Assess the claim that 'we value art because it expresses the feelings of the artist'. (30)

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Assess the claim that 'we value art because it expresses the feelings of the artist'. (30)

The theory that we value art because it expresses the feelings of the artist is one held by those who believe in what is called 'emotivism' – art is valued because of its emotional impact (on the audience), whether that comes from our own personal reaction, the artwork acting as a 'container' for the artists emotion (implying that the emotion we feel is the same as the artists upon creation) or  the artwork 'capturing' the emotion by sharing what it is like to feel it (like a metaphor). According to this theory, a 'good' artist is in touch with their emotions and can channel them [into artwork]. We feel our emotion when we experience artwork, and good artworks are those which give us an effective feeling. These emotions are the same as emotions that we may feel elsewhere in life, but art somehow uses them in a different way.

Aristotle raises the idea of catharsis, which is the idea that we (us personally and the artist) use art as a way to experience emotion in a 'safe' way. As an example, when I watch a sad film the sadness I feel is 'purged' from my system without me having to feel sadness in the real world. Thus, even a negative emotion can have a positive effect on the audience. On the other hand, Tolstoy and Collingwood have a different point of view and state that we appreciate the skill of the artist in conveying the emotion in the piece. Thus we appreciate artists who are 'genuine' or 'sincere' in their emotions; as an example, think about the difference between generic manufactured pop music, and music that has been created by someone as an individual pouring raw emotion in to it. This theory could be seen as accurate for a couple of reasons. Firstly, when we are describing our reaction to art we use an affective vocabulary – often when we are asked what we think of an artwork, we express how it makes us feel. Secondly, it also opens the idea of art up; every human being feels emotions, which suggests that we are all capable of experiencing and appreciating art on the same level or wavelength.

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According to Tolstoy, men come together through speech/thoughts and art acts in a similar way. Art allows us to share feelings and emotion as opposed to thoughts. It doesn't matter whether it has already been produced or is in the works of being so. We experience the emotion of the person who expressed it upon creation of the art – if you want to share you feelings, you have to do something external such as creating a piece of music, writing a book or writing a play. We don't necessarily have to have experienced something in order to fear ...

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