Art Appreciation: Where Beauty Begins | Life & Arts
The art is difficult to understand, with many descriptions varying by period, expert interpretation, and social norms. The understanding of art was attributed to the ranks of the upper class. Throughout history, art and portrait commissions have been primarily available to the wealthy with limited access to the general public, and over time this practice has continued. Middle- and lower-class populations began to see art as a medium that stood out from those who were sufficiently sophisticated. The only difference between middle class and upper class is money, otherwise they are all human.
As previously mentioned, art is an experience that elicits a response, which can range from transcendental enlightenment to terrifying terror. Such reactions occur due to personal experiences, biases, beliefs and practices, each of which varies from person to person. No matter what artwork we will react to a work, but many of us won’t mention why. Although the understanding of art is subject to much critical analysis, contradiction and confusion, asking the simple question “Why?” is a step forward.
While personal perspectives are the dependent variable of an artistic experience, what is independent and will always be perceived are its characteristics, which include important characteristics such as: who or what is the subject? Who is in the scene? Is it historical or contemporary? Does he share a message? How is it presented? Even smaller but basic details add to the perception, like: What colors were used? How is the lighting used? How is the brush stroke used? What is the size of the room? Where, or how, is it shown?
Once we have questioned and identified these factors, we can ask the introspective questions of why it is beautiful, shameful, mocking, satirical, etc. the length and steps the artist took to convey such sentiment. And in such a performance of human emotion and connectedness, that’s where we find the beauty. As viewers, we have the task of filtering the piece through our emotions, then tweaking and refining that experience with the journey in understanding its reaction.
The most widely accepted and pleasing work of art which has become the adequate symbol of beauty is the work of Botticelli”The birth of Venus”, appealing to all the senses of beauty in human consciousness. The goddess of beauty and love emerges from the pristine nature, being presented in the vulnerability of the nude, presented with clothes and flowers by figures rushing to her side as if authority and power had been given since birth. Botticelli’s use of supple skin and delicate fabrics adds to the serenity of the piece. From its material to its theme, beauty is the pinnacle of the piece.
A much more complicated piece that contemplates beauty is that of Edward Okun”war and us», mixing aesthetics and vehemence in a homogeneous way. A frenzy of serpent-like beings colored vibrant blue and decorated with butterfly wings on their heads bite and thrash about in the turmoil around the centerpiece of the painting. Three human figures painted in dark, solid colors calmly cross the chaotic landscape. While the dynamism of the snakes draws the viewer’s attention a lot, the stark contrast caused by the central characters brings a sense of humility, hope and peace. We see that Okun wanted to achieve this level of contrast, and such oxymoronic elements elevate us to the feeling that Okun was aiming to achieve.
Such a view of art appreciation can work in other forms, such as photography, music, dance, food, fashion, and even furniture. The appreciation we give to these details in our daily lives can lift us into a much more attractive world.