In Jonathan Richardson’s Discourses, he states that art is not supposed to be “merely ornamental, they are also instructive”. He believes that art should be more than simply aesthetic, it should also prove some point, or tell some story, or portray some message to its audience. I disagree with this way of thinking about art. I believe that art is a physical representation of the thoughts and feelings of an artist and nothing more or less than that. Some art is more widely appreciated or understood while other art is deemed obscure or weird. I believe that art is art as long as its appreciated as such by at least one person – that person can be the creator. So I view a painting of Mona Lisa by Leonardo de Vinci as art just as much as I view a macaroni necklace made by a kindergartner.
Even though my definition of art is very all-inclusive and flexible, I still have my own artistic taste.
This is a piece of modern art. It is a sculpture of a man looking at a smaller version of him trapped inside a bird cage. This piece of art really speaks to me because when I look at it I think of all of the people who feel trapped inside of metaphoric cages every day. Whether they feel trapped because they can’t express their sexuality or their religion or even their own true personalities, I can relate to the messages that this art sends. Personally even I sometimes feel trapped within the social limitations of my life, and as the sculpture suggests, from an inside-looking-out point of view, it seems impossible to ever escape the cage. Richardson would view this sculpture as art because of the messages it sends. I believe that he would deem this “instructive”.
This painting on the other hand, irks me. Although I’m sure someone, somewhere can appreciate this, I don’t. I think it’s boring, dull and uninteresting. The colors don’t please me nor do the shapes and designs that are illustrated within the work. I believe that Richardson would share my distaste for this work of art. He, unlike me, would probably not even consider it to be art. I do consider it to be art however, it’s just a work of art that irks me and I do not like it.