Bel Canto Opera Research Paper

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“The Artist as a Critic”

Oscar Wilder's The Artist as Critic revolves around a debate Gilbert and Ernest discuss over art criticism and analysis. Ernest argues “that in the best days of art there we no art critics.” (Wilder 346). Whereas Gilbert reasons that “it (art criticism) treats the work of art simply as a starting-point for a new creation” (Wilder 367). Sadly, Ernest's blatant ignorance is unable to comprehend that without art criticism, there would be no art to truly value. Wilde's quote means that in order to hold art of all fields at a high prestige, we need critical structure and recognition of historical/political context to support art in order to admire the pure beauty within its relative expertise. “To know the principles of the highest art is to know the principles of the arts” (Wilder 354). Therefore, the cruciality of art criticism responds to the interpretation of meaning and focus on the current culture and time period, overall helping viewers perceive and analyze artworks to gain further knowledge and respect for such creations.

“Without the critical faculty, there is no artistic creation at all, worthy of name...and no one who does not possess this critical faculty can create anything at all in art.” (Wilder 355) Gilbert sais this to Ernest arguing over the use of art criticism from the Greeks. Gilbert means that without a basic structure of skills and fundamental elements relevant to the expertise, there is no precision of craft. What makes fine art beautiful, worth listening and compelling is highly contingent upon the mastery of key skills and artistic components. If an opera singer didn't know how to differentiate their use of breath during lyric or coloratura repertoire, they would not be able to get through any piece or art song. Instead, they would sound breathy and toneless throughout the phrases, who wants to hear that? Likewise, if a writer has no sense of plot flow, character development, or interesting themes within a...
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