Aa Theory By Clive Bell Essay

Aa Theory By Clive Bell Essay

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AA theory by Clive Bell suggests the pinpoints the exact characteristic which makes a work true art. According to Bell, an artwork must produce “aesthetic emotion” (365). This aesthetic emotion is drawn from the form and formality of an artwork rather than whether or not it is aesthetically pleasing or how well it imitates what it is trying to depict. The relation of objects to each other, the colors used, and the qualities of the lines are seemingly more important than what emotion or idea the artwork is trying to provoke. Regardless of whether or not the artwork is a true imitation of certain emotions, ideals, or images, it cannot be true art unless it conjures this aesthetic emotion related to formality (367).
Of course, this argument cannot be held to all art. If that were the case, then a majority of artwork would be then considered worthless. Bell’s principle of aesthetic emotion is far too specific to define such a wide array of visual art. Not to mention, everyone’s interpretation of what art is also varies greatly. Even the most competent of art critics cannot define what makes an artwork art, so why should such a narrow and limited definition be applied to all works of art? I wholeheartedly disagree with Bell’s philosophy that the only concept making artwork true and successful is the addition of an aesthetic emotion, which is subject to argument whether or not an aesthetic emotion even exists. Yes, while all art does contain form and function, these are merely ways to communicate the message of the artwork.
With regards to representation in artwork, Bell claims the artist who creates representation art is a failure. It is a sign of weakness in that the painter is “too feeble to create forms that provoke more than a l...


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...o provoke emotions within the viewer. Audiences unable to recognize significant form will in no way feel lost, their subjective interpretation of the art itself will lead them.
With great emphasis on significant form, Clive Bell states that significant form drawing an “aesthetic emotion” is present in all works of art, and without this, a work cannot become true art. However, this can easily be argued when taken into consideration the subjective views of audiences. Art relies on the emotions it provokes and the imitations and messages it communicates. Art cannot solely rely on the basis of significant form, significant form is merely a way of communicating the messages art is meant to convey. Bell’s theory of defining art is a close-minded and narrow definition with little consideration towards subjective interpretation, which, I argue, is the entire point of art.

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