What could be found at the basis of arts in general is 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.
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 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.
At the basis of art lies the very same intellectual act that lies at the basis of the human language. This is also true in case of 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.
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.
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.
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.