What Is Good Art

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September 3, 2010 ARTH 300 Good and Bad Art While many people disagree about the aspects of good versus bad art, famous art historians and critics agree that good art is classified very simply, if the viewer experiences a strong emotion, whether it is positive or negative, it can be considered good art. To really appreciate good art it should draw the viewer in. Art in and of itself is very subjective. People in today’s society are sometimes afraid to express their own opinion of good and bad art in fear of being criticized. The truth is that good merely means “I like” and bad means “I dislike. The art world requires the concepts of subjective good and bad, because that is what drives the desire for improvement and the hard work that goes into it. Without judgments, we would be surrounded by mediocrity,” writes artist Giff Constable. The definition of good or bad art has changed over the centuries. Imagine showing sixteenth century artists, the painting by Sarah Irani titled Mama and Babe. This painting would have appalled them with its grotesque lines and very unrealistic facial coloring, but in today’s society it can, and is, considered so bad it’s good. In earlier times when the mass majority of people could neither read nor write, art was used to document historical facts, occurrences, or to send an unwritten message. If we take a look at the painting of Queen Elizabeth I, titled Rainbow Portrait, the artist was subtly tying to send a message to the Queen. When looked upon by a casual viewer this portrait is very well done and quite beautiful, but to a trained eye a message is clearly visible. Often when we look at a piece of art, we associate it with the artist. For instance, when you look at the Mona Lisa most times you will think or say “that’s a Da Vinci,” because you subscribe to the adage that the artist and the work are one. We focus on the artist, the age of the painting and its value and often times stop there. Works of art completed by the masters are generally considered good because they are pleasing to the greater majority of viewers. Good art needs structure and all the other elements such as form, line, shape, color, texture and value. Form is the three-dimensional element of art that encloses volume. Line refers to the continuous mark made on some surface by a moving point. It may be two dimensional, like a pencil mark on a paper or it may be three dimensional or implied often it is an outline. Shape is an enclosed space defined by other elements of art. Shapes may take on the appearance of two or three-D objects. Color is an element of art with three properties, hue (the name of the color), intensity, or the purity and strength of the color such as the brightness or dullness.

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