"Collins had exposed the fallacy of modern aesthetics to me: '... the whole argument from Significant Form stands or falls by volume."

Clive Bell by Roger Fry
Public DomainClive Bell by Roger Fry - Credit: Roger Fry
 Aesthetics is a branch of philosophy concerned with the nature and perception of beauty, and issues of taste and critical judgement in culture and art.

The concept of Significant Form was devised by Clive Bell (1881-1964) in his book Art (1914). Bell was an English art critic, a member of the Bloomsbury Group, and the husband of Vanessa Stephen (Virginia Woolf's sister).

Bell argued (rather like Roger Fry, whose ideas were discussed earlier) that the only relevant aspects of a work of art are its physical properties, and that its historical context and what it represents are both irrelevant to its appreciation.

The quote which Sebastian reads from Bell's Art ("Does anyone feel the same kind of emotion for a butterfly or a flower that he feels for a cathedral or a picture?") comes from the first chapter entitled 'The Aesthetic Hypothesis'.

Click here to read Art on-line.