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The World's greatest art-Adapted from The World’

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Thesis writing:The World's greatest art-Adapted from The World’s Greatest Art by Robert Belton
2004 Flame Tree Publishin


For most people the process of viewing something aesthetically pleasing can be a momentarily life-enriching experience. The same people might also feel that there is a big difference between looking at a painting for its own sake, and accepting the concept of art as a medium conveying a set of intellectual theories and arguments, and many would ask why should we bother with art? The enjoyment provided by the visual is an acceptable motivation in itself. However, it does not tell us very much about anything – after all, sweets can provide enjoyment too. Unlike sweets though, art has the potential to enrich life in a manner that goes well beyond mere enjoyment, agreeable décor or a more superficial gratification through popular imagery. Moreover, because the art of our own time often simply reaffirms our own values and expectations, being familiar with the art of other times and places is a useful portal into others’ aesthetics, ideologies, morals, philosophies, politics and social customs; in fact, much art was never meant to be enjoyed at all, in the common sense of the word. ‘Art’s most fundamental importance is therefore not as décor but as an avenue of intellectual communication.’ This makes Thesis Writing insight into art an invaluable part of an advanced comprehensive education.

Why is art difficult?

Why is it that much recent art – even that deemed very important by the critical community of visual arts professionals – simply does not engage the imagination of the average person in the same way as traditional art? One conventional explanation is that over the past 150 years art has increasingly moved away from the familiarity and comfort of resemblance, in part because artists felt photography and film freed them from having to stick to straightforward representation. Another is that instead of clarity in the discourse around new and unfamiliar work, explanations are increasingly, and deliberately, obscure. This implies that what went into the making of the art object is more important that what it says to, or the effect it has on, an observer.
The development of the mass media means that a larger proportion of the population is exposed to visual art on a daily basis, and consequently exposed to the accompanying argument. In other words, art that was once intellectually challenging is now part of mainstream culture, and in order for those artists pursuing art as a pure ‘academic’ exercise to push the boundaries of learning, the questions they ask have to become more cryptic. Yet another reason that more recent art fails to engage the populace is a general mistrust for the people who create the art, and a perception of them and their work as elitist, only inviting in a narrow section of the population to engage in the discourse.

The average person’s apparent alienation from the advanced art of the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries puzzles the professionals, for it seems to be based on several faulty assumptions. The most basic of these is that what makes art ‘art’ is how accurately it resembles something. This misapprehension ignores the fact that part of what makes even traditional art ‘art’ is its symbolism, codes and composition, regardless of the accuracy of its representation. A well-crafted object with nothing to say is impoverished as art, whereas something that shows intelligence, imagination and creativity can sometimes be good art even if its technique is ostensibly poor. Attributing too high a value to the making of art is clearly what lies beneath frequently heard objections like ‘my five-year-old daughter could do that’, but these are not complaints that have been levelled solely at contemporary art. The nineteenth-century sculptor Harriet Hosmer was criticised for her figures of heroines from history and literature because she did not make the final stone versions of her sculptures with her own hands. She defended herself by explaining that art is not the design but the technique – that what makes art ‘art’ is its ‘craft’, glorifying the means over the end. (责任编辑:BUG)

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