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What Is Art?

3.70  ·  Rating details ·  1,730 ratings  ·  145 reviews
During the decades of his world fame as sage & preacher as well as author of War & Peace & Anna Karenina, Tolstoy wrote prolifically in a series of essays & polemics on issues of morality, social justice & religion. These culminated in What is Art?, published in 1898. Although Tolstoy perceived the question of art to be a religious one, he considered &a ...more
Hardcover, 252 pages
Published February 1st 2000 by Replica Books (first published 1897)
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Ahmad Sharabiani
Что такое искусство? = Chto takoye iskusstvo?= What Is Art?, Leo Tolstoy
What is Art? is a book by Leo Tolstoy. It was completed in Russian in 1897 but first published in English due to difficulties with the Russian censors. Tolstoy cites the time, effort, public funds, and public respect spent on art and artists as well as the imprecision of general opinions on art as reason for writing the book. In his words, "it is difficult to say what is meant by art, and especially what is good, useful art
Glenn Russell
Mar 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing

Unlike many works of aesthetics which tend to be overly abstract and dense, using technical terms from philosophy and a layering of sophisticated concepts, Leo Tolstoy’s book is clear-cut, employing language and ideas anybody interested in the subject can understand.

Tolstoy is passionate about art and art's place within human experience. For many years, he tells us, he has been observing art and reading about art. And what he sees and reads is not pretty. For instance, he goes to a rehearsal of
Mohammad Ranjbari
کتاب «هنر چیست؟» تولستوی یکی از بارزترین و برجسته ترین کتاب ها در حوزۀ شناخت هنر و نقد ادبی و جریان شناسی است. نویسنده در این کتاب علاوه بر بررسی هنر و ادبیات عصر خود، پیش بینی های نیز از هنر اعصار بعد از خود دارد. حقیقتی که می تواند در حین خوانش این کتاب مخاطب را آزار دهد، این است که نویسنده سعی در برجسته سازی و اتخاذ دیدگاه «نقد اخلاقی» در بررسی هنر و انواع ژانرهای آن دارد. دیدگاهی که جزو اولین دیدگاه های نقد هنر و ادبیات شناخته می شود و سابقۀ آن به افلاطون می رسد. چنین دیدگاهی هر چند درطول تا ...more
Araz Goran

ماهو الفن؟
مخاطرة كبيرة أن يسأل المرء هذا السؤال، ناهيك عن مناقشته وتحليله في إطار تاريخي تطوري وكذلك من خلال جوهره كمادة دسمة يقبع تحت عباءتها كمٌ هائل من التعريفات والفروع والخلافات والأهداف والأساليب المتبعة في تشكل المعنى الواضح للفن..

الفن ،الجمال، الأخلاق.. هذه المفاهيم الثلاثة لا يمكن لها أن تنفصل عن بعضها البعض تقترب من أن تكون متلازمة وتطرح من خلالها أسئلة بإستمرار حول مدى علاقة الفن بالإخلاق، وطبيعة الجمال في الفن، ودور الجمال في تكوين الفنون ونسبة إستحواذها على معنى الفن وإدراك المغزى م
Nov 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing
بعد از خواندن این کتاب کوتاه، دید من به همه آثار هنری و مفهوم هنر عوض شد. البته دور از انتظار نبود ، همیشه بعد از خواندن کتابهای تولستوی و ویرجینیا ولف احساس میکنم دری به رویم باز شده که هیچ وقت از وجودش آگاهی نداشتم.
Kevin Richey
Mar 02, 2012 rated it liked it
I’m so conflicted with Tolstoy. I agree with him about half the time, and the other half, I just wish he’d stop being so damn Puritanical. I don’t disagree with Tolstoy’s basic thesis, that art is defined by the following features: a person (the artist) feels a certain emotion, and captures that emotion in his work (a book, poem, concert, whatever) so that the viewer is infected with that same emotion. That works for me. I agree also with Tolstoy that emotional resonance is more important than t ...more
د. حمدان
Jan 01, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: literature
ما هو الفن ؟ ليو تولستوي

هذا هو الكتاب الخامس لي مع تولستوي.. وكان لي معه قبلها؛ الحرب والسلام، أنا كارنينا، موت إيفان إيلييتش، حكم النبي محمد. قبل أن أبدأ قراءتي للكتاب كنتُ أتوقع أن يكون كتاباً للفائدة العامة لا أكثر.. ولم أتوقع أن يكون صادماً ومؤثراً لهذه الدرجة.

كان تسلسل تولستوي في الكتاب منطقياً.. فلا بد لمن يشاء أن يضع تعريفاً ما للفن أن يخوض في الأسباب التي تدعو لتعريف الفن.. ومدى أهميته.. ثم المرور على كل التعاريف التي وضعها كل من سبقوه.. ورغم موسوعية هذا الكتاب في كل ذلك إلا أنه بدا في م
May 13, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Good works of art to Tolstoy: the works of Victor Hugo, the novels of Charles Dickens, some of the tales of Gogol and Pushkin, the writings of Maupassant, the comedies of Molière (whom Tolstoy refers to as "the most excellent artist of modern times," according to this translation by Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky), the writings of Dostoevsky, Schiller's Robbers, Uncle Tom's Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe, Adam Bede by George Eliot, Miguel de Cervantes' Don Quixote, a handful of paintings ...more
Thomas Rogers
Sep 04, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I recently read this book on holiday in Austria.


I am a Fine Art student attending Falmouth University Cornwall, going into my final year, and a devout follower of Jesus.
Throughout the course of my degree I have constantly struggled to reconcile my beliefs, with fine art.
Most of the time art seemed pretty pointless to me, it seemed completely self-indulgent, and a total waste of my time along with everybody else's - when considering the state of this world and the majority of it's in
Jun 23, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: art, russia, favorites
"But if the majority do not understand, they must be given an explanation, the knowledge necessary for understanding. But it turns out that this knowledge does not exist, that the works cannot be explained, and therefore those who say that the majority do not understand good works of art give no explanations, but say that in order to understand one must read, look at, or listen to the same work over and over again. But this is not to explain, it is to make accustomed. And one can get accustomed ...more
TAM •'

ما هو الفن
قد نعتقد أنه سؤال بسيط ولكن الإجابة عليه معقدّة للغاية . لو فكّر كل شخص بالإجابة عليه فعلاً، لحصلنا على ملايين التعريفات؛ لأن كل شخص يملك نظرته الخاصة في الحياة، يعيش وفقاً لقوانين محددّة ينتمي إليه، يتبناها أو رُبما يضعها بنفسه، بالتالي ستكون له رؤية خاصة يرى من خلالها الفن .

في هذا الكتاب، سنلقي الضوء على إجابة تولستوي على سؤالنا المحيّر، والذي يُخبرنا فيه أنّه على الرغم من كثرة الكُتب والمقالات التي صدرت في محاولة منح الفن تعريفاً مناسباً، جميعها فشلت، وأنّه لا يوجد منذ ظهر الف
تحدث تولستوي عن الفن والأخلاق رابطاً فيما بين الفن والأخلاق.
أيضا علق كثيراً على فترة معينة في تاريخ أوروبا احتكرت فيها الطبقات الغنية الفن، وهو مستاء من ذلك وكثيراً ماكرر نقده لذلك في مواضع متعددة من الكتاب، بالنسبة لتولستوي فالفن والدين مرتبطين، ويجب إخضاع الفن للدين ليتم اخراج فنون عظيمة، الدين يجيب على الأسئلة المتعلقة بالغاية من الحياة وغيرها من الأسئلة الوجودية، فيهذب الإحساس ويربيه ويخضعه لغايات كبرى، بالتالي يولد القدرة على انتاج فن عظيم، أما بالنسبة للطبقات العليا الغنية فتولستوي يحكم عل
هالةْ أمين

كتاب استغرق من صاحبه خمسة عشر عاما من البحث والدراسة والتقصي حتى يكتب ويجيب عن هذا السؤال بإلمام تام وبصورة تنم عن شبه رضا عما كتب وألف
لهو جدير بأن يكون كتابا جيدًا وجدير بأن ينال التقييم العالي

من الصعب أن أوجز أهم محاور الكتاب وأن أجيب عن سؤاله ماهو الفن في أسطرٍ قليلة
لكن يكفيك أن تعلم مدى إخلاص هذا الرجل اتجاه قضيته التي تبناها ومدى حبه لما يعمل

لقد اضطر أن يثقف ويعلم نفسه على مدى تلك السنين فيما يتعلق بأمور الفن من موسيقى وغناء ورسم ونحت وتمثيل وتأليف
حتى يدرك جميع الوجوه وجميع المدارس ويلم أقص
Mar 07, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Art is an infection of feeling and experience. Despite the title and author, this is a down to earth layman's discussion on the definition of art. You don't need to have any particular passion for the arts to enjoy this book. It's more about art's impact on societal issues. You will never go to a museum or art gallery and see things the same afterwards.
Nov 01, 2015 rated it it was amazing
اﻵن أستطيع تسمية تولستوي "نبي" بحق...، هذا الإنسان يكتب للجميع، واثق بأنه يكتب حقيقة مشاعره..تردد في الكتابة خمسة عشر عاما..ﻷنه لم يتم كل المعاني التي في عقله و روحه، من الصفحة اﻷولى بل السطر اﻷول تعلم أنه مليء باﻹنسانية، يضع نفسه مكان العامل و رئيس العمل و مكان المتلقي و مكان الفنان..اﻷجمل أنه ما ترك شيء في مجالات الفن في أهم اﻷزمنة إلا ما تحدث عنه، و عن فنانو و كتاب كل مجال، و تحدث برأي العامة و رأيه بكل صدق و نظر بمقياس الجمال و ﻷهم و أصدق محلليه، أيضا اقتباسات لبعض النصوص. .و مقارنتها ﻹظهار ...more
Oct 23, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: leo-tolstoy
بدلا من الحصول على الطعام من الزراعة و تربية المواشي يمكن الحصول عليه في المختبرات بالوسائل الكيميائية و العمل الإنساني سيستبدل كلية بقوى الطبيعة المستعملة.
لن يأكل الإنسان كما يفعل الآن البيضة التي تبيضها دجاجته أو الخبز من قمح حقله أو التفاح من تلك الشجرة التي اعتنى بها و سقاها سنوات عديدة و التي أيعنت و أثمرت أمام عينيه إنما سيأكل طعاما لذيذا مغذيا مستحضرا في المختبرات.
و لن يكون الإنسان بحاجة إلى العمل لهذا فإن كل الناس سيكونون في وضع يسمح لهم بالإستسلام لذلك الخمول الذي استسلمت له الآن الطبقا
Apr 24, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: in-portuguese, mine
Having never read Tolstoi before, this seemed like an interesting start since knowing his perspective about art in general would make me understand his own work better, especially his novels.
This being said, I was clearly not ready for this book. The amount of research I had to do in order to understand his ideas about some writers, musicians, painters, sculptures, etc. (or at least know who he was talking about) was, at times, overwhelming, which made me fall behind on schedule to finish the bo
May 28, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
. اتخيل نفسي وأنا طفل واقف أمام نافذة تكثُف عليها البخار و تولستوي يمسح بكمّ قميصه على الزجاج حتى أستطيع أن أرى من خلاله مايراه هو بوضوح.

اقرأوه يارفاق. أمّا أنا فقد وصلني إحساس ما أشعر بأني أعرفه جيداً داخلي عن الفن من قبل أن أتعلم القراءة.

* يوجد نسخة إلكترونية من الكتاب، لكن اعتقد أنها ناقصة بعض الصفحات عند النهاية.
Lamia Al-Qahtani
يشرح تولستوي لنا وجهة نظره في الفن وقد بدأ الكتاب بتعريفات الفن والجمال والخير من كتابات الفلاسفة والنقاد كمقدمة لكتابه ثم بدأ بنقد الفن المزيف في عصره وهو الفن الذي لا ينقل المشاعر الدينية أو الحياتية، ويرى تولستوي أن الفن الحقيقي أو الأصلي أو غير المزيف يكون نوعين: فن ينقل أحاسيس محبة الله والإيمان بالأخوة ومساواة البشر في ظل الدين، وفن ينقل المشاعر الحياتية البسيطة مثل الفرح والحزن والطمأنينة وليس مشاعر الطبقة الغنية واهتماماتها مثل الترف واللذة والملل من العيش.
أتفق معه أحيانا وأختلف معه كثي
Jun 29, 2013 rated it it was amazing
brillant and very challenging to what our conventional view of art is. Tolstoys main point is that the art that we see today (and in his time also) is on the whole very immitative and not true art. for him true is is when the artist feels something and wants to convey that through his work so that the person viewing it "feels" what the artist felt also. there are lots of other very challenging views in here which are very thought provoking. Some of my favourite bits:

"But among these works of va
Nov 16, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Todd by: H.O. Mounce
Tolstoy's work in aesthetics, What is Art? deals with two main issues: (1) Is there a moral justification for the lives, money, and resources spent in the artworld, and (2) What is the nature of art? Tolstoy claims that the nature of genuine art is to transfer feelings from the artist to others, thereby uniting the artist and audience; thus, art is a means of communion. And Tolstoy argues that there is no justification for most of what passes as art in the contemporary world. Most of it, he says ...more
David Withun
Jul 01, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: arts
There are two basic theses presented by Tolstoy here. The first is that the notion that art arises from beauty or reflects beauty is false. Having abandoned this idea of an intimate relation between art and beauty, Tolstoy seeks for the remainder of the book to present his alternative theory: that art arises out of the deepest and most authentic religious impulses of a people. My own assessment, very briefly, is that Tolstoy is almost certainly correct on the latter point (art arises out of reli ...more
Nelson Ramos
Jan 03, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: top10
Acabei de ler agora mesmo o meu primeiro Livro de Leon (Liev. Leão) Tolstói. Numa primeira reação, respeito imenso as ideias que estão contidas no livro. Mas creio que esta maneira de escrever, esteja muito longe dos seus Romances que o tornaram famoso.
Livros a ler!
Mas neste não existe Romance!
What is Art? - primeiro publicado em 1897 - é um pensamento filosófico puro sobre o que é a Arte por Tolstói, em que a busca na definição de beleza e o sentimento que ela deve provocar é o que necessário
James Klagge
Not an engaging book--more like a diatribe by an Old Testament prophet. Tolstoy here is an old depressed curmudgeon heaping scorn on all the "art" that we hold dear. It was written toward the end of his life, after he had rejected much of his own great work, and here added to that a wholesale rejection of the pillars of Western culture (pp. 96-97)--Greek tragedians, Dante, Milton, Shakespeare, Bach, Beethoven (he singles out the 9th for detailed discussion, and hates the late quartets), Wagner ( ...more
Fraser Kinnear
Dec 24, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: art, culture
The tl;dr
Q: What is art?
A: "To call up in oneself a feeling once experienced and, having called it up, to convey it by means of movements, lines, colors, sounds, images expressed in words, so that others experience the same feeling - in this consists the activity of art. Ar is that human activity which consists in one man's consciously conveying to others, by certain external signs, the feelings he has experienced, and in others being infected by those feelings and also experiencing them."p.39-4
- What has started as a religious and folk art, turned into art for rich estates. Art for rich people is what gives them some sort of pleasure (different kinds of beauty)
- Religious art was pushed aside and all money, critics, art schools were concentrated in art for rich estates.
- True art has to express some feeling that was experienced by an artist him/herself, while art for rich estates demands beauty and grace, each time more and more sophisticated.
- That art for rich estates, which nowdays
Seyed Ahmad Javadpour
مطاله این کتاب را به شدت پیشنهاد می کنم.... کتابی است که باید خوانده شود! تولستوی در این کتاب، به مبارزه با نظریات زیبایی شناسانه ای می پردازد که هنر را با اصطلاحاتی چون خوبی، حقیقت و به خصوص زیبایی تعریف می کنند
Peter Landau
You think you’re an artist? You’re no artist, punk! That’s what Leo Tolstoy says in his essay WHAT IS ART? He dismisses everyone from Dante, Michelangelo, Shakespeare, Beethoven, Baudelaire, Wagner to even some of his own writings as counterfeit. For Tolstoy art is twofold, an expression of divine devotion and brotherly love. It is not overly complex or striving for beauty, but a simple and pure emotion of the artist that has never been shared before. For Tolstoy only that of God can be infinite ...more
Aug 18, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: resenha-sqf
O que é e quais são os requisitos mínimos para que algo produzido por alguém ou pela natureza, seja um quadro, uma música, um livro, seja designado como obra de arte? Como distinguir a arte sublime da cópia ou da falsa arte? Qual o valor da arte? Respostas a estas e outras perguntas sobre Arte, que estetas e pensadores ao longo dos séculos tentaram encontrar uma solução, são abordadas numa obra de carácter ensaístico sobre um tema que «me é próximo — a arte», diz Tolstói, o autor do livro O Que ...more
Jul 15, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Just read it. If you come up with a better definition than old Leo's, let me know.
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  • Russian Thinkers
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Lev Nikolayevich Tolstoy (Russian: Лев Николаевич Толстой; commonly Leo Tolstoy in Anglophone countries) was a Russian writer who primarily wrote novels and short stories. Later in life, he also wrote plays and essays. His two most famous works, the novels War and Peace and Anna Karenina, are acknowledged as two of the greatest novels of all time and a pinnacle of realist fiction. Many consider To ...more
“The business of art lies just in this, -- to make that understood and felt which, in the form of an argument, might be incomprehensible and inaccessible.” 102 likes
“Art is not, as the metaphysicians say, the manifestation of some mysterious idea of beauty or God; it is not, as the aesthetical physiologists say, a game in which man lets off his excess of stored-up energy; it is not the expression of man's emotions by external signs; it is not the production of pleasing objects; and, above all, it is not pleasure; but it is a means of union among men, joining them together in the same feelings, and indispensable for the life and progress toward well-being of individuals and of humanity.” 33 likes
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