Art, by Ralph Waldo Emerson Essay example

Art, by Ralph Waldo Emerson Essay example

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The concept with which Ralph Waldo Emerson’s “Art” deals is the recognition of beauty through art. Art is viewed through the course of the composition as both an expression of the human soul and as a language that speaks to all individuals, not just the rich or the privileged. To the individual, art is a means through which he/she can be inspired to create and, in turn, inspire others. What Emerson attempts to pontificate is the overarching idea that art conveys different meanings unto different individuals and serves as a tool for inspiration for the spirit. In delivering his viewpoints on the subject of art, Emerson remains consistent and flowing as he not only informs the reader about the subtleties of art, but also raises valid ideas about its perception and challenges the reader to question their own perception and value of the subject.
The definition of art varies from person to person, and there is no right or wrong answer when questioning what constitutes art. Emerson believes “the individual, in whom simple tastes and susceptibility to all the great human influences overpower the accidents of a local and special culture, is the best critic of art” (5). The individual cannot rely on word of mouth to receive an accurate idea of a painting because the message conveyed unto the masses may not necessarily be the identical message conveyed unto the individual. In order to receive a clear analysis, the individual must personally experience the painting and establish his/her own opinion. By this logic, the point of the critic is meaningless because he cannot accurately portray unto the listener the message of the painting, for he based his deduction on the personal emotions and thoughts provoked by the work of art. Through such ...


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...iewed art. The individual is removed from the comfort zone of relying on word of mouth and is challenged to think for themselves what truly deserves praise. By examining how they have viewed art in the past and applying the knowledge gleaned from the article to a reassessment of art, the person stands to benefit from the experience. In choosing to listen to their spirit and no one else, they experience genuine inspiration from a work of art, not counterfeit inspiration that results from word of mouth. In examining the simpler forms of art, that individual discovers beauty in areas once believed to be devoid of beauty and discovers nature is bursting with radiant beauty. Just as a fable can deliver a message as powerfully as an epic, so can a humble picture residing in an unassuming abode inspire the beholder as immensely as the lauded masterwork nesting in a mansion.

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Art, by Ralph Waldo Emerson Essay example

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