There are, I believe three basic possibilities concerning the nature of a work of art. The first view is the relatively recent theory of art for art’s sake. This is the notion that art is just there and that is all there is to it. You can’t talk about it, you can’t analyse it, it doesn’t say anything. This view is, I think, quite misguided. The great modern artists such as Picasso never worked for only art for art’s sake either. Picasso has a philosophy that showed through in his paintings.
The second, which I spoke of above, is that art is only an embodiment of a message, a vehicle for prorogation of a particular message about the world or the artist or man or whatever. Christians as well as non-Christians have held this view, the difference between the two versions being the nature of the message that the art embodies. But, as I have said, this view reduces art to an intellectual statement and the work of art as a work of art disappears.
The third basic notion of the nature of art – the one that I think is right, the one that really produces great art and the possibility of great art – is that the artist make a body of work and this body of work shows his world view… I emphasise the body of an artists work because it is impossible for any single painting, for example, to reflect the totality of an artist’s view of reality. But when we see a collection of an artist’s paintings or a series of a poet’s poems or a number of a novelist’s novels, both the outline and some of the details of the artist’s conception of life shine through. [p 36-37]Posted by bmcallister at November 18, 2004 12:30 AM | TrackBack