Bauhaus-Universität Weimar

THE LOWEB SENSES. 
87 
imaginary instrument for yielding aesthetic combinations 
of odours, by means of stoppers opened and shut in cer¬ 
tain orders, so as to give rise to harmonies and contrasts, 
the perfumes being made to succeed one another rapidly 
by means of a current of air, over which the nose of 
the amateur was held. But, apart from the mechanical 
difficulties of such an instrument, there is a fatal phy¬ 
siological objection in the persistence and sameness of 
the sense of smell, which would prevent that rapid and 
distinct succession of impressions in time or space which 
makes possible the delicate harmonies and contrasts of 
sounds and colours. Hence perfumery has never given rise 
to an art of any pretension. Moreover, artificial essences 
never yield the same pure and delicious fragrance as natural 
flowers and fruits. There is always a sickly tinge about 
their sweetness. This inability to compete with nature is 
a fatal objection to perfumery as the basis of a fine art. 
It is characteristic of the true aesthetic arts generally that 
they are more beautiful than nature, because they gather to¬ 
gether all that is lovely, and omit all that is low, discordant 
or ugly. Thus the Discobolus or the Medici Yenus is more 
beautiful than any living nude human figure, because it com¬ 
bines all the best points of many ; a landscape painting is 
lovelier than reality, because it excludes all unpleasant 
accompaniments ; a great poem takes us into a region of 
ideal delights ; a grand oratorio immeasurably surpasses 
any natural collection of sounds. But a lily-of-the-valley 
or a heliotrope is worth all the mille-fleurs or frangipanni 
that was ever manufactured.
        

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