Techne Theory: A New Language for Art

Alan H. Goldman at Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews:

This is a book about creativity in the arts. Its thesis is opposed to the Romantic view of the artist as a lone genius who creates completely original works in flashes of inspired insight from the depths of his soul or deeply personal emotion. For the Romantic, the true genius’s work will violate all past conventions and practices in embodying a radically new concept. She creates this work in a moment of divine-like inspiration ex nihilo.

For Henry Staten, by contrast, there is no sharp line to be drawn between art and craft, as the artist, like the highly skilled craftsman, draws on a tradition of practical know-how built over long periods in domains within a culture. Implied in this tradition are possibilities for its extension discovered by the artist, who must then elaborate on and embody them in her material through her highly skilled practice. Staten notes that this view of the artist as skilled craftsman predates the Romantic elevation of the artist to mystical creative genius. Traditionally sponsors told artists what to paint, and the artists then drew on their extensive practical knowledge and skill in painstakingly executing the work in the available materials.

more here.