Revolutionary Work of Art Essay examples

Revolutionary Work of Art Essay examples

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Walter Benjamin emphasizes in his essay, “The Work of Art in the Age of its Technological Reproducibility” that technology used to make an artwork has changed the way it was received, and its “aura”. Aura represents the originality and authenticity of a work of art that has not been reproduced. The Sistine Chapel in the Vatican is an example of a work that has been and truly a beacon of art. It has brought a benefit and enlightenment to the art of painting, and it has an exemplary aura that cannot be replaced. A picture taken of the Sistine Chapel is just an imaged “captured”, while the painting is still original, because it is not movable, and its cult value is still intact. He asserts that the origin of an artwork gave its aura and authenticity and since it is not moveable, it does not have the ability to be reproduced by other artists. Therefore, the aura and authenticity is autocratic. For instance, the Sistine Chapel is owned and controlled by the Vatican—Catholic Cardinals. They control its usage to the masses. Once art becomes available to the masses, it becomes in a way ‘successful.’ In addition, he calls to attention that the forces of commercialization have subjected the aura of an artwork to cheapening cult value, which is a positive outcome for the masses.
Benjamin does not really find the work of art lamentable, but rather elevated. Replicating an art substitutes a mass existence for a distinctive existence, hence, the reproduction of art, once permitted, brings art closer to the masses (Benjamin 1054). As time gradually changes from its traditional past, to the present “renewal of humanity” (1054), so does the perception of the masses and its movement. I would argue that the development of technological reproduct...


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In final analysis, Benjamin argues that the loss of aura through technological reproducibility and capitalism is a positive thing as time progresses. The loss of authenticity might be a way of making people free and create new access for art to expand its knowledge. Cinema, which could be a radical new art form, can provide the masses with an unchanged picture of reality, while benefiting from the effects of technology. As technology is progressing, the artistic movement is also progressing and so is the way masses receive information from the film while they evaluate it as art.







Works Cited

Benjamin, Walter. "The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction,"
Benjamin, Walter. "The Work of Art in the Age of Its Technological Reproducibility." The Norton Anthology of Theory and Criticism. 2nd ed. New York: W.W. Norton &, 2010. 1051-1071

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