The practice of creating artistic works is something that is as old as the human species. Historically, different societies had their own ways of defining art, because of the significance that societies placed on artistic works. Although such traditional definitions are still appreciated in some contemporary societies, the birth of modernism has revolutionized most historical definitions, to include institutional and relational properties of art.
One common thing with traditional and conventional definitions of arts is that, these definitions share some common concepts of human agency, which are in form of manual handiness, intellectual manipulation, and expression of ideas, aimed at communicating certain concepts of the human culture. As a result of the failure to blend all this aspects of art, most individuals have a tendency of confusing visual culture, craft, and art.
Although anything constructed skillfully with a symbolic significance and which can have some effect on people’s emotions and mental power can be termed as art, such a definition of art will be lacking, as it will not have appreciated the relevance of the artistic skill itself. Therefore, art is a symbolic expression of an individual’s ideas using certain elements of art to create objects or images that are meant to arouse people’s emotions and express ideas, for purposes of communicating certain messages.
For a piece of work to be called an art, it has to be an outcome of a conscious intention or self-rewarding activity, which unites things that are not similar to convey certain messages or evoke specific feelings in people. Art goes beyond reasoning, because it is a magnificent expression of certain ideas in a form that goes beyond the realm of such ideas. In addition, to a large extent art tends to appreciate the formal elements of an individual’s emotions.
Therefore, for individuals to be able to create some pieces of art, they have to have such ideas in their mind in form of mental images; hence, visible works of art are just a depiction of the mental images and ideas held by individuals. Secondly, for a piece of work to be called an art, it has to have form and content.
Form primarily includes all elements of art and principles of design. Primary elements of art include texture, line, shape, form, space, color, and value. In any artistic work, these elements have to be blended properly by using certain set principles of design. Such blending of these elements is important in artistic works, because it provides a way of interpreting and understanding different works of art.
It is important for individuals to note that, art is susceptible to diverse interpretations, because of the fact that art tends to encourage visceral rather than rational understanding. This like a scenario arises due to the fact that, one does not require some special interpreting powers to be able to understand any piece of art, but rather the ability to interpret art depends on the emotional connection that an individual from with a piece of art.
Any artistic work must also create a certain emotional and philosophical link between its creator and audience. For any piece of work to achieve this it must embrace two main concepts genuineness and clearness, as these are two of the primary properties that qualify any piece of work as an art.
Clearness and genuineness also make art to have the power of connecting people, as it helps to communicate certain emotions or ideas. Further, to be able to act as a communication tool, art has to be able to use creative skill to formulate works which have symbolic meaning. The interpretation of this meaning will depend on the products of such creative works, them being the primary determinant of the nature of emotions a work of art will excite in its viewers.
One of the artistic works that fits in this definition of art is Francisco De Goya’s “The shooting of May Third, 1808. Goya has blended different elements of art, which include color, value, line, and space to excite different feelings in the viewers of the picture. In addition, Goya has also used different principles of design, which include balance, contrast, and proportion, features which are important in helping the viewers of the picture to visualize how the shooting scenario was.
In addition to this, because the shooting was a real historical event, through looking at the picture, viewers are able to form a connection with what happened, because of the painful, resentment, and grief feelings that the picture excites in its viewers.
On the other hand, this picture is also a representation of the creativity of Goya, because through visualizing how the shootings took place, he was able to paint a pictorial representation of this historical occurrence; hence, proving the fact that, art is a product of visual images and representations in an artist’s mind.
In conclusion, art is primarily the outcome of the human drive to express mental images and representations meant to create an expressive exchange between artists and audiences. To achieve this, artists must use different elements and designs to represent mental images and expressions. As a result of the symbolism represented in artistic works, art is a mental stimulator, as it excites different emotions that are the basis of any form of interpretation given to any artistic work.