CT&D #5. What is Art?

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“We all know that Art is not truth. Art is a lie that makes us realize truth.”

– Pablo Picasso 

Do you agree or disagree with this viewpoint, and why? 

Taking Picasso’s quote into consideration, I can immediately identify two opposing ideals that art tends to take on. On one hand, art is most definitely a lie but only in certain cases. Perhaps one major case I can recall from grade school is how art (way before the advent of photography) portrayed someone in a portrait. Because art before photography was, in strict sense: imperfect, the artist could draw/paint someone in either a view that is close to what the actual appearance of the person is or an exaggerated version.

The exaggerated version especially can be used more often in which the person being drawn/painted needs to have themselves look elegantly and/or beautifully presented, especially if that said person in real life wasn’t all that beautiful. So yes, in this case, art is a lie; even when applied to art regarding scenery, an artist can exaggerate the most ugly/out-of-touch/mundane details and ultimately turn the final art piece into something fabricated, even for vibrant appeal. The lecture material even adds to this by pointing out how Ruben’s painting depicts the same woman figure as Rembrant’s except Ruben’s highlights changes to alter the look of the woman for visual appeal.

On the other hand, I find that art is indeed truth. Just as there are artists that depict art as a “lie,” there are some artists that accurately depict art based on real-life events. In fact, as the textbook points out, there are 9 major themes of art; of those 9, I consider art depicting stories/histories, life and the human experience as the most truthful that art can visually show. Stories and histories in my opinion are essential to be told through imagery and by having such imagery in the form of photography or paintings to represent these ideals only serves to help the reader visualize the plot. The latter 2, life and the human experience, I admit can be exaggerated (especially with regards to propaganda) but I wouldn’t doubt that there are artists that strive to depict the truth of one’s life or life experience.

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