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Art: Explained

Dilemma: What Exactly Is Art?


Piece of Art: The Shootings of May Third, GoyaNote: This is the question that appears around every month, typically from students who are stumped and also pressed by the time. My answer, a compilation of replies, is as follows.


There are several ways you can go on that, but my suspicion is that one will get anyone better results compared to others.

I could let you know that art plays a huge part in making our lives infinitely richer. Imagine, just for one moment, a world devoid of art! (You might think “So? ” but please think about the impact that the missing of graphics would have with your favorite video game. ) Art stimulates various areas of our brains making us laugh or even incite us to riot, with an entire gamut of emotions throughout. Art gives us ways to be creative as well as express ourselves. For some individuals, art is the whole reason they leave the bed in every morning. You could point out that “Art is something which makes us much more thoughtful and well-rounded human beings. ”

On the other hand, art is a really large part in our everyday lives that any of us may hardly even stop to take into account. Look at your desk or table where you stand, right this moment. Someone designed it. It is artwork. Your shoes are also art. Your coffee mug is art. All functional style, well done, is art. So, you could claim “Art is something which is both practical and (ideally) aesthetically pleasing to the eyes. ”

You might say “Art is at a constant condition of change, so nobody can definitely pin down what it really is. ” The continual change part is valid, but the not pinning it down part will get you an unsatisfactory grade. It may also raise a remark or two concerning you being some kind of wisenheimer. Don’t go on that route.

You might also say “Art is usually subjective, and means different things to every single person on the planet. ” This, too, is true. I would take caution from this approach, however, as it would require a big stack of paper from here towards the moon to cite all your 6. 8 billion sources.

Now, everything just stated has aspects of truth, but is largely depending on opinions. My opinion is, frankly, useless in your paper-writing endeavor. Form your personal opinions (that ought to be the reason you’re receiving an education and learning, after all), and be certain to sprinkle them within your answer… which needs the factual basis, so here are the cold hard details:

Art is variety and content.

“Art is variety and content” implies: All art involves these two factors.

Variety means:

  • The actual, physical materials which the artist has applied
  • the principles of design and
  • the elements of art.

Variety, in this situation, is concrete as well as fairly easily described–no matter which artwork is under examination.

Suppose you’ve stated: “One half of art is variety. Here is exactly how Goya’s The Shootings of May Third, 1808 fits inside. ” You would then continue to provide information about how Goya applied color, value, space and line (aspects of art). He used equilibrium, contrast, emphasis and ratio (principles of design). He composed these elements and concepts on canvas, using brushes as well as oil paints (the actual physical materials).

The example given employed the work of American art, and was created in English. It doesn’t take much of a leap inside imagination, though, to understand that these concepts behind “variety” might be applied to any artwork, created anywhere on the planet, at any moment, using any dialect. With that, we have effectively covered “variety. ”

Content, now, gets a somewhat more tricky. Content is idea-based and also means:

  • what the artist actually did express,
  • What the artist intended to portray and
  • how we respond, as individuals, to both what intended and the genuine messages.

Additionally, content includes ways in which a work had been influenced–by religion, or politics, or society generally speaking, or even the artist’s usage of hallucinogenic substances–at the actual time it was designed. All of these kinds of factors, together, make up the content side of the art.

Returning to the particular Goya example, you might comment on the point that the shootings were a real event. Napoleon had breached Spain, at the moment, and subjected it to six years of war and also revolution (politics and social impacts). There was a revolt by means of citizens of Madrid, and they had been summarily executed (traditional context). Goya, obviously, didn’t think it was good and documented the stark horror for all posterity. (He had been successful at conveying what he meant to share. ) We respond to the painting in our different ways : usually with combined feeling of revulsion, anger and sadness.

Again, we are talking about content using one picture to give an example, but the same parameters affect any art work.

That’s my very best reply, then. The first four paragraphs can be applied – with unlimited variations, up to, and including, “The way my personal girlfriend puts on he eyeshadow is a piece of art. ” Just make sure that your main debate includes “Art is actually variety and content. ” You can easily think of some very nice examples using pieces of art that you understand and/or enjoy. Now. Go get starting on that report and, next time, don’t wait just till the last minute.

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