Research Article

Collingwood and ‘Art Proper’: From Idealism to Consistency



Collingwood’s ‘art-proper’ definition has been controversial. Wollheim argues that his Theory of Imagination assumes that the nature of the artwork exists solely in the mind, committing him to the Ideal Theory. Consequently, when Collingwood states that the audience is essential for the artist and the artwork, he is being inconsistent. In contrast, Ridley claims that Collingwood’s Expression Theory saves him from Wollheim’s accusations; hence he is consistent and does not support the Ideal Theory. I demonstrate that Collingwood both adheres to the Ideal Theory (contrary to Ridley) and is consistent in his art theory (contrary to Wollheim). I show that imagination is the sufficient condition of art and expression is the process of art’s coming into existence. I argue that Collingwood is consistent in his theory because the audience and the externalization of the work are needed for an appreciation and understanding of the artwork as either good or bad, as either a work of a corrupt consciousness or not. Hence, an account of the role of externalization is a contribution to the epistemology, not the ontology, of art.
  • Year: 2015
  • Volume: 52 Issue: 2
  • Page/Article: 152-163
  • DOI: 10.33134/eeja.137
  • Published on 25 Nov 2015
  • Peer Reviewed