Joys of dance

“The main idea of art is to produce a faithful copy, in this way, art informs us of what is true; and this is why we value it.” To what extent do you agree with this view? First of all, one must come to some sort of conclusion as to what a ‘faithful copy’ actually is. A faithful copy of something is a copy which is as close to, as humanly possible, to what it is actually depicting; for example, a painting of the beheading of John the Baptist is a faithful copy due to the fact that it is as close to the actual event that an artist can get to with only literary references. Another example would be detailed sketches and drawings of the cardiovascular system, done in during the 1600s when the knowledge of anatomy was beginning to improve, which are faithful copies to how the system actually looks without being an exact replica.

Personally I believe that artwork itself can inform us in many and varied ways, meaning that I don’t believe that art must produce a faithful copy in order to be truthful. Essentially, I think it would be impossible for all pieces of artwork to faithfully inform us of truth since some of the most inspiring and, in some cases truthful, pieces of artwork have had no artistic faith in regards to what they are actually depicting; or perhaps a better word would be ‘conveying’.

The concept that the main purpose of artwork is to produce a faithful copy relates to the theory of Art as Representation; which says that the purpose of art is to inform us by faithfully depicting events, ideas and feelings in a manner so as to reveal both truth and understanding. An example of such a piece of artwork would be the equestrian statue of Marcus Aurelius (a Roman Emperor) which essentially informs us of an event, such as a parade which would not have been uncommon in the streets of Rome during his reign, and of his nature; i.e. the nature of a Stoic Philosopher who ruled the state of Rome.

However, though we may value some pieces of artwork for their ability to be faithful copies, there are other instances wherein our appreciation, and indeed, value of artwork is based upon an entirely different method of informing us. A different theory in relation to art is the theory of Art as Expression; i.e. artwork aims to inform us of feelings and emotions in a manner so as to allow us to either empathise or sympathise. Personally I think that this theory has some weight behind it in regards to our reasons to value artwork since how can we truly value something if all it is, is a copy with no feeling and emotionality within it? To value something on a purely objective level is tantamount to ignoring a part of human nature which is to feel about things. Therefore there must be other ideas as to why art is valued and the expressive quality of artwork is most likely one of them.

An example of such an expressive piece of artwork, which conveys feelings and emotions as opposed to faithful recreation of an event, would be the abstract, expressionist, piece The Fate of The Animals by Franz Marc. This piece encompasses Franz’s feelings about sad reality of industrialisation and logging wherein animals fight amongst themselves as their habitats are steadily destroyed. Franz’s use of colour corresponds to certain aspects and emotions such as the colour blue representing masculinity and spirituality whilst red represented violence.

Ultimately then, I suppose I must conclude that I personally find this statement to be unfairly focused upon one set manner for the reasoning behind valuing art. I personally believe that art is valued for the informative quality which is conveyed in a range of different ways; most notably though, through emotional expression since I personally think that any artwork that lacks emotion can’t truly inform us about the truth about something such as human experience since it’s tantamount to asking a machine to draw an emotional piece.

The simplicity is that a machine can’t draw something with emotion because it thinks in binary and sees what is only within the box of convention as opposed to spontaneity which allows for such expressive art to be created. This is why I disagree with this statement and prefer to believe that it is the expressive ability of artwork that allows us to value it more; because there are no other creatures; whether they be created by our hand or by evolution that can produce a painting which conveys the tragedies of war or the joys of dance.

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