What Is Great Art?

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HUM2210

October 26, 2011

What is Great Art?

It is often said that, 'beauty is in the eye of the beholder'.
What holds beauty to one, may not to another. It is a simple enough idea, and apparently resonates truthfully within so many of us for it to have grown to become such a popularly uttered phrasing among the masses. So if a concept such as beauty, can be that subjective, can the same be said for a medium of largely interpretative and conceptual products? We are speaking, in this case, of art. (Bowen). Art is so many things to so many people, and whether it's a statue, a painting, or ancient cave art, it holds meaning and value. According to Rob Bowen of fuelyourcreativity.com, “In order to be labeled as art, it must connect with someone. It must move them enough to translate its meaning and answer what it means to them. If does not do this, then it is less art, and more creative expression”. So whether it's paintings by Vermeer, or sculptures by Rodin and Bernini, or cave art, it is all great art. They can all be interpreted to mean something to someone.

Art has definitely changed, with so many mediums being created since the times of cave art. Even during the times of cave art, artist needed ways to express themselves. This was done in many ways on the cave walls, with one way being blowing pigments onto a hand placed against a wall (“The Cave”). Just like the ancient cave art, Vermeer's paintings expressed his creativity. Most of his paintings expressed private moments, using light to emphasize his subjects (“The Vermeer Art Gallery”). He also used the backgrounds of his paintings to hint at things he loved, like the sea in the painting The Love Letter (“The Vermeer Art Gallery”).

The cave art seen at culture.gouv is similar to Rodin's sculptures because of the attention to detail. When I look at the sculptures by Auguste Rodin, I can see the time spent adding details like facial expressions, hair, clothing, and body features. I can...
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