Do you remember the saying art for art’s sake”? Perhaps many do, but do you understand the meaning behind it and why it was so popular? This intriguing question had me thinking also so I decided to do some research as I thought it would make an interesting article for art lovers everywhere and hope you agree.
The philosopher Victor Cousin, a Frenchman living in the 19th century, is generally credited with the saying in French, l’art pour l’art, which express the belief held by many writers and artist associated with Aestheticism that art never needs any justification, either ethically, politically, or socially for what it is. In other words, it is what it is, the end of the story.
So, what is the purpose of art then, you might ask? This is answered eloquently inside this message as there does not have to be a message or purpose. As such, why do we love art and support it as we do? What is it that excites us and draws us into the world of the artist? Why does an artist have so much control over us that we willingly pay massive amounts of money for their work if it is just art?
Truly spectacular art has one gift that can not be defined in many aspects, as it is not about the artist, but instead, it is all about the beholder of the art, an individual person that has no boundaries or limitations, or even expectations of any kind who can interpret it as they feel fit without any critiquing or judgment imposed upon them.
With that said art is also a universal language that is shared by the emotions and evaluations of art in and of itself. Attempting to understand the passion, the love, or anger brought to life by an art piece is a challenge to be sure, and why I have stepped into this review of a famous saying.
Understanding art of art for art’s sake, is an attempt to understand what justifies the unexplainable or at least something that needs no justification. If the skill and justification of the artist’s work are not to be questioned, then why so much time spent attempting to do so? Why support an artist if there is no justification or critique of the artist’s work?
Yes, so many questions, but then again, in reality, that is what an artist perhaps is very much attempting in their work, raising questions, and not accepting the world as it appears.
Thus, the art of enjoying art is as simple or as complicated as you wish, and thus an individual thing. Supporting artists to be free to create such works is what allows the questions to happen, and questions are what move us humans along to better and better lives.
As a fine art photographer, it keeps me traveling the globe as an international nomad with a thirst to capture special moments in time that you can interrupt in your own way and enjoy on your walls forever. Support is a great feeling, especially when you understand the true meaning of art for art’s sake.
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