Generally speaking, there are five main functions of the visual arts: ceremonial, artistic expression, narrative, functional, and persuasive. To these can be added “beauty,” in effect, the desire of the artist to simply create something beautiful with little or no thought to any significance beyond that objective.
The ceremonial purpose of the visual arts is to celebrate or acknowledge an event or era, or to contribute to a ritualistic activity, such as a dance celebrating one of the season or a people’s flight from captivity or hunger. One of the more common forms of ceremonial art is quilting, in which the patterns employed have some symbolic importance, or the use of ceremonial garb by Native Americans participating in a Pow Wow.
Artistic expression refers to the desire or need on the part of the artist to express his or her emotions or feelings regarding a particular subject, including his- or herself. Many abstract artists, for example, Jackson Pollock and Mark...
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