Arts Everyday Living: Escape from Social Isolation—What Do You Think Art Is?

Reposting a blog on WHAT IS ART? based on the contributions of art group at community center.


To the participants of my series ART CIRCLES that met for the first time on Tuesday….

Many thanks for your insightful ideas and thoughts on the always provocative question What is Art?  The following is a summary based on my rather cursory blackboard notes. So my apologies and I welcome your corrections/additions during our next session. I also know I omitted several comments. (If anyone would like to take supplemental notes during class I’d always appreciate it.)

And I look forward to your choices of landscape artists next week!

Art…whatever a person thinks it is ………

Wassily Kandinsky, Several Circles, 1926, oil on canvas, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, New York


Art is visually pleasing.

Art should be accessible.  There is a need to understand it.

Johannes Vermeer, Girl with a Pearl Earring, c. 1665, oil on canvas, Mauritshuis, The Hague, Netherlands


There should be an emotional connection to Art.

Edvard Munch, The Sceam, 1893, oil, tempera, pastel, and crayon on cardboard, National Gallery, Oslo, Norway


Art is seeing creatively.

After looking at an Impressionist painting, nature is revealed in a new way to you—the play and movement of light on the leaves of a tree, the vivid colors. the patterns……

Claude Monet, Woman in the Garden at St. Adresse, 1867, oil on canvas, Hermitage Museum of Art, St. Petersburg, Russia


Art is seeing beyond……

Caspar David Friedrich, The Wanderer Above the Sea of Fog, 1818, oil on canvas, Kunsthalle, Hamburg, Germany


Art is communicating the vision of the artist and opening the world up to the viewer.

Odilon Redon, Bouquet of Flowers, c. 1900-1905, pastel on paper, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, New York


Art depends on our perception–everyone has a different perception of life.

Leonardo da Vinci, Mona Lisa, c. 1503-1517, oil on poplar panel, Musee du Louvre, Paris, France


The artist makes you see better—-color, light, texture, motion….

William Hogarth, Self-Portrait, c. 1757, oil on canvas, National Portrait Gallery, London, UK


Art does not just appeal to the visual, but appeals to other senses as well including taste and smell.

Joaquin Sorolla, Italian Girl with Flowers, 1886, oil on canvas, Private Collection


Art reveals the history of cultures and of the past….the social context.

Sandro Botticelli, Primavera, late 1470s or early 1480s, tempera on panel, Uffizi Gallery, Florence, Italy


Art is memory….and its connection to the emotional impact of a visual image.

Vincent van Gogh, Starry Night, 1889, oil on canvas, Museum of Modern Art, New York, New York


Art is propaganda.

Jacques-Louis David, The Emperor Napoleon in his Study at Tuileries, 1812, oil on canvas, National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.

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