In these treatises, in which the nature of art is studied only incidentally, art in general is the subject of debate, from the art of the shipbuilder to the art of the grammarian and the logician, not the fine arts in particular, the consideration of which has no "formal" bearing on the matter under discussion. We must go to the Metaphysics of the ancients to discover what their views were concerning the Beautiful, and then proceed to meet Art and see what comes of the junction of these two terms. If such a procedure disconcerts us, it at least affords us a useful lesson, by making clear to us the error of the "Aesthetics" of modern philosophers, which, considering in art only the fine arts, and treating the beautiful only with regard to art, runs the risk of vitiating both the notion of Art and the notion of the Beautiful.
Thus one could, by gathering together and reworking the materials prepared by the Schoolmen, compose from them a rich and complete theory of Art. I should like only to indicate here some of the features of such a theory. I apologize for the peremptory tone thus imposed on my essay, and I hope that despite their insufficiency these reflections on maxims of the Schoolmen will draw attention to the usefulness of having recourse to the wisdom of the ancients, as also to the possible interest of a conversation between philosophers and artists, at a time when all feel the necessity of escaping from the immense intellectual disorder inherited from the nineteenth century, and of finding once more the spiritual conditions of honest work.
Chapter II The Speculative Order and the Practical Order