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What is Art?

For many, many years efforts have been made to answer such questions as ôWhat is art?,ö ôWhat is the inherent value of art,ö and ôWho determines the value or art (i.e., the artist or the viewer, i.e. society)?ö There are, perhaps, as many answers to these questions as there are artists and audiences. If we look at the works of Robert Hughes, Norman Cousins, and the classical Greeks, we can discern a glimpse into the answers to these perplexing questions.

The great Greek philosopher Plato saw art as imitation, as a symbol and as a reference to some object (McLean and Aspell, 162). In this definition of what constitutes art, the emphasis is placed on the belief that artistic productions are of less value and meaning than Ideals. According to Cousins, Aristotle defined the realms between the universal and particular as expressed in art, ôA poet has the advantage of expressing the universal; the specialist expresses only the particular,ö (187). From a more contemporary perspective, art can be understood as a wide range and variety of ôproductsö that seek to represent, symbolize, or refer to ideas, objects, feelings, emotions, or possibilities. Plato argued that art is æartistically rightö if it realizes three conditions û truth or an exact representation of the original, that which is good, and that which offers the viewer pleasure (McLean and Aspell, 163). I would suggest that art need not necessarily evoke pleasurable responses in viewers and may, in fact, challenge and confront them. I would also argue that art need not be strictly representational, but can be abstract.

The definition of art is, therefore, somewhat elusive. With respect to the inherent value of art, it is my belief that art should serve some purpose, even if the purpose is not profound or readily discernible. As Hughes maintains of the finding of engravings and paintings from the Cro-Magnon era, ôàthey are of singular vitality and power, ...

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What is Art?. (1969, December 31). In LotsofEssays.com. Retrieved 15:27, December 06, 2021, from https://www.lotsofessays.com/viewpaper/1709884.html