The Meaning of Art by Leo Tolstoy

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 What is Art? How would one even begin to answer that question? We’ve been around for thousands and thousands of years, yet as a race, we still struggle with understanding and explaining these abstract ideas such as, art, or beauty, or form. It takes some people like, Leo Tolstoy, decades upon decades grappling with these ideas before he could finally write his treatise on “What is Art?” in 1896. Philosophers sometimes get close with their theories but most of the time they could be missing one crucial element, their theory could be too broad, or it could be too vague, it could not apply to one style or another of art. 

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To Tolstoy, the intention of art isn’t merely to provide beauty, or to provide pride, or leisure. Art is a means of verbal exchange, and is an important approach of expression. Beauty cant be described objectively, and therefore cannot be used as a criterion to define what is, or what isn’t always, artwork. Art cannot be described as a interest which produces splendor. He criticizes the belief that art is simplest applicable to a particular elegance of society, pronouncing that this is a misconception that could cause obscurity and decadence of art. Tolstoy defines art as an expression of a sense or revel in one of these manners that can get the target to whom the art is directed at can proportion that feeling, regarding the characters and motive of art, describing how art can express ethical values. He also argues that if it isn’t admitted that art has to be intelligible and understandable, then any unintelligible to incomprehensible expression of mind or emotions may be known as “art.” If any incomprehensible form or personal expression can be called “art”, then the definition of art steadily loses its meaning. “good artwork” has a shape and content which can be solidarity with the thoughts and emotions which it evokes or represent. 

In assessment, “bad art” lacks spirit in form and content material with the ideas and feelings which it attempts to invoke or constitute. “bat art” is shallow, repetitious, crude, and clumsy. According to Tolstoy, sincerity is the most important quality of any work of art. The “biggest” feelings which artwork can also explicit are related to non-secular notion, Tolstoy claims that professionalism reasons a loss of sincerity inside the artist, and argues that is an artist have to earn a residing by way of generating art, then the art that is produced is much more likely to be fake and clumsy. Tolstoy additionally claims that interpretation or grievance of art is irrelevant and useless, because any appropriate work of artwork is capable of expressing thoughts and emotions which can be sincerely understood by using a large crowd of people.

Tolstoy argues that any clarification of such mind and emotions is superfluous, due to the fact artwork in the long run communicates feelings and experiences in a way which can’t be taught, to hat preparation inside the exercise of artwork can assist humans to speak their thoughts and emotions more into reality. He argues that to educate art is to break it spontaneity. To train artwork is to damage the uniqueness of the artist. Any try and educate artwork leads to an imitation of different artworks. Art is relevant to everything pf the human situation. Tolstoy does not outline art in phrases of its ability to explicit form and beauty, however as an alternative defines artwork in phrases of its ability to speak ideas of morality. 

For Tolstoy, aesthetic values are defined with the aid of moral values. Beauty cannot be described objectively, and consequently can’t be used as a criterion to define what is, or isn’t always artwork. The goal of art is not to simply provide splendor, or to offer pride, leisure, or entertainment. According to Tolstoy, artwork cannot be described as an activity which produces happiness. Art is a method of communication, and is an important methods of expression of any experience, or of any component of the human condition. Tolstoy defines art as an expression of a feeling or experience in one of these ways that the target market to whom the art is directed at can understand that feeling or enjoy it. Art does not belong to any particular part of society. 

Tolstoy criticized the notion that art is simplest relevant to a specific class of society, announcing that is a false impression which can cause obscurity and decadence in the art world. According to Tolstoy, properly drawn or painted art is intelligible and comprehensible. Art that isn’t properly drawn or painted is unintelligible and incomprehensible. The greater that artwork restricts itself to a particular audience, the more difficult it’s going to be to understand and incomprehensible to the people outside of that unique audience. Good art is not perplexing and incomprehensible to most people. To the opposite, the best artwork can speak its meaning to most human beings. Tolstoy believes that art is good if it’s judged to be proper by the majority of the people. He claims that a first-rate painting of artwork is only excellent if it can be understood by the masses. Therefore, artworks goal should try to be “universal”. Art is “universal” if it expressed thoughts and emotions which can be shared by human beings. According to Tolstoy, everybody can also revel in non-secular thoughts or emotions. Thus, art is “accepted” if it expressed religious feeling.

What Tolstoy thinks about art shows us how he truly thinks and feels about Christianity. Even though he thinks he’s attempting at defining art as a “universal” truth that seems like it can include everybody, it can seem elitist or down-right shallow to you if you are not a religious person. I don’t believe “There is no objective definition of beauty.” Because art and beauty are all about perspective, and the way you see it. No matter who you are or where you come from you will have a concrete definition on what you think beauty is, everyone is subject to this, even Leo Tolstoy. Tolstoy rejects many styles of art from what he considers to be “good” art, because he thinks “good” art should have some form of religious theme imbedded into it. Tolstoy makes the argument that for art to be considered good it has to be religious. He makes the assumption that spiritual art has to be the way he sees fit to his personal religious standpoint, and that there is only one true form of Christianity and that’s the way he sees it. He has some very well thought out ideas and points in “What Is Art?”, but I do think Tolstoy falls victim to his own perspective on trying to define beauty, and the arts instead of what beauty and the arts truly are.     

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