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Volume 19, Issue 1, 2019

Predrag Čičovački
Pages 116-124

Leo Tolstoy on the Purpose of Art

Leo Tolstoy (1828–1910) was one of the greatest artists of all time, but also one of the harshest critics of the contemporary art. In the conclusion of his controversial book, What is Art?, Tolstoy claimed: “The purpose of art in our time consists in transferring from the realm of reason to the realm of feeling the truth that people’s well-being lies in being united among themselves and in establishing, in place of the violence that now reins, that Kingdom of God – that is, of love – which we all regard as the highest aim of human nature.” In my paper I want to examine what Tolstoy means by that, and also how his understating of the purpose of art applies to his own works of art, as well as how it applies to some other contemporary works of art.

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