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In the context of art, beauty is the gauge of successful communication between participants – the conveyance of a concept between the artist and the perceiver.Beautiful art is successful in portraying the artist’s most profound intended emotions, the desired concepts, whether they be pretty and bright, or dark and sinister. Joseph Nieters, Lake Ozark, Missouri Works of art may elicit a sense of wonder or cynicism, hope or despair, adoration or spite; the work of art may be direct or complex, subtle or explicit, intelligible or obscure; and the subjects and approaches to the creation of art are bounded only by the imagination of the artist.Now, following the invention of photography and the devastating attack made by Duchamp on the self-appointed Art Establishment [see Brief Lives this issue], art cannot be simply defined on the basis of concrete tests like ‘fidelity of representation’ or vague abstract concepts like ‘beauty’.
Beauty alone is not art, but art can be made of, about or for beautiful things.
Beauty can be found in a snowy mountain scene: art is the photograph of it shown to family, the oil interpretation of it hung in a gallery, or the music score recreating the scene in crotchets and quavers.
Mike Mallory, Everett, WA The fundamental difference between art and beauty is that art is about who has produced it, whereas beauty depends on who’s looking.
Of course there are standards of beauty – that which is seen as ‘traditionally’ beautiful.
Chiara Leonardi, Reading, Berks Art is a way of grasping the world.
Essay Technology Changes How Art Is Created And Perceived
Not merely the physical world, which is what science attempts to do; but the whole world, and specifically, the human world, the world of society and spiritual experience.There are plenty of pretty pictures available at the neighborhood home furnishing store; but these we might not refer to as beautiful; and it is not difficult to find works of artistic expression that we might agree are beautiful that are not necessarily pretty.Beauty is rather a measure of affect, a measure of emotion.An older brother who sneaks up behind his younger sibling and shouts “Booo! But isn’t the difference between this and a Freddy Krueger movie just one of degree?On the other hand, my definition would exclude graphics used in advertising or political propaganda, as they are created as a means to an end and not for their own sakes.Thus, works of art rise like islands from a current of more pragmatic concerns.When you step out of a river and onto an island, you’ve reached your destination.The game changers – the square pegs, so to speak – are those who saw traditional standards of beauty and decided specifically to go against them, perhaps just to prove a point.Take Picasso, Munch, Schoenberg, to name just three.But neither the artist nor the observer can be certain of successful communication in the end. Consequently, I believe that defining art based upon its content is a doomed enterprise.Now a theme in aesthetics, the study of art, is the claim that there is a between works of art and the flow of everyday life.