If we view art through Tolstoy’s framework, we see that there are many conscious feelings that arise when we look at artwork; this is especially seen when we observe the Hugh Hefner portrait. The viewer can see that Art Shay’s, the photographer of the Hugh Hefner portrait, intentions are to show Hugh Heffner in his element, surrounded by his work—i.e. women. When the viewer first examines this portrait before looking at the name, the male in the front is empowering and overshadows the women in the background. Tolstoy’s conscious framework allows the viewer to understand what they willfully feel when looking at a portrait. In this case, the viewer would see five different figur...
... middle of paper ...
...and feelings and revising it by saying that “art can express or convey ideas as well as feelings” (Freeland, 160). Langer’s argument that there is not a fine line between communicating emotion and ideas counteract Tolstoy’s and Freud’s claim that art expresses conscious and unconscious emotions.
As Tolstoy and Freud’s discussion with art communicating unconscious and conscious emotions and feelings, it is reasonable to suppose that a piece of artwork can be interpreted through feelings and emotions that the viewer or artist did not even know that they had. Nevertheless, as I have argued, we cannot stop art from expressing ideas to the viewer. Thus, Freud and Tolstoy’s description of the expressionist theory falls short of what the expressionist theory actually is—“feelings and emotions, or thoughts and ideas” (Freeland, 149) that the art communicates to the viewer.
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