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Why do we appreciate art?

We enjoy art. We try to produce art. We collect art. We admire those who create art. What is it that makes us so drawn to art?

Art welcomes us a to new realm full of new ideas, new concepts, new ideologies, new possibilities. We suddenly find ourselves in the inner world of a fellow human being. All humanity sharing a common thread, we identify ourselves with the artist. A soft voice whispers inside us “Ah, that is so true”. “Uncannily apt”. And we realise we are not alone in how we perceive, how we interpret and how we feel. An exquisite piece of art often symbolies that which is universal, yet so rare; ideas we all know, but never realised. It delves into our subconscious and brings up details that were till now collectively unknown to the human consciousness.

Every human being interprets art in his own way, adding his own unique flavour to his interpretation. There are no contenders to art when it comes to her ability to make us realise our uniqueness while still retaining our identity with a universal whole. While enjoying an artwork, we lose ourselves in a tiny self created world, where there is just us and the work before us.

A true piece of art lets us forget our emotional baggages, our weariness from life’s journeys and lets us pry ourselves away from the commonalities of everyday life. We feel emotionally distanced, spiritually charged and physically rejuvenated. When we gaze at a wondrous painting or listen to a beautiful composition or lose ourselves in the rhythm of a dazzling dance, we feel truly lost, yet fully aware.

Every artpiece is incomplete in itself. When we enjoy art, we extend it. We improve it. And we make it our own. There is only so much an artist can do. Art attains its eternal nirvana only when an onlooker enjoys it as much as the artist did and actualizes that which the artist intended. It is akin to running the last lap of a relay race for a winning team. The farther behind we were when the baton was passed to us, the more satisfied we are with our own splendid final role. A good artist passes the baton way ahead, letting us run the race to the finish line alone.

Art is a celebration of human achievements – a proclamation that we managed to go beyond fulfilling just our basic primal needs. It is to us a luxury that is a reward for the many strides that humanity has made. It is the golden star that makes us unique from other fellow beings and lends us an air of superiority.

And finally art is captivating because of its mysterious allure. Like a little girl playing hide and seek with her boisterous brothers, art refuses to give in to definition, to reason, to restraint or to direction. Art gives us the roads, yet not the map. As the bewitching seductress toys with us, her subjects, we follow her blindly and blissfully into the unknown.

We admire art, yet we may never know why.

Posted in Musings on February 22, 2005

17 Responses

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  1. deer says

    good article!

  2. asli says

    Recently i was writing essays about why should students learn art and music . This article really inspire me! Thanks.

  3. chuck r says

    couldnt agree more.

  4. natalee jackson says

    i have always tried to understand how people interpret art and what makes a good or bad work of art. some things i see i have a hard time finding an appeal for it. i also don’t understand how someone would give an interpretation that others can agree with.

  5. whats it to ya says

    pretty awesome-i found it very helpful in writing an essay for my english class on appreciating art! :)

  6. Christine Bielecki says

    I like the image that “art gives us the roads, yet not the map.” When looking at a painting, I like to get lost in its beauty just like driving on an unfamiliar country road. You never know where it will take you.

  7. Emily Wedin says

    I have felt that stir, being drawn to a particular piece that makes me quickly turn my head and stare, re-focus all of my attention, although I confess as to not at this point being able to say WHY some things ring so true to me.

  8. Penny Gartland says

    I agree that we go through life not appreciating things around us because we are creatures of habit. Art is all around us, just waiting for us to enjoy and captivate us if we would just stop for a moment and look.

  9. Angel Taylor says

    I feel art is a beautiful thing. Alot of people don’t appreciate art for what it is. I agree that art is all around us, the artist brings it to life for us.

  10. Christina says

    That is a very good article, very much true. Art intrigues me, I live in such a shallow environment and I search for more. Yet I doubt myself, doubt that I will be able to capture and appreciate such beauty, and fear that I will live life without realising anything but that which people tell me. I am going to try to immerse myself in art, visit local museums. If it doesn’t capture my interest, I could always blame it on my age, I’m barely 15. I do appreciate music and photography very much.

  11. Patrick Mwangi says

    This site is awesome coz as an artist I feel that I am obliged to make people realize the importance of art around us. But then we also need to get in to the field and see why people don’t appreciate art! We need to get to know the hinderances that propel people into hating or not promoting art!

  12. malou says

    this article is art itself … very nicely written … kudos to the author

  13. torquemada says

    does someone know the author of this article …. who is?

  14. julie C says

    I m glad I found & read this article….appreciate every word written . I love arts & frequent arts museum ….spending many quiet moment gazing at all the awesome
    creation…..but I realized that many people do not but hope to learn to appreciate art…can anyone suggest how we can help them to view a piece of art & hence develope interest in arts. I aim to create a method & use social media to promote the idea.

  15. dom says

    i love this article. more! write more!

  16. Ash says

    Lovely way to describe art. Art is everything as you say. You have very beautifully mentioned of how the audience is very much a part of the art that is created. And every artwork is essentially a confluence of thoughts between the artist and viewer !

  17. Alpha says

    its a very touching article.

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