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How convincing is the claim that art is valuable to the extent to which it informs us? (30 marks)

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Introduction

How convincing is the claim that art is valuable to the extent to which it informs us? (30 marks) The question 'how much can we value piece of artwork?' is at the heart of many debates in the metaphysical world. According to Plato, Kant and Schopenhauer, the world we experience which can be called the phenomenal world (Kant) or the physical world (Plato), is merely a representation of ultimate reality. Plato commonly refers to ultimate reality as 'The Forms', which are non-physical, perfect concepts that are objective for example 'Justice' or 'Table'. The objects in the physical world are just copies/ representations of the Forms; they are imperfect and subjective, for example 'a just act' or 'a table'. This distinction can be illustrated by the cave analogy. The Forms line the entrance to the cave, when 'ultimate reality 'shines into the cave, shadows are cast onto the wall. These shadows are representations of the Forms, and are the objects that we see. ...read more.

Middle

To say that if something is imitative, it is art is ludicrous. A perfect imitation, we may not value as art, for example mass production, or a painting of a section of 'lilac wallpaper'. These 2 examples could be perfect copies, alas they are not artwork. I feel that although poor copies of an object seem to have less value than those that recreate it almost perfectly, art can not only be judged on this one aspect. As well as this, I am in agreement with Schopenhauer that an artist may be trying to access the Will, or emotions, and not just mimic reality. Another way of depicting how we can value art is to say that we value art to the extent that it represents reality. Representations can 'stand for' something without actually resembling it (looking like it). For example Munch's 'the scream' represents certain feelings and emotions, better than a direct depiction could, thus we could say that this art has more value than a direct depiction. ...read more.

Conclusion

The final issue I will discuss is that we value art to the extent that it illuminates our experiences and reveals the 'truth' through an artist's vision. By 'truth' we mean 'a deeper sense of reality; a true understanding'. However immediately an issue arises; what do we really mean when we say 'truth in art'? It is a very vague word/statement and could have several meanings. One could be that the artists its trying to reveal the ideal (Form), which would be directly expressing truth (idealisation). For example Palma Vecchio's 'A Blonde Woman' is seeking to illustrate the ideal woman, therefore portraying truths about women. Another truth could be revealed by showing the uniqueness and individuality of objects. I feel however that this is a cop-out; any painting can be said to be unique, and could therefore be valued for its individuality. A separate objection is that illuminating experience and revealing truth is not a necessary condition of art. This could be where the artist targets an emotion and tries to reveal the truth about it or where they try ...read more.

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