© 2010, Jake Whipple


[From the introduction]

“Generally speaking, expression is the image of feeling.” The sentiment from Denis Diderot’s “Notes on Painting” sets up a discussion of just what ‘feeling’ is that it necessitates being set up as an image, as well as just how this ‘expression’ that relates to it works. Diderot follows his idea to a conclusion of good ‘expression’ concerned with painting, sculpture, and other visual arts in relation to the subjects within them and the necessity that they be shown as humans, not models. Expression as a word, however, has a multitude of possible applications merely within the realm of art, and a counterexample arises in Vladimir Jankélévitch’s Music and the Ineffable, where music is described as inherently inexpressive, without any direct connection to a ‘feeling’ in and of itself, and must react to itself as this inexpressive entity. However, in exploring the arguments of each, one sees a similar interest in a type of interaction with agency. By examining each idea of expressiveness in an artistic medium in the context of this agency, the two arguments can be reconciled, shown to be concerned with expecting the same things from the artistic process and the good artist. [...]

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