“The essays are written in an exceptionally clear language, due both to Ingarden’s talent for conveying, to the phenomenologically untrained reader, highly technical distinctions, and to the translator’s skill. Ingarden’s work, written more than half a century ago, addresses nearly every problem taken up by more recent continental and analytic aestheticians.”
Wojciech Chojna, The Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism
In these studies Roman Ingarden investigates the nature and mode of being of four kinds of art works: the musical work, the picture, the architectural work, and the film. He establishes that the work of art is a purely intentional object but considers also its connections to the real world. By analyzing a work of art in its “constitutive heterogeneous strata,” Ingarden demonstrates that a work of art will reveal, when examined in the appropriate way, its own inherent structure. Further, he shows that in consequence of the art work’s structure, we must distinguish between the work itself and the concretizations of it by the listener or viewer.
Ingarden elaborates upon the conception of concretization which he present in The Literary Work of Art and applies it to music and visual art. He also employs the concept of aspect to clarify the ontic structure of these art works and the distinction between the concretization of the work and the work itself. The distinction between the work’s concretization—effectuated in the mental experiences of the listener or viewer—and the work itself serves to help Ingarden confirm and account for the work’s intersubjective identity.
The problem of aesthetic value, Ingarden maintains, can be fruitfully treated only after the ontic structure of art work has been clarified. His primary concern in Ontology of the Work of Art is to ascertain and describe that structure and the mode of existence of works of art. In addition, he offers several discussions of aesthetic value, showing in the m the connections between questions of aesthetic value and the structure of the work of art.
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