Jaroslav Hruban (1886-1934), a follower of Otakar Hostinsky, is an unjustly marginalized Czech aesthetician, even though his work shows a considerable body of philosophical, psychological, and aesthetic learning. The lack of interest in Hruban's thought might be explained by the fact that he lived a secluded life outside the main cultural centers (in Uhersky Brod), did not work at a university, and was a theorizing aesthetician of a speculative orientation in an age promoting positivism, empiricism, and interest in the form and structure of art. His 'Introduction to Aesthetics' (Uvod do esthetiky) (1915) is the first Czech attempt at a philosophy of aesthetic values, which, eventually, became the major subject of his work - 'The Essence of Aesthetic Value: A Contribution to the Metaphysics of Aesthetics' (Zaklady esteticke hodnoty: Prispevek k metafysice estetiky) (1930). Hruban's aesthetics was greatly indebted to Kant's transcendental psychology and Volkelt's theory. Since the late 1920s Hruban had drawn inspiration from the Thomist teaching represented in particular by J. Maritain. The scholastic thought was the common denominator of his texts published in the Philosophical Review (Filosoficka revue), a Thomist-oriented quarterly established by Dominicans in Olomouc in 1929. He perceived art as a 'servant of transcendence' and the supreme manifestation of human mind. Beauty, in his understanding, equally pertained to the universe of transcendence, to the supersensory, metaphysical order. He strove for such an aesthetics that would - in terms of neo-Thomism - remove the antithesis of the sensual and the spiritual, the physical and the metaphysical, the naturalist and the idealistic. The aesthetic value acted as a mediator between the two worlds. A profound humanism of his work, together with some aspects interesting from the scholarly point of view, proves a number of his ideas can potentially address the present audience. The terms aesthetic culture or the aesthetic were well ahead of their time.
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