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Existentialism and Art - Essay Example

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Existentialism & Art (Add (Add (Add Date) Existentialism & Art Introduction Admittedly, a suitable definition of art is a matter of discussion for quite some time now. Scholars have propounded a large number of definitions for art but none could prove all inclusive in nature…
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Existentialism and Art

A look into these various concepts proves that Leo Tolstoy comes up with the best explanation regarding art. According to him, art is a form of communication that can take various forms. If it succeeds in developing an emotion, it is an art. Aristotle and Art According to the Aristotelian view, art is an imitation of life. He starts his theory of art with the claim that humans have the urge to imitate, and this tendency to imitate is the very basis of human learning. It is this tendency that makes humans delight in works of imitation. Thus, according to the scholar’s opinion, various people imitate using various medium ranging from color and voice. As Butcher (1951, p. 116) says, this concept contains three elements of imitation. They are rhythm, language, and harmony. Here, Aristotle brings in the concept of virtue in art. To illustrate, the factor that decides whether a particular artwork is a comedy or a tragedy is the object that is imitated in the work. Though the art form used is the same, the emotions it creates will be quite opposite in both the cases. Thus, when one follows the Aristotle's point of view, one gets a chance to evaluate the quality of art and the element of virtue in it. This becomes possible because the artist is supposed only to imitate, not to create. Evidently, there are a number of pitfalls in the Aristotelian view. ...
For example, if the quality is assessed from the perfection in imitation, people from other geographical areas will not be able to assess the quality of any art. In other words, an art form will be highly limited to people in that geographical area or who are familiar with the item being imitated. Another issue arises that the concept does not take into account the authenticity of abstract works. To illustrate, it forgets the quality of Cubism and Pop as art forms, though they are not realistic reflections of nature. Thus, it becomes evident that though Aristotle managed to present the human characteristic of imitation, he failed to develop a flawless theory of art out of it. Plato and Art One can see that Plato too shows a tendency to consider art as an imitation though he develops a bit on the concept; but to the wrong side. In The Republic, Plato claims that art is an imitation of the things and events that one encounters in everyday life (p. 69). However, admittedly, Plato’s theory goes astray when things like music are considered. For example, even though Plato claims that music represents natural sounds and emotions, one can easily find that there is no imitation of anything natural other than emotion. However, Plato’s effort to show how complicated art can be in imitating things deserves appreciation. To illustrate, in The Allegory of the Cave, Plato describes the example of some prisoners chained to a bench, facing the wall of a deep cave. Behind them, artists are performing puppet play, and the prisoners could only see the shadows what they perceive as reality. However, as one prisoner gets released, he sees the puppets that produced the shadows (The allegory of the cave, 2011). Thus, one sees that, though Plato considers art ... Read More
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