The Expressive Theory Of Art

Better Essays
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.

Related Documents

  • Decent Essays

    He easily shows radical autonomism to be fatally flawed due to its 'common denominator' argument (Carroll 1996: 226). Alternatively, the moderate autonomist position is far more promising, as it accepts that some artworks do possess moral components, and that it makes sense to talk about, and evaluate them, on moral grounds. However, such an autonomist asserts that aesthetic evaluation remains independent from moral judgements, regardless of the moral judgements or emotions an artwork draws from a viewer (Carroll 1996: 231-232). Carroll considers this wrong, because, if narratives require moral responses to be intelligible and aesthetically successful, aesthetic judgements cannot be sealed off from moral evaluations (Carroll 1996: 232-233). So, for Carroll, narratives result in moral and aesthetic components being wed, not being independent, as the autonomist…

    • 544 Words
    • 3 Pages
    Decent Essays
  • Decent Essays

    Aesthetic Meaning

    • 1378 Words
    • 6 Pages

    This is a very powerful conversation in modern discussions of what art is and can be. Bells saw descriptive paintings as something that should not be considered a work of art. He took the approach that art that does not speak to our aesthetic emotion should not be considered art. If the purpose of the art is to present information or give a direction, then it has another function altogether. For a work to be considered art, it must speak to our aesthetic emotions.…

    • 1378 Words
    • 6 Pages
    Decent Essays
  • Decent Essays

    David Hume and Immanuel Kant corresponded beyond numerous doctrines and writings beyond the value of art, while both opposing to the use of ethical didacticism. As theorists, they both highlight the value of fine art as a view of pure virtuoso, with the intent that the beauty and value of the art that is gathered from overall ideologies or through intellect cannot be knowledgeable. However, these two philosophers primarily are at odds over their philosophical message. The superficial agreements cover up the contradictions beyond the degree of unanimity that is shown in the encounters with artistry. Ever the pragmatist, David Hume has skepticism beyond the reasoning’s power; rather it’s ironic that he preserves a sharp…

    • 819 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Decent Essays
  • Decent Essays

    For example tools are a form of art that we don’t really consider art. Sure it does not take a philosopher to make everyone understand what the purpose of a specific tool is but it also does not take a philosopher to make us realize the beauty and importance of that tool. Like Noe said in his article, a door knob for example is a piece of art that is taken for granted. It is not necessary for us to give it a different meaning other than a tool for helping us open doors but it does to a certain point define our life and facilitate it for…

    • 1312 Words
    • 6 Pages
    Decent Essays
  • Decent Essays

    He claims that despite this, theories attempting to define art are not irrelevant as they help to build on understanding of what art is. Weitz maintains that the fact that art cannot be defined is evident in the way in which theories that attempt to do just that are disproven and improved by other theories in a continuous cycle. Furthermore, Weitz argues that what one theorist understands to be fundamental in defining art, another will understand to be irrelevant. The fact that these theories contradict each other does not mean to say that they are all false, but rather its supports Weitz’ claim that there is no single definition for art (Weitz…

    • 1030 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Decent Essays
  • Decent Essays

    By having absolute freedom, they will be able to do whatever they like, without having to worry about censorship destroying the purpose of their artwork and stopping them from expressing themselves clearly. Although having absolute freedom may mean that some people will get offended due to the different messages the artwork carry, people always still have a choice to look or not to look at a certain artpiece, as each artist will always have his or her own target audience to reach out to. Therefore, artists must be given the absolute freedom in creating their works, and not have authorities that will censor any part of their…

    • 881 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Decent Essays
  • Decent Essays

    Plato's Conception Of Art

    • 1130 Words
    • 5 Pages

    I could create them as they appear to be. But not, I take it, as they truly are". The meaning here is that although an artist may be able to "recreate" something is his art, like the mirror can recreate a person's image, they are both only imitations of the real thing, and thus lacks truth. Art glamorizes these imitations, painting them in a positive light to the masses. Essentially, as Plato goes on to state, these imitations are a far cry from the truth.…

    • 1130 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Decent Essays
  • Decent Essays

    Another possible objection would be the idea that artworks that are parodies or based on other works should be considered art, even though they might not be unique. In response to this, I think that those works of art are unique. The changes from the original artwork give them new meaning, and therefore…

    • 894 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Decent Essays
  • Decent Essays

    First, I believe that Benjamin would argue that the experience of the original holds the aura and the experience of a reproduction lacks authentic originality. However, if a person sees the original form of art, such as the Mona Lisa, in the authentic form can we (as observers) ever truly grasp the aura of the painting or is the authenticity locked in the mind of the creator? I believe that the true history and the personal interpretation, which created the original painting is the only location of the aura of the artifact. This is where I believe that I may differ from Benjamin’s argument. While Benjamin I believe would argue that original art objects hold the aura, I would argue that the creator of the art object holds it’s only true…

    • 1003 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Decent Essays
  • Decent Essays

    Absolute freedom is having no restrictions. It means giving the artist the space and allowance to put up any art piece without having to self-censor or worry about the laws and regulations of the government or the general response of the audience. Another key term in this topic would be the artist herself. The occupation of an artist is to practise or perform any of the creative arts, using the conscious use of skill and creative imagination. Despite how some arguments would stress the importance of artistic freedom, my stand for this argument would be to disagree with the statement, and that artists should not be given absolute freedom.…

    • 1124 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Decent Essays

Related Topics