Page:Rolland Life of Tolstoy.djvu/161

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search
This page needs to be proofread.


art, namely, theatres, concerts, books, exhibitions, is only an infinitesimal portion of art. Our life is full of artistic manifestations of every kind, from the games of children to the offices of religion. Art and speech are the two organs of human progress. One affords the communion of hearts, the other the communion of thoughts. If either of the two is perverted, then society is sick. The art of to-day is perverted."

Since the Renascence it has no longer been possible to speak of the art of the Christian nations. Class has separated itself from class. The rich, the privileged, have attempted to claim the monopoly of art ; and they have made their pleasure the criterion of beauty. Art has become impoverished as it has grown remoter from the poor.

"The category of the emotions experienced by those who do not work in order to live is far more limited than the emotions of those who labour. The sentiments of our modern society may be reduced to three : pride, sensuality, and weariness of life. These three sentiments and their rami- fications constitute almost entirely the subject of the art of the wealthy."

It infects the world, perverts the people, propa- gates sexual depravity, and has become the worst obstacle to the realisation of human happiness. It is also devoid of real beauty, unnatural and insincere ; an affected, fabricated, cerebral art.

In the face of this He of the aesthetics, this pastime of the rich, let us raise the banner of the living, human art : the art which unites the men

�� �