I read an article sometime back stating that the western school of thought is more "fragmentary" as compared to the "holistic" approach of eastern philosophy. Not that I necessarily agree with this generalisation but the author made an argument based on the contrasting art styles of the two varying cultures, specifically Chinese and European cultures, and went on to paint a picture describing how art during renaissance was more focused on the geometric accuracies and spatial alignments of each object in their paintings and how their paintings were subject oriented. She compared this preference for naturalism to the growing philosophical ideals of the scientific method during the time and a long history of "Aristotelian influence of descriptive approaches" in western philosophy.

She made similar comparisons with eastern art describing how their paintings were more concerned with the essence of the subject than the subject itself; giving examples from Indian art (mughal art) and ancient Chinese art. There was even a comparison drawn from the concept of re-incarnation and the symbolic description of time as a loop instead of a linear entity as a means of describing why eastern artists 'often' represented the same characters multiple times in their paintings. She went into further detail with eastern philosophy and it's influence on eastern art but a lot of it was quite alien to me and therefore I would not prefer paraphrasing it to avoid myself from conveying something inaccurately.

I am an Indian and I have enough awareness of my culture to know that some of the things she mentioned like "systemised approaches and focus on structures" are definitely more prominent in western art forms and the same can be said for philosophy; reading an 800 page philosophical text describing the limitations of metaphysics by Emmanuel Kant is a very different experience from say reading the all encompassing yet short text by Lao Tzu. The same can be said about the classical music theory of west as compared to that of India; they're both elaborative but the former is focused on the coming together of things and treats all musical elements as individual parts where as the latter is more focused on a singular entity as compared to the coming together of several entities which I cannot help but draw parallels to the "essence" or "raasa" point she made.

But despite all of this, the article felt to me more like the author was connecting the dots where they fit instead of actually providing any substantial argument. Although, I'm quite intrigued by this subject and wanted to know if there is any similar work done in the past on artistic styles and preferences being shaped by philosophy.

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