Vincent Van Gogh: The Value Of Art

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What decides what art is? Over the years, there have been many discussions about what decides art and it is this question that many artists have toyed with. From the aesthetic appeal to statement works to the viewer's own perception, many aspects of art have been explored. However, the value of art is decided by that of the history of the artwork itself. One could look to Vincent Van Gogh; whose works became no more extraordinary after his death, but his tragic story assisted in him to become a household name. The history of the artist surpassed that of his paintings, causing the painting to become famous in turn. This statement will be further argued and shown utilizing the works of Kazimir Malevich and Rembrandt Van Rijn. Each of these men …show more content…
Rather it maintains its hold on the art world due to the history of the time and place in which it was presented. A gallery space allows for little questioning of an artwork’s value as art due to it being accepted by an institution. The same can be said about the works of Marcel Duchamp, whose ready-mades, such as the Bottle Rack (1917/1964), required a gallery to be anything more than a common household item. Similar to Duchamp’s Bottle Rack, which was recreated six times after the first was thrown out by his sister, it was simple for Malevich to reproduce The Black Square. Around 1923, a gallery requested a replica that was not cracked or damaged like the original and Malevich obliged. In his time, Malevich created four replicas of The Black Square and later versions used paint that would not crack. Although, unlike Duchamp’s readymades, Black Square had no practical use for it rather than to sit on a wall. However, Malevich had more intention for his painting rather than sitting on the wall for aesthetic appeal, like those that belonged to previous art movements. The painting required knowledge of colour to see that the square was made truly black but a mix of colours. One had to view it closely to notice that the square was not a perfect square but is slightly askew. Even the way it was hung, to the right of the entrance in the corner (the place for …show more content…
Beyond these alterations to the painting, there is little to be said of it. This particular painting was not reacting to current events; it was not even true to the reality of the time as Rembrandt appeared younger in this painting than in other previous works. This is where the institution of art arises. In Walter Benjamin’s essay, The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction (1936), he discussed the reproducibility of the artworks that were being created in his time. Despite this being written years after Rembrandt’s time, he also alludes to how art by its nature of being man-made has always been reproducible by saying, “Replicas were made by pupils in practice of their craft, by masters for diffusing their works, and, finally, by third parties in the pursuit of gain.”3. Meaning, despite the level of detail placed into the work by Rembrandt, like the Black Square, Self at the Age of 63 could still be

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