“The true test of the greatness of a work of art is its ability to be understood by the masses.”

“The true test of the greatness of a work of art is its ability to be understood by the masses.”

The statement “The true test of the greatness of a work of art is its ability to be understood by the masses;” is highly problematic. Art in itself has an ambiguous definition that combines concepts of aesthetics and personal emotion.

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When one thinks of art, it becomes clear that the definition of art is too abstract. Art can be anything from cavepaintings to heiroglypics and pottery. Does this mean that art as it is defined is too broad? If that is the case, the quote clearly asks for a narrow interpretation of artwork that makes the current questionable.

Firstly, what constitutes artwork and which medium should be accepted as the norm. When discussing a work of art, it is vital to understand the different forms in which art manifests itself. There are mediums such as clay, wood, canvas, marble, etc. If someone creates an abstract painting on a canvas and another artist creates the same piece, but three dimensional, does the essence of the artwork change or not? If so, does this change take away from the greatness of the piece? Da Vinci’s sketching of man with many arms is an impressive work of art that many would call great. This label of greatness does not stem from the fact that when inspected, it is obviously a drawing of a man. Instead, the skecth offers an intriguing geometric perspective of man that catches the viewers eye. Now, if that same piece of art were to become a marble sculpture, would its level of greatness deteriorate because it could be seen as a perversion of the male figure? One would hope that by transferring this work of art from one medium to another, its ability to be understood would not undermine it…

…r time to find pieces that the find great and that affect them in the way art was meant to.

Upon further inspection of the old adage, “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder?” one must assess if beauty contitutes a great work of art. If so, who determines what is beautiful. Art does not alwyas have to be about aesthtic beauty, it can be about something more– a message that finds itself reverberated from the viewers mind. What one may constitue a great work of art, some may see as nothing more than glorified scribbling.

In conclusion, I must reiterate that the notion that the greatness of art is contingent upon its ability to be understood by the masses to be a complete fallacy. By utilizing and adhering to such a strict interpretation of “great art,” society would lose out on masterpieces that challange the breadth of cultural ideals of beauty and art.


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