Seeking the Pattern of Aesthetic Value in a Work of Art

Jan Klimeš


The method and criteria that are used for detecting the aesthetic value in works of art are among the key themes of aesthetic epistemology. The object of this study is to attempt a rational reconstruction of the background of art criticism. In tradition Western thought, aesthetic value lies in archieving unity in complexity, unitas multiplex. In the 20th century, this duality was enriched by a third category, intensity. In 1989, Tomáš Kulka suggested that these three categorical features could be detected within works of art by applying a falsification proving method to the aesthetic value. Kulka described an intuitive process of assessing the aesthetic value of works of art by finding possible alternations that would contribute to improving and/or damaging the work of art. The number of possibilities thus found may lead us to recognize the aesthetic value of the work of art. This paper addresses Kulka's concept, emphasizing some of its potential problematic aspects and concluding with a suggested percentage modification of Kulka's concept that might better correspond with an practical background in assessing the aesthetic value of works of art.


Aesthetic value; aesthetic assessment; alteration; art criticism; complexity; epistemology; falsification; Gestalt; intensity; unitas multiplex; unity; work of art


Show references Hide references

DICKIE, George. The Institutional Conception of Art. In. TILGHMAN, Benjamin (ed.). Language and Aesthetics. Lawrence: University Press of Kansas, 1973.

DZIEMIDOK, Bohdan. O estetických a umeleckých hodnotách umenia. In. Filozofia, sv. 52, 1997, pp. 253-259.

GAUT, Berys. Art, Emotion and Ethics. Oxford University Press, 2007.

HANRAHAN, Siún. An Exploration of How Objectivity Is Practiced in Art. In. Leonardo, Vol. 33, No. 4, 2000, pp. 267-274.

HUME, David. Of the Standart of Taste. In. LENZ, John W (ed.). Of the Standard of Taste and Other Essays. Indianapolis: Bobbs-Merrill, 1965.

ISEMINGER, Gary. The Beardsley-Dickie Debate. In. George. LEVINSON, Jerrold (ed.). The Oxford handbook of aesthetics. New York: Oxford University Press, 2003, pp. 99-118.

KULKA, Tomáš. The Artistic and the Aesthetics Value of Art. In. British Journal of Aesthetics, Vol. 21, No. 4, 1981, p. 336-350.

KULKA, Tomáš. Art and science: An Outline of Popperian Aesthetics. In. British Journal of Aesthetics, Vol 29, No. 3, 1989, s. 197-212.

Hebrew issue: KULKA, Tomáš. The Logical Structure of Aesthetic Value Judgements: An

Outline of Popperian Aesthetics. In. Yeshiva World News, Vol. 38, No. 2, 1989, pp. 87-102.

Czech issue: KULKA, Tomáš. Umění a věda: Nárys popperiánské estetiky. In. Estetika: časopis pro estetiku a teorii umění, 1992, č. 2, pp. 29-40.

KULKA, Tomas. Kitsch and Art. Pennsylvania: The Pennsylvania State University Press, 1996; second printing 2002.

Czech edition: KULKA, Tomáš. Umění a kýč. Praha: Torst, 1994.; second printing 2000.

LANDKORF, Louis E. A Phenomenological Methodology for Art Criticism. In. Studies in Art Education. Vol. 25, No. 3, 1984, pp. 151-158.

MARTINDALE, Colin. Art and Artists. In. PRITZKER, Steven R. Encyclopedia of creativity. Vol 1, Ae-h. London, New York: Academic Press, 1999.

MOTHERSILL, Mary. Critical Reason. In. The Philosophical Quaterly, Vol. 11, No. 42, 1961, pp. 74-79.

NIEDERLE, Rostislav, DUŽÍ, Marie. Explikace pojmu krásy. In. SOUSEDÍK, Prokop. Jazyk - logika - věda. 1. vyd. Praha : Filosofia, 2005. Logika. s. 205-221.

NIEDERLE, Rostislav. Pojmy estetiky: analytický přístup. Brno: Muni Press, 2010.

OSSOWSKI, Stanislaw. O przeciwienstwie przyrody i sztuki w estetyce. In. OSSOWSKI, Stanislaw. Dziela. 4 vol. Warsaw: 1966-1970.

POPPER, Karl. The Logic of Scientific Discovery. London: Hutchinson, 1959.

POPPER, Karl. Conjectures and Refutations. London: Routledge, 1963.

ROVE, M. W. The Objectivity of Aesthetics Judgements. In. British Journal of Aesthetics, Vol. 39, No. 1, 1999, pp. 40-52.

SLAVÍK, Jan. Problém chyby v tvořivě výrazové výchově. In. Pedagogika, Vol. 44, No. 2, 1994.

SLAVÍK, Jan. LUKAVSKÝ, Jindřich. Didaktická analýza nefigurativního výtvarného vyjádření pojmů emocí u jedenáctiletých dětí. In. Současné metodologické přístupy a strategie pedagogického výzkumu. Sborník anotací 14. konference ČAPV. Plzeň: PdF ZČU v Plzni, 2006.

SWAMI, Viren, GRANT, Nina, FURNHAM, Adrian, McMANUS, Christopher I. Perfectly Formed? The Effect of Manipulating the Waist-To-Hip Ratios of Famous Paintings and Sculptures. In. Imagination, Cognition and Personality, Vol. 27, No. 1, 2007-2008, pp. 47-62.

TOKÁR, Michal. Kapitoly z teórie knižnej ilustrácie. Prešov: Prešovská univerzita v Prešově, Pedagogická fakulta, 2000.

VARTANIAN, Oshin, MARTINDALE, Colin, PODSIADLO, Jacob, OVERBAY, Shane, BORKUM, Jonathan. The link between composition and balance in masterworks vs. paintings of lower artistic quality. In. British Journal of Psychology, Vol. 96, Issue 4, 2005, pp. 493-503

VERSTEGEN, Ian. Arnheim, Gestalt And Art: A Psychological Theory. New York, Wien: Springer, 2005.

WINTERBOURNE, A. T. Objectivity in Science and Aesthetics. In. British Journal of Aesthetics, Vol. 21, No. 3, 1981, pp. 253-260.

Published by the Department of Philosophy, Faculty of Arts, Masaryk University, Brno, Czech Republic.
ISSN: 1212-9097