

In concurrence with Emerson, I asseverate that art enjoys the adequacy to mesmerise, to captivate, to enchant; said fascination accomplished by the observer’s intimate audience with one piece.

“Therefore each work of genius is the tyrant of the hour and concentrates attention on itself. For the time, it is the only thing worth naming to do that, — be it a sonnet, an opera, a landscape, a statue, an oration, the plan of a temple, of a campaign, or of a voyage of discovery.”

Art — in its myriad characters — touches us in profound and ostensibly numberless means; herein lies a sovereignty: to captivate us; to transfix our attention and sentiment and devotion; to the exclusion of all others.

“Presently we pass to some other object, which rounds itself into a whole as did the first; for example a well-laid garden; and nothing seems worth doing but the laying out of gardens. I should think fire the best thing in the world, if I were not acquainted with air, and water, and earth.”

It is ineffable; the potential of art to influence human emotions; to concentrate human adoration. The Tyrant of the Hour speaks directly to the human need to insulate the thing we love — or the thing we are loving in this moment — from other things. When I attend a Titian exhibition, there is no other art form present with me: there are no sonnets, there is no no Italian Baroque music; there are no other artists with me: there is no Raphael, there is no Dali. There is only Renaissance art. There is only Titian.

“For it is the right and property of all natural objects, of all genuine talents, of all native properties whatsoever, to be for their moment the top of the world.”

At this level, the perspective of the beholder evolves and transcends art: an arresting physics experiment is as artfully charming to some as a Raphael is to others: the demonstration of kinetic energy achieved by dropping marbles into a tray of flour to create craters is equally breathtaking. The Tyrants encompass immeasurable beholders, in infinite moments.

This is but one of its powers…

Titian, by me!

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