The Theory of Art as Representation

“The theory of art as representation say we value art because it faithfully informs us but also because it does more than this it offers us insights and knowledge that are not factual or scientific; in a sense art informs us in a special way in a way that only art can.” Do you agree with this idea that art imparts special kinds of knowledge and understanding or imparts it in a unique sort of way? Give reasons and examples that support your answer.The Theory of Art as Representation suggests that we, human beings, value artwork for its abilities to faithfully inform us and impart knowledge to us; artwork does this through either representing or resembling (i.e. imitating reality). As it is artwork is an expression of human creativity and so therefore, under that assumption, it must convey said creativity to viewers unless it is not expressing the creativity of the human mind in an appropriate manner.

It is true though that some pieces of artwork are abstract and so their meanings are not always discernable but they still convey a level of creativity, information, to us through either the choice of the medium, the media used and even the colours chosen. Therefore, the concept of art is further strengthened when one can glean information from art; i.e.

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feelings, knowledge, innate understanding etc.Personally I find myself in agreement with this statement since, in my opinion, artwork must convey something to us for it to have some level of value placed upon it. Certain pieces of artwork impart upon us knowledge about things such as human experiences in regards to a particular thing; such as the song ‘Coming Home’ by The Soldiers. ‘Coming Home’ is an emotive song that is sung by actual soldiers about war, about the soldiers fighting and returning home; as a result of the lyrics in the song and the manner in which it is sung, it informs the listener of the experience of war and how it feels to return home, of what it feels like to want to be at home safe-and-sound with family and friends.Another good example of the manner in which art can inform us would be the sketch done by the famous Renaissance artist, mathematician and inventor Leonardo Da Vinci. The ‘Vitruvian Man’ is a proportionally accurate sketch of the male body and imparts upon us, the viewer, the fact that for over two thousand years humanity has been striving for perfection; from as far back as the Ancient Egyptians with their cures for baldness and ugliness to the modern era where we have plastic surgery.The Vitruvian Man then is illuminative of the natural human predisposition towards perfection; it imparts upon us the way in which the human mind is inherently wired to seek symmetry, order and organised perfection. It is far more effective than such things as extensive medical texts and psychology books can be due to the direct, visualisation of the interpretation of the human psyche.

It informs us in a visual and representative way that a body of text can’t; visual images (the drawing) are shapes that our minds recognise and remember, whereas text is a large amount that requires more of our memory to work thus making it harder to recall in detail. Visual explanations are better at conveying information, deeper truths also, and so art that informs us of something (like diagrams do) are more highly valued as a result.Saving Private Ryan is an example of how film can convey to us a deeper sense of purpose, the purpose that soldier’s on D-Day had as they stormed the beaches; the knowledge that against adversity their own mortality is put in question as they fight to rise up and conquer that which is trying to destroy their ‘free world’.

 The human experience which Saving Private Ryan implores us to see is the sad knowledge that some men are evil, that some people are murderous and greedy for power; the fact that mankind is flawed, not perfect, is illuminated as men are shot and blown apart by their fellow man.However, whilst this is imparted upon us, another type of human experience is also illuminated; that of heroes and selfless acts of bravery in an effort to uphold the rightful laws of equality. The men dying, getting shot on the beaches are men fighting for a cause which is fair and just; something that they all have a stake to and so have the right to defend.

Saving Private Ryan shows to us that, even when there is so much hurt, death and pain in the world, selfless, heroic and emotional acts can still be carried out by those who dare to fight against adversity.Essentially artwork imparts upon knowledge that is not entirely factual or scientific; the feelings that a song such as ‘Coming Home’ can instil in us is not logical and isn’t entirely understood in a scientific manner. Artwork is unique in the manner in which it teaches us emotional understanding, comprehension, of things we’ve never, personally, experienced before in our own lives but has been experienced by others who have shared their stories and memories with the rest of humanity in a bid to show the different aspects of life and humanity itself.Art is a product of human creativity, not logic nor thought-process, it is something that is inherently instinctual and must, to some degree at least, invoke an emotional response to the piece otherwise its purpose is merely to copy and imitate in a cold and emotionless way (acting, can’t relate to characters if they’re played wrong; i.

e. happy character played in a cold, stand-offish manner).