Beauty Is Not Sufficient Qualification For Determining The Value Of Art Essay

Beauty Is Not Sufficient Qualification For Determining The Value Of Art Essay

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Beauty has long been an essential term in the conversation about art. In all artistic media, beauty is used as a qualification of value; a musical composition can be beautiful, as can a shot in a film or the draping of fabric in a garment. Kandinsky’s essay, Concerning the Spiritual in Art, is no exception when it comes to using beauty as a term to qualify the value of art. His essay focuses on visual art and the way that colors and forms interact with the human soul to evoke emotional responses. However, in the essay, Kandinsky utilizes beauty in multiple ways to argue numerous different and contrary points in his argument about what defines good art, leaving the reader confused as to whether beauty is a positive quality of art or a superficial characteristic which distracts from gleaning the true meaning of a piece. Beauty is not sufficient qualification for determining the worth of art, as Kandinsky makes clear by demonstrating that defining beauty is quite as difficult as defining art itself.

¶ 3Leave a comment on paragraph 30 Beauty is in general quite an ambiguous term; society uses beauty in multiple different contexts to convey a multitude of different subtleties as to what is beautiful. However, almost universally, beauty is a positive attribute, something to be proud of or to strive for. Kandinsky, however, says that “external beauty is one element of a spiritual atmosphere. But beyond this positive fact (that what is beautiful is good) it has the weakness of a talent not used to the full” (I.8 footnote). Kandinsky argues here that beauty, though it adds to the creation of an environment which is spiritual, is superficial. He later expounds upon this idea. Furthering the notion that beauty is but a superficial quality, ...


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...eader in as an essential quality of good art, he contradicts his initial statement that beauty is superficial, asserting that beauty is an expression of inner need and therefore essential to determining the value of a piece. To further complicate matters, Kandinsky uses both of these definitions of beauty within the same argument, leaving the reader to figure out whether art should be judged as good or bad on the basis of beauty. These inconsistencies demonstrates to the reader the complications that arise from relying on beauty as a qualifier for art. Beauty cannot be used to define the worth of a piece of art, therefore, unless a concrete definition is provided. Because of its prevalence in conversations about art, the time has arrived where a universal definition of beauty is essential. In reference to art, humanity must now either define beauty or cease to use it.

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