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Measuring the Value of Art

By orio92 Nov 17, 2010 1000 Words
“One possible way of measuring the value of any art or art form is its timelessness, for people of all nations, all times, all political preferences and religions”- Richard Nelson. The value of art is questionable, different artists all see the world differently; therefore it is safe to say that their idea of value would differ as well. Richard Nelson, an American playwright, believed that art was truly valuable if it managed to last a million life times. He believed that if a piece of art could withstand the hands of time, than that must be a true work of art. He also believed that if that art piece could appeal to all sorts of people, races, nationalities and religions, that it was definitely a master piece. However, there are plenty more other ideas as to what is really the value of art. There is the value of reputation, the skill of the piece, and of the intellectual mind. There is the financial aspect of things, and how much the painting can be sold at. There is the cultural significant to the art piece. At the end of the day however, it is all opinionated, and one man’s treasure is another man’s poison. In other words, a piece of art to one person, could be beautiful and wonderful, but to another, pure and utter insignificant rubbish. I do not believe there is only one definition to the value of art, there are plenty. Personally, I believe that the religious value of art, intrinsic value of art and skill of the artists hand are the most valuable. There are many artworks denoting religious value, Michelangelo’s “The creation of Adam”, and Leonardo Da Vinci’s “The Last supper” for example. Leonardo Da Vinci’s Mona Lisa is an excellent example of the value of skill and Barnett Newman’s “vir heroicus sublimis” would be a good example of the value of intrinsic art, thus being the emotions conveyed the minute you set your eyes on the paintings rather than the other values that might form after a while. In Michelangelo’s “The creation of Adam”, painted on the ceiling of the Sistine chapel, we witness a scene from the Bible, and how God created the first man. This is only a small area of his masterpiece of the ceiling of the Sistine chapel. It is acknowledged that this very ceiling is the greatest achievement in Western Art. This is because it encouraged and inspired artists through countless centuries to use its styles and motifs in their own work. It was a religious tribute to the bible and religion. This shows that religious value is important, as it inspired many another artists. This piece has survived centuries and is still greatly appreciated in our day and age. Michelangelo was quite a religious person himself, and he believed that one of the greatest ways to show God his appreciation was by painting and expressing his feelings in the form of art. He was believed to have said, “Many believe - and I believe - that I have been designated for this work by God. In spite of my old age, I do not want to give it up; I work out of love for God and I put all my hope in Him.” Michelangelo was a great artist of his time; this indicates that in order for such a great artist to be asked to paint the ceiling of a chapel, they must have thought that only an artist with great skill would be worthy enough to paint that ceiling. This tells us how valued religion was and still is. It tells us that religious tributes and homage’s should be painted by the most skilled of artists like Michelangelo, and Leonardo Da Vinci. Leonardo Da Vinci’s “The Last Supper” is another perfect example of religious value in art. This is also said to be one Western art’s greatest masterpieces. Notice a pattern here? Both “The Last supper” and Michelangelo’s ceiling painting are religious paintings and they both are said to be masterpieces. This goes to show how important religion was and how many masterpieces were of religious significance. Mona Lisa is a good example of the value of the artists skill. Leonardo Da Vinci is one of the greatest artists of all time. What makes the Mona lisa so valuable is the amount of skill that went into it. He had the power of expressing amazing detail with the use of shadows. Layers of lacquer painted over the back ground to give it depth. This small picture can never have a price put on it. This is why it is sitting in a museum and not being auctioned. Works with such skill cannot have a price put on it, such a beautiful piece should be on display for the world to see.

Vir heroicus sublimis, is a painting by Barnett Newman, who was a key part of the abstract expressionist movement. The title means, “man, heroic and sublime” and was painted to create a reaction for its viewers because of its overwhelming scale. This brings us to the intrinsic value of art. It is amazing how a painting of simply colours can evoke such emotion from the viewer, which is exactly what Newmans paintings do. This shows the intrinsic value of art as it demonstrates how simple things can creat great emotion. Newman compares many of his paintings to when you meet someone new, “It’s no different, really, from meeting another person. One has a reaction to the person physically. Also, there’s a metaphysical thing, and if a meeting of people is meaningful, it affects both their lives.” In conclusion, art has many different values; there is no true meaning or definition to the value of art. One cannot just look up a definition of it in the dictionary. It is all opinionated. Each art work brings a different meaning to the value of it.

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