'Both God and art belonged,' says Terry Eagleton [LRB, 24.1.08, p.14] '(for the Romantics) to that rare category of objects which existed entirely for their own sake, free of the vulgar taint of utility. the third member of this category was the human being. In their freedom, independence and glorious pointlessness, works of art were images of men and women -- or at least of what they could become under transformed political conditions. In this sense art was a politics all of its own, pointing to a future society in which human beings would be treated as ends in themselves. It was a foretaste of utopia in its very uselessness.'
When Terry says 'images of men and women -- or at least of what they could become under transformed political conditions' he means 'images of aristocrats'. Can't say I'm altogether comfortable with the notion hat the point of Revolution is to make us all into Montagues of Beaulieu. The issue here is getting utility entirely the wrong way around: because utility is a uniquely human concept nothing exists for reasons of utility except humans. The cholera bacterium has no utility, and cares not; but that I can be of use is the proudest boast I can make as a person.