Henri Delacroix in his book entitled "The Psychology of Art", in chapter IV (entitled "The Aesthetic State"), makes reference to the constructive character of the arts. According to Delacroix, art is not merely something in-between impression and expression. It is never a simple stimulation, a mere vital exuberance. Art is more than the reaction of a too strong sensitivity, more than an irresistible spontaneous expression.
At the basis of arts in general we can find a primordial convention, a decree, an intellectual act which allows it to constitute itself. As a simple expression of the emotions, language can only be an animal's means of communication. Language becomes human through the act by which the universe of the symbols is established. In Delacroix's perspective, art would not exist if it weren't for the act which can place nature before spirit, without the perspective on life that replaces life itself. Hegel used to say that art, much like religion, finds its origin in amazement.
First and foremost, art creates the double system of the means of expression's symbols and their ideal existences in search for reality. Whether visual arts initially were a kind of geometry, or whether they prefer regular shapes in general or in the free movement of life, the projection on a surface and drawing of a certain shape are spiritual creations. The simplest contour can suggest the access to the world of plastic representations and, moreover, to that of geometrical figures.
At the basis of art, we can find the very same intellectual act that we may find at the basis of the human language. This is also true if we consider the content of art. Art's content is the world of ideas and feelings. Art has always expressed a vision which presupposes first of all the world's way of thinking, the constitution of a mental universe.
In its way towards artistic expression, any feeling needs to become more abstract. That is because the powerful and blind domination of a feeling can actually prevent the artist from contemplating and expressing it. This tension would deprive the spirit of thinking and words. Delacroix says that what Hegel says about poetry could actually be said about art itself. Art does not only tend to liberate the spirit from the oppressing feelings, but also wants to set the spirit free from the tyranny of the feelings. By this, the spirit can open up towards self-expression. The spirit can thus turn what it felt into images and thoughts. Delacroix stresses the idea that there is a huge difference between feeling and expression. The completely pure, intense feeling of real-life experience becomes subject to the symbolic expression, to the visual, musical or verbal dimensions.
Renouvier used to say that the artist needs to reflect upon his own emotions in order to reproduce them to the outside audience or readers. And in order to re-create his own emotions, the artist needs to exteriorize himself in a way, to become his very own imitator. Delacroix comes to explain that when the artist becomes human and begins to feel, he is lost. Therefore, the artist needs to be able to detach himself from his very own feelings and emotions, to analyze and dissect them in order to be able to use them in a constructive way and thus create art.
Music makes feelings musical. It does not express the already-made feelings of everyday life, but it creates a completely new emotional being. With this price, feelings can be turned into musical forms and the world of sounds can become a means of expression. Realism and idealism have a common postulate. Thus, art could exist in the already created empirical or transcendental reality. All the artist needs to do is extract it from there.
An artistic representation is never the copy of an object. The artist's reflection of the show or of the artistic creation is firstly done within himself. Then he projects and exteriorizes the whole picture as if it were his very own work, projected on the outside, and not the work of nature within him. We could not contest the beauty of nature, of what has already been created. However, nature gains aesthetic value when it is seen through art.