The Expressive Theory Of Art

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Expressive theory of art, while being able to include certain artwork and exclude non-artwork that was problematic for formalism, has difficulties of its own. That is, there seems to be something wrong with arguing that simply because an artist has not felt the emotions expressed in their work their creation is not art. This notion could discount many great creations. For example, suppose there was the most beautiful painting; formally it is perfect, the colours, shape and brush stroke is technically brilliant. Art critics all over the world write about how amazing it is that this artist has captured sadness so exquisitely. Then it is discovered that the artist has had the happiest life imaginable, has never suffered from depression, and is …show more content…
Intentionalism has strong, moderate and weak versions, however in general the theory argues that what constitutes art are the intentions of the artist. In other words, the meaning of any given artwork is what the artist intended the artwork to mean (Davies 2006, pp. 114-116). This, when applied on a larger scale, says that an object is not art if it was not intended as such by the maker, thereby solving the formalism problem; that any object could be considered art if it has the correct formal properties. Likewise, it solves the problems in expression theory, as the work is considered art whether or not the artist expressed any emotion while making it. As already said, the theory also deals with the problem in the institutional theory of art. This is because works are always art in any point in history, regardless of whether or not the artworld considers a work art. In short, even if the artworld dismisses a work as non-art because they do not like the intended message from the artist, the artwork remains as such if the artist is successful in expressing these intentions, that is if the audience’s interpretation of the artwork’s meaning is correct. However, while this aspect of the theory solves the counterexample to the institutional theory, it simultaneously brings another problem to the …show more content…
It is no wonder then, that philosophers of art have proposed numerous theories attempting to define the nature of art, that is, what distinguishes art from anything else in the world. With so many theories that have endeavoured to answer this central question, a consensus has never been reached. Despite their seemingly logical arguments, an explanation of some of the main theories, formalism, expressionism, institutionalism and intentionalism, has shown that each of the theories are vulnerable to counterexamples. Therefore, the hybrid theory suggested, addressed each of the problems found in the theories mentioned in an attempt to design an infallible theory of art. At the present time it seems that this hybrid theory is not subject to any counterexamples. However, this does not mean that it will never be disproved, nor does it mean that this theory should be adopted by all. This is because as Morris Weitz argues, “aesthetic theory – all of it – is wrong in principle in thinking that a correct theory is possible because it radically misconstrues the logic of the concept of art. Its main contention that “art” is amenable to real or any kind of true definition is false” (1956, p.

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