The artist then proceeds to express feelings and ideas in words or paint or stone or the like, clarifying them and achieving a release of tension.
The point of this theory seems to be that artists, having been perturbed at the inarticulateness of their “ideas,” now feel relieved because they have “expressed what they wanted to express.” This phenomenon, indeed a familiar one (for everyone has felt relieved when a job is done), must still be examined for its relevance.
Great care must be taken at this stage: some say that the creation of art is (or involves) self-expression; others say that it is the expression of feeling, though not necessarily of one’s own feeling (or perhaps that and something more, such as the feeling of one’s race, or of one’s nation, or of all humanity); others say that it is not necessarily limited to feelings but that ideas or thoughts can be expressed, as they clearly are in essays.
But the distinctively expressionist view of artistic creation is the product of the Romantic movement, according to which the expression of feelings constitutes the creation of art, just as philosophy and other disciplines are the expression of ideas.
Another problem should be noted: assuming that artists do relieve their oppressed states of mind through creating, what connection has this with the exact words or score or brushstrokes that they put on paper or canvas?
Feelings are one thing, words and visual shapes and tones are quite another; it is these latter that constitute the art medium, and in them that works of art are created.
Is it the emotion being expressed that counts or the relief at having expressed it?
If the concern here is with art as therapy or doing art to provide revelations for a psychiatrist, then the latter is what counts, but the critic or consumer of the art is surely not concerned with such details of the artist’s biography.
The elements existed beforehand but not in the same combination; creation is the re-formation of these pre-existing materials.
Pre-existence of materials holds true of creation quite apart from art: in the creation of a scientific theory or the creation of a disturbance.