This is likely to be a very long and rambling post in which I betray my absolute ignorance of all things classical. However, I am determined to undermine that ignorance whenever possible and I believe that you all can assist. So here goes.
Let's say that I am assisting Samuel Goldwyn to come up with a motto. He likes "Ars Gratia Artis" but finds it too vague. He would like to specify that he MAKES art, as opposed to watching, collecting, critcizing, etc. My first thought is "Artem facere gratia artem faciendi", but am I right, and if so why, and could/should I have been right in another way?
To be sure, I shall take a closer look, first at the "artem facere". I pause for half a second to ask myself if infinitves take accusatives. Yes, I answer myself, provided that they are infinitives of transitve verbs. Could I have said "Ars faciendus"?
Although I never would have, it seems as though I could. Would this appear to be a
normitive statement meaning something like "obligatory art"? Then "Ars faciendus gratia artem faciendi" could end up meaning either "Obligatory art for the sake of making art" or "Art is Obligatory for the sake of making art". I don't know which would be correct, and neither is what I want. So I shall abandon "Ars faciendus".
I also briefly find myself wondering if a parallel structure is possible, such as "Artem faciendum gratia artem faciendi". But I have never seen this and seem to recall that there are no nominative gerunds. So I find myself back at "Artem facere". I am satisfied with it but still am not sure why it must be the only option.
On to "gratia artem faciendi". "Facere" must be declined precisely because it cannot be declined, hence no genitive. Does "artis faciendi" work? It seems to but again I wonder if it will imply an obligatio
n. (Perhaps we should go with that and suggest "Praeterea censeo artem esse
faciendam" to Mr. Goldwyn). Then "Artem facere gratia artis faciendi" might be interpreted as "making art because art is obligatory" which is not at all in the spirit desired.
So I find myself returning to my original "Artem facere gratia artem faciendi". But I still have questions. Is it simply the fact that "facere" works as a nominative that keeps the other options out of that case? And how am I to understand these constructions? "artem faciendi" seems to be an abstract verbal noun. That makes sense....
But what about "artis faciendi". Is it an adjective? That is the way it was described to me. But I don't see it. The only difference that I can see in Latin between a noun and an adjective is that adjectives have degrees such as Clarus, Clarior, Clarissimus (Utinam gerundium esset clarissimus). This word faciendus does not seem to hav
e degrees. If I take it as a normitive word then it might have degrees (faciendus - to
be done, faciendior - really priority, faciendissimus - I need it on my desk by yesterday). But this is not a normitive construction. I can't say "gratia artis faciendissimus" - "for the sake of really creating the H#(l out of some art", can I? So are they really both nouns, one apposed to the other noun, the other declined separately? Or should we say that there is really just one noun that can be either apposed or declined?
Please help me and Mr. Goldwyn.
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