Images of Eden: An Enquiry into the Psychology of Aesthetics
Aesthetics is regarded, traditionally, as an aspect of philosophy. Arthur Edwards' approach is different. Ignoring philosophy, he points out that any work of art is devised in the mind of the artist and interpreted through the mind of the beholder and the object must therefore constitute a device of communication between these two minds. In this agreeably written, fully illustrated and constantly fascinating study he explores the implications of this idea, remembering that both artist and experiencer may be of any culture. (We can respond, granted a degree of familiarity, to works produced by artists from cultures as different from our own as those of a Palaeolithic cave man, an Aztec priest, a West African wood-carver or a medieval monk.) The result is an astonishingly wide-ranging quest, one which extends from an investigation of communication theory to an account of the ecological concepts held by certain Amazonian tribes, from a demolition of Freud's model of the psyche to a study of the trigonometry of the Great Pyramid and from an account of the evolution of the human mind to a theory, albeit partial, concerning the nature of beauty. All are held within two complementary themes: the relevance to his enquiry of Jungs theory of the collective unconscious together with the archetypes of which it is composed, and the confirmation of these concepts by independent evidence.