Creative process

In contrast with certain trends, tending to integrate human creativity in the general socioeconomic context, Brandi sustained the specificity of a work of art, claiming that it was the result of a unique, creative process. Consequently, also its perception required a critical process to reclaim its significance in human consciousness, a process that came to follow similar lines with the philosophy of Heidegger.29 This consciousness starts with a deep intention which progressively emerges, and, through various stages, finds its liberation in an image that is gradually formed in the artist's mind. The beginning of the creative process is the event when artistic 'intuition' first takes place. In the dialogue of Carmine o della Pittura, Brandi has described such an event in reference to painting a landscape:

Look, Carmine, if you approach a window and watch the panorama, an intuition of that panorama takes place quite suddenly due to the perception that immediately gets ordered in your consciousness. It would be impossible for you to hinder the inner formation of that consciousness if not by closing your eyes, or by interrupting the existing connection with the landscape. But, if you are a painter and, with the glance you take at the panorama, you feel a particular interest in that landscape, there occurs an imperceptible yet fundamental change

Figure 8.8 The church of Santa Maria della Consolazione (1508-1604) in Todi, Central Italy, is a genial interpretation of the Renaissance ideal of central building. A work of art results from a creative process, making each work artistically and historically unique

inside you, giving a distant hint of what is going to come. When you adjust the lenses of the binoculars, the landscape now leaps at you with new clarity - in our case, however, not any more with more optical precision, but perhaps rather better defined within its own inner appearance. This second vision, that really can be called phenomenal, is not identical to the first - existential - vision, that you receive, nor does it destroy it. It is like catching an instance and prolonging it in time: you will have arrested something. The landscape is somehow less alive in you, because it is set outside your reach, and still it acquires a determination, a necessity, an invariability that it did not have when it appeared to you only as an empirical datum.30

There are various elements in the 'existential reality' (realta esistenziale), colour, spatial relations, light and shadow, which are conceived by the artist, and used in the gradual constitution of the object into an image as a synthetic act in the artist's consciousness. This process thus represents the passage of interi-orization of the object into an image; the consciousness found in this image the reality in an empirical and immediate manner. The new reality that is formed in the mind of the artist is reality without physical existence, and therefore 'pure reality' (realta pura). Such pure reality differs from existential reality, and reflects the effective structure of human spirituality; it is the indispensable foundation for thinking of art, and only relates to art. In a subsequent phase of the creative process the connection with the existential reality is interrupted, and the image is shaped in the artist's mind; the cognitive substance of the image is formed in a symbol and revealed as form. The artist then proceeds to its material realization; that is, the work of art is made or built as a physical reality. When the image is thus externalized and has taken a material form, the work starts its existence independent from the artist.

Once the material has been used in the physical construction, it is historicized as a result of human work. Taking the same type of marble from the same quarry at two different times, one at the time of the original creation, the other at the time of restoration, can provide chemically the same material, but that has a different significance historically as

Figure 8.9 Stonemasons working on the Acropolis of Athens. Once material has been used in the work, it becomes historical due to human work

well as in execution and aspect. Thus, there is no possibility to pretend that a reconstruction could have the same meaning as the original; instead, it would become historically and aesthetically false. Moreover, the material has a relationship with its contextual environment and light which contribute to the character of the image. For the same reason, removal of a work of art from its original location can only be motivated in exceptional cases to guarantee conservation. Patina results from the ageing process, and its removal would deprive material of its antiquity, and could disturb the artistic image.

The leading idea in the theory of Brandi is in the definition of the concept not as imitation of nature as conceived for centuries, but as the result of an authentic, creative process with the artist himself as the active protagonist. Brandi emphasized the difference between works of art and common products, i.e., the creative process related to art, and the process following particular practical aims, for example, in the design and production of 'tools' or 'instruments'. (The same distinction was made by Heidegger.) The process for the production of such an instrument or object, a chair, a rug, would be dictated by functional requirements rather than resulting from an autonomous creative process. A carpet or a vase are objects designed for a particular, practical purpose, and their figurative elements thus acquire a function that is more decorative or ornamental rather than a component of

Figure 8.10 Architecture qualifies the tectonic structure, and elevates it to become a work of art. This is exemplified by the Masjid-i Jame' of Isfahan, where the refined treatment of spaces and surfaces forms a unique architectural work of art

a 'pure' work of art. On the other hand, there are cases where an object, such as a Persian carpet, although made for a particular purpose can also be conceived as a work of art. Then it should be seen in its artistic dimension, and no longer as designed for a particular use.

Architecture does not 'require' an external object to start the creative process, but is referred to an inner object. The practical need for architecture can be conceived as the basis for a functional scheme, through which cognitive substance is provided to the image. Architecture can therefore be seen as resulting from a creative process, and becoming a work of art. It is characterized by its functionality, but also by the impossibility of being merely functional 'without denying itself as architecture and being reduced to passive construc-tiveness'.31 The tectonics that characterize architecture refer to the development of the practical, structural arrangements, being in evolution according to needs. When human spirituality feels urged beyond practical requirements, architecture becomes 'demateri-alized' and 'decanted' in its form; starting from the schematic, functional idea of a type of building (e.g., a church) the form is gradually rendered concrete in spatiality. In this process is born what Brandi calls the 'ornate' (ornate), indicating the qualifying transition of architecture from a mere tectonic scheme to artistic form, the 'fertile creation' of architectural elements, such as column and architrave. In these concepts, one can find a certain similarity with Ruskin's ideas about construction and architecture.

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