Art Essays

Art Essays-26
In order define any human activity, it is necessary to understand its sense and importance; to do that one must examine the activity itself, and its causes and effects, not merely in relation to the pleasure we get out of it.

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If we compare it to the food question, nobody would affirm that the importance of food consists in the pleasure we get from eating it.

We know that the satisfaction of the taste buds is no infallible guide to the best food from a health point of view, in the same way the pleasure we get from a painting is no indication of its worth. Art is an activity arising even in the animal kingdom, springing from sexual desire and the propensity to play (Schiller, Darwin Spencer) and accompanied by a pleasurable excitement of the nervous system. Art is an external manifestation by means of lines, colours, movements, sounds,or words, of emotions felt by man. Art is the production of some permanent object or passing action, which is fitted not only to supply an active enjoyment to the producer, but to convey a pleasurable impression to a number of spectators or listeners, quite apart from any personal advantage to be derived from it.

Thanks to his capacity to express thoughts by words, every man may know the debt he owes to the past, and be able to hand on what he has acheived to future generations.

If humans lacked this capacity, we would be like wild beasts, and if people lacked this capacity for being infected by art, people might be more savage still, and more separated from one another.

If the meaning of life is seen in freeing oneself from the yoke of animalism, as in Buddhism, then art which elevates the soul and humbles the flesh is good, whereas art exalting bodily passions would be bad.

But art in our society has been so perverted that not only has bad art come to be considered good, but even the very perception of what art really is, has been lost.

This was how Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle looked on art, and how all the great religious teachers understood it.

Plato was so convinced of the power of art, that he suggested that artists should be banned from his ideal republic.

People who consider the meaning of art to be pleasure cannot realise its true meaning, in fact, people will come to understand the meaning of art only when they cease to consider that the aim of art is pleasure. (Sully) The first definition is inexact, because instead of speaking of the human activity itself, it only speaks of the derivation of it The second definition is inexact because a man may express his emotions by means of lines colours etc, and yet may not act on others by his expression so the result is not art.

The third definition is inexact, because in the production of objects or actions affording pleasure, conjuring tricks or gymnastic exercises may be included, which are not art.

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