Arguments for and against the claim that art is valuable as it represents or informs us

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Art is valuable as it represents/informs FOR 1

1. PLATO's idea that art is imitation was tied to his theory of "the forms" (the heavenly realm of ideal versions of everything on earth). Art, on this view is imitating these imitations of "the forms" and so is connected to the eternal truth of the forms.

e.g. Rodin's "The Thinker" which represents/copies the ideal man. It reveals the nature of human beings as defined by rationality & shows a physical ideal of vitality & beauty.

2. Representation does not necessarily literally mean copying another object. It could instead mean representing an artist's vision.

e.g.Mark Rothko intended to absorb the viewer in an emotional state communicated by the colours in his paintings, which reflected Rothko's troubled life translated into an artistic vision.

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Art is valuable as it represents/informs FOR 2

3. The main purpose of some artworks is to convey a political message, these are largely valued for their ability to convey these messages in a poignant way.

e.g. Picasso's "Guernica", a bold statement of principle against the Nazi attack during the Spanish civil war. Not knowing this painting's context would make it difficult to understand its point.

4. Often we judge art in terms of its authenticity or ability to faithfully represent something, thereby informing us of a character or situation.

e.g. method actors who go to great lengths to analyze their characters in order to personify them with physcological realism & emotional authenticity, e.g. De Nero as Jake Lamotta in Raging Bull.

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Art is valuable as it represents/informs AGAINST 1

1. Art does not simply "copy" things /some art represents nothing.

e.g. Rembrandt's self-portraits are not simply faithful copies of his physical features, they reveal something about his character.OR this would make photography the most valuable artform. Forgeries would be equally as valuable as original art works.

e.g. Jackson Pollock's abrast paintings. His artwork is often valued for the emotions it generates in the observer, regardless of whether it represents anything.

2. Art can become less valuable if used purely to conve information/represent something. Art should be intrinsically valuable, not instrumentally.

e.g. socialist realism art that glorified Stalin in the USSR became less valuable for conveying the info it did.

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Art is valuable as it represents/informs AGAINST 2

3. Some art is created simply with the purpose of of being pleasing to the eye or ear.

e.g. Kandinsky's paintings were well proportioned and did not aim to convey information or represent objects. OR we might be able to enjoy a song purely for its melody without looking for meaning in it.

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