The Habit of Art
Topic: Creativity, Culture, & the Arts
“Operative habit resides chiefly in the mind or the will…. Habits [the ancients termed habitus] are interior growths of spontaneous life… and only the living (that is to say, minds which alone are perfectly alive) can acquire them, because they alone are capable of raising the level of their being by their own activity: they posses, in such an enrichment of their faculties, secondary motives to action, which they bring into play when they want… The object [the good of the work] in relation to which (the habitus) perfects the subject is itself unchangeable–and it is upon this object that the quality developed in the subject catches. Such a habit [the habitus of art] is a virtue, that is to say a quality which, triumphing over the original indetermination of the intellective faculty, at once sharpening and hardening the point of its activity, raises it in respect of a definite object to a maximum of perfection, and so of operative efficiency. Art is a virtue of the practical intellect.“
Jacques Maritain (18 November 1882 – 28 April 1973) was a French Catholic philosopher, and was one of the drafters of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
Art and Scholasticism
Maritain, Jacques, et al. Art and Scholasticism with Other Essays. HardPress Publishing, 2013, [Jacques Maritain, Art and Scholasticism, The Habit of Art (1920)].
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