"One of the distinguishing characteristics of a work of art is that it serves no practical, material end, but is an end in itself; it serves no purpose other than contemplation - and the pleasure of that contemplation is so intense, so deeply personal that a man experiences it as a self-sufficient, self-justifying primary and, often, resists or resents any suggestion to analyze it: the suggestion, to him, has the quality of an attack on his identity, on his deepest, essential self.

No human emotion can be causeless, nor can so intense an emotion be causeless, irreducible and unrelated to the source of emotions (and of values): to the needs of a living entity's survival. Art does have a purpose and does serve a human need; only it is not a material need, but a need of man's consciousness. Art is inextricably tied to man's survival-not to his physical survival, but to that on which his physical survival depends: to the preservation and survival of his consciousness."

Ayn Rand, from The Romantic Manifesto

Michelangelo: Dying Slave 1516 Michelangelo: David 1504
Example of two dramatically different themes and emotional effects, from the same artist.

This website is a rallying place, for all those who partake in the emotional intensity that great artworks offer. It presents a realistic, idealistic, objective theory of the arts, taking as its founding ideas the radical art theory of Ayn Rand: -- the Objectivist esthetics.

This site is the home of that contingent of "freedom fighters of the mind" who are battling to clarify and present the detailed truth -- philosophically, psychologically, scientifically -- about how the arts provide sustenance for the soul.

[click HERE for more details]

It provides information and resources on:

  • The centrality of philosophy for understanding the power of art, from Aristotle to Rand and points in between.
  • Psychological issues as they relate to the arts, from Aristotle to Raymond to Magda Arnold to Rand.
  • Theories of emotion and esthetic emotion, from Aristotle, Arnold and others.
  • The scope of the Arts, and the distinctions between Fine Art and Decorative Arts and Industrial Design Arts.
  • Perception theory as it relates to the Arts, from Aristotle to J.J. Gibson to Gombrich and others.
  • Essays and quotes on key concepts in the Arts:
    • Beauty
    • Metaphysical emotions and metaphysical value judgments
    • How our minds work in reaction to Artworks, etc.
Articles & Essays & Books Links

Objectivity & Subjectivity in Art
by John Gillis

Mimesis and Expression in Ayn Rand's Theory of Art
by Kirsti Minsaas

Art Appreciation and Understanding - Kindle Book - 2017

Art in One Lesson: Understanding and Appreciating the Arts
by John Gillis

Amazon Link for purchase: Kindle link

Architecture - Kindle Book - 2018

Tidings of Joy & Comfort: Romanticism & Realism in Architecture
by John Gillis

Amazon Link for purchase: Kindle link

Psychology of Art

Objectivist Psychology: Sense-of-Life
by John Gillis

On the Evolutionary Neuropsychology of Music
by Marsha Enright
An Introduction to Organic Architecture via the Obituary of Frank Lloyd Wright
by William Jordy
Art and Psychology
If Emotions Are Not Tools of Cognition, What are They?
by Marsha Enright
Metaphysics in Marble
by Mary Ann Sures, 1969 The Objectivist.

Link at Ayn Rand Institute site: Sculpture

Novels (writing about novels)
Ayn Rand:
--Basic Principles of Literature, 1968 (essay published in The Romantic Manifesto)
--The Art of Fiction, 1958 (published 2000)

What is Poetry?
by John Enright III
Discovering Great Plays: As Literature and as Philosophy

by Leonard Peikoff. Kindle link


Ayn Rand:


George Lansing Raymond (an Aristotelian esthetician, who provides a rational perspective on the arts):

Contact Us: jwg (at) artgrok (dot) org