Tolstoy considers art as “art” if it has some sort of emotional impact on the viewer, which is a surprising theory for any man of the olden days, especially that of a Russian!
Tolstoy’s views are sort of romantic in a way, especially since he believes art is a means of “communion among people”. He sees it as an important way to communicate with one another. Humans need to convey emotion to each other, and art is one way. Once the art is produced, the first viewer, and all those after him, will receive an impression and emotional response and be in communication with the artist. Art has a purpose to unite people, and if it misses the mark, Tolstoy believes it should therefore not be considered art.
Of course there are other ways to communicate, but isn't art just a fun way to do it? Writing papers is tedious and boring, and if I had any stitch of artistic talent, I'm sure art would be a more enjoyable way of communicating. Tolstoy's view of connecting people is heartfelt in my opinion, and a much needed, positive aspect to art. His theory is an important amendment to the Intentionality Thesis.
My question is, is there any reason to denounce Tolstoy? Can art be completely emotionless?