What does art do for individuals, either the artist him or herself, or for the viewer?
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"There is really no such things as Art. There are only artists."
This quote from the late art historian Ernst Gombrich is an appropriate opening not just to his seminal history of Art, but to any discussion about the role of Art in society and how to interpret it in all of its various manifestations. Whether one thinks a work of "art" is good or bad is, needless to say, entirely subjective. It follows, therefore, that how art impacts the individual is a product of whether the painting, sculpture, film, etc., appeals to the individual. Art has the power to entertain, to anger, to humor, to sadden, to confuse, in short, to evoke any possible human emotion. The artist can be tortured by his or her drive to create or to tell a story -- see, for example, van Gogh, or Francis Ford Coppola's emotionally tortuous process during the film of "Apocalypse Now" -- or can simply find the process of producing art relaxing or diverting.
While Vincent van Gogh's tormented existence is reflected in many of his paintings, one gets the idea that Monet endured no such mental anguish. One can only speculate about what was going on in the mind of Hieronymus Bosch, and this "educator" will forever be dumbfounded by the high regard with which the paintings of Jackson Pollock are viewed. In short, what the painting, music, film, or sculpture means to the individual is entirely a matter of whether it touches or emotionally affects the viewer, and everybody responds differently.
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