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Tolstoy's Philosophy of Art

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Tolstoy's Philosophy of Art

Tolstoy approaches art with a very specific and narrow view of what is
real and what is counterfeit in classifying artwork and what makes a
work of art good or bad. Tolstoy believes that a work of art can be
classified as "real" if and only if "one man consciously by means of
certain external signs, hands on to others feelings he has lived
through, and that others are infected by these feelings and also
experience them" (10). He believes that art can only be defined as
real by its ability to make the audience feel what the artist had
intended to convey with his/her artwork. The feelings the artist
intends to convey must also be sincere and true feelings based on
personal experience, expressed to the audience in such a way that the
viewer/listener feels as if the artist is merely expressing something
he/she feels and has always longed to express. To offset this
definition, Tolstoy defines counterfeit art as having "no impression
on anyone" (513). He says that distinguishing real art from
counterfeit art can be done simply by determining the "infectiousness
of art" (514). Tolstoy claims that any piece of art, no matter how
beautiful, intriguing, interesting, poetic, striking, or realistic
cannot be defined as real unless it also maintains this quality of

After defining the difference between real and counterfeit art,
Tolstoy goes on to relay the difference between what classifies good
and bad art. Tolstoy cl...

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