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Theories of Aesthetics

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Heidi Israelsen

on 30 September 2013

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Transcript of Theories of Aesthetics

Essentialist Theories of Aesthetics
Theories of Aesthetics
'Essentialism' is the idea that any piece of artwork has a certain quality to it, or an essence that exists. It is by this very essence - or by having these certain qualities - that something can be called Art. On the other hand, if something does not have these qualities, then it is not Art.
Representation
The idea that good art should portray its subject as realistically as possible. An artwork is considered successful if it looks like and imitates nature and what is seen in the real world.
Expressionism
Good art should express the inner feelings, attitudes, desires and mental state of the artist. An artwork is considered successful if it clearly shows the emotion of the artist.
Instrumentalism
Good art should be useful and should help shed light on our life experiences and social issues. An artwork is successful if it becomes a means to an end, making the viewer comprehend an issue, reflect on their life, take a stand or take action.
Essentialist Theories:
Good art should utilize the formal principles and elements of Art in its composition. An artwork is considered successful if it effectively makes use of color, line, shape, texture, pattern, rhythm, etc. to be appealing to the eye.
Formalism
Communication of Moral & Religious Ideas:
Good art should promote moral or religious messages, a sense of what is right and wrong, what is ideal, or what 'ought to be.' An artwork is successful if it communicates a clear message to the viewer and instills in them the intended underlying values.
Institutionalism
Good art does not need to follow any prescribed rules or set of guidelines, but merely needs to be defined as 'Art' by a person or institution with authority, such as a scholar, critic, expert, artist or museum. If the artist says its art, or if a museum displays it... then it's Art. An artwork is successful if it is displayed, exhibited, talked about, written about or made mention of. This theory can encompass a lot of Conceptual or Installation Art.
Source Material: "What is Art?" - Modern Art Theories for Introducing Aesthetics to Students by: Becca Swanson
http://voices.yahoo.com/what-art-modern-art-theories-introducing-aesthetics-5495015.html
Käthe Kollwitz, Woman with Dead Child, 1903 etching
Edvard Munch, The Scream, 1893
Morris Louis
http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/8/87/Jean-Fran%C3%A7ois_Millet_-_Gleaners_-_Google_Art_Project.jpg
Jean-François Millet, The Gleaners, 1857
http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/8/87/Jean-Fran%C3%A7ois_Millet_-_Gleaners_-_Google_Art_Project.jpg
Jean-François Millet, The Gleaners, 1857
http://www.oneonta.edu/faculty/farberas/arth/images/109images/roman/republican/head.jpg
Head of Roman Patrician
80 BC
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