I have managed to squirrel some time to write again (this semester was a trial by fire) and thus I will continue with my plan to explain the four most common aesthetic theories. For this post, we will look at Robin George Collingwood’s theory of expression of emotion.
In broad terms, the theory tells us that art is mostly expression, that is, viewer and artist come together to experience a mental state, or emotion. I make emphasis in the words “come together” because they highlight one of the most crucial aspects of Collingwood’s theory: shared experiences. This is important to Collingwood as he believed re-enactment, the act of being in the same place of mind and context as the subject of study, was necessary to properly understand both human history as well as art. Collingwood refers to art as:
“the imaginative expression of emotion in a way that goes from a general imprecise feeling, to an expression that allows an understanding on part of the audience of the exact kind of feeling the artist feels”