Human imperfection Essay
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There is a substantial debate among artists, critics and connoisseurs regarding the purpose of art. If views of painters like John Ruskin, writers like Robert Browning and art critic like Walter Pater are taken into account then it could be seen the perspective of the significance of art varies from person to person and school to school. Generally, the human race considers art as something that is pleasing to the eye or invokes certain emotions when viewed. And what many artists consider to be art is something which you can do and enjoy and in the end, produce something that gives a feeling of success.
There are many different ways to express one using the concept called art. The most common style of art which most people think of when they think of art is the painting. The painting is usually just some form of paint media, whether oil or watercolor or whichever style it is, and the paint is then placed on some form of canvas.
There are, however, literally hundreds of styles of art within the world. They range from the painting, which although never simple, isn’t necessarily the most complex way to express yourself. Art can even be considered in simple writing, usually in the form of poetry.
The spoken word can have a more profound effect than physical art. A simple poem can invoke a range of emotions rather quickly. If a poem refers to someone who is close to the author, the author may feel overwhelmed when viewing their own artistic expression. But a painting can just as easily invoke the same feelings as a written piece of art. And a simple sketch has the chance of being just as profound. (Lamb, 243-245) In this context Ruskin’s point of view should be taken into account as he pointed out that the primary purpose of art is to evoke the value of god by showing the detrimental side of the human nature.
He advocated this thesis with high degree of indulgence in his text ‘Modern Painters’. On the other hand Browning’s views of art were different from that of Ruskin but was not contrasting as he believed that perfection is what that all mattered in art. According to his views art should cover up the human imperfection and present a faultless, great and ideal image of the human being. His point of view on art was mostly presented through the characters Andrea del Sarto and Fra Lippo Lippi.
It could be assumed that according to Browning art resembled whatever that was beautiful and faultless. In sharp contrast the point of view of Walter Pater completely rejects the previous two ideas. According to Walter Pater art should always be sensual and provoking. His idea of art completely ignores the aspects of spiritualities and sentiments along with any relation to emotion and theology. According to him any art that fails to evoke sensual feeling or satisfies the erotic feelings of the audience could well be labeled as failed art.
In this context it would be relevant to quote Sir Kenneth Clark from his text ‘The Nude’. He mentioned that “no nude, however abstract, should fail to arouse in the spectator some vestige of erotic feeling, even though it be only finest shadow-and it if does no do so, it is bad art and false moral”. (Clark, 79) However, it can be stated that Art could be considered something as simple as an action someone has done for a cause or for somebody. If someone holds the door for somebody else, it could be their art to be generous and gentlemanly.
Even acts of crime can be considered forms of art. In many thieving circles, the method of breaking and entering or robbing places is merely called the “Art of Theft”. Thus one can never really limit art to one thing. Rather, it is a wide arrangement of things. And one can never truly crack down and say that something is only artistic if it is of some particular kind of medium, because somebody else will disagree. It can be stated that Art is basically anything that anyone does which has a profound effect on somebody or something else.
From a simple act of kindness to a masterpiece painting that took years out of somebody’s life. Some art can be considered more complex, and some art can be considered simpler in contrast. But, the fact of the matter is, in the eye of the beholder, art could be anything. So is it really possible for us to define what art is or can we really set any realistic guidelines as to what’s art and what isn’t art? It is always possible to create guidelines, but it is often considered an art-form in itself to break said guidelines.
Similarly, the aesthetics of art could well be beyond the definition set by rigid guideline and logically thus the significance or purpose of art remains a relative concept. But defining what is aesthetic and what isn’t can also be quite an undertaking. Simply put, something that is aesthetically pleasing is something that appeals to the senses. For instance, flowers give a nice aesthetic sense of smell by offering their pleasant odors. A nicely painted picture can give off a nice aesthetic sight for somebody to enjoy.
Often it is difficult to create something aesthetically pleasing, as there are many ways to easily offend peoples’ senses. For instance, if you wanted to create a painting to give off an aesthetic feeling of hope, you probably wouldn’t use an over abundance of dark colors. Dark colors are often used to show calmness or even more commonly, something sad and depressing. Also, when painting, if you use wider and more circular strokes with a lighter press on your brush, you’ll give off more depressing tones and colors. So, it would be more advisable to use lighter colors and more agile handling of the brush.
Lighter colors often give off a feeling of warmth and happiness, which is something that you would like to be doing if you would like to create something hopeful. (King, 126) However, it can be stated that it doesn’t really matter whether or not we can define the significance of art, because art is just an expression. It is a method for human beings to get out their emotions and share them with the rest of the world. It helps to describe what cannot be spoken. A picture is worth a thousand words, but even those thousand words can yet again produce a thousand additional pictures.
And in this method of thought, the significance of art has an infinite number of possibilities and an infinite number of ways to influence the lives of others. Thus the significance or the purpose of art lies in its spirituality, humane approach, sense of beauty and even sensuality all at the same time and there should not be any rigidity in this context.
References: Clark, Kenneth; The Nude; (Alliance Publishers. 2002) King, H; Aesthetic Today (HBT & Brooks Ltd. 2005) pp 126 Lamb, Davis; Cult to Culture: The Development of Civilization on the Strategic Strata. (National Book Trust. 2004) pp 243-245.