ARTICLE ON IMITATIVE ARTS PARTS II

by Mark Abraham

In the article on rhythmic Arts it was argued that a huge volume of art appeals to us because of its rhythm. This satisfies the instinct of rhythm and we experience the process as pleasure and enjoy it as art. Then, we also have Abstract Art and Imitative Art.

In Imitative Art artists paint pictures or make sculptures of real objects. In doing so they are just imitating that which already exists. When you write a story, you are imitating events that have emerged from humans’ interactions in real life. When an actor is acting, he or she is playing the role of a real person or is playing the character the writer created imitating real life. In all cases, these are artistic imitations and replications of real life or real objects most deserving of the title, Imitative Arts.
If you apply your imagination further, then you might write science fiction, or fix a horn on the forehead of a horse and call it a unicorn, or fuse the head of an eagle with a human body. These ideas stem from a combination of rich imagination of the artist and utter self-confidence by the artist who creates distorted versions of real objects.

A rational explanation of why Imitative Art appeals to humans through reasoning proves difficult indeed. For example, there exists 7,000,000,000 humans of all races, shapes, young and old, beautiful and otherwise, all in their perfect natural states. Yet all people try to escape the crowd when they can. Then, why do artists artificially duplicate their portrait or make sculpture in human images, and people purchase them to decorate their homes with the pictures of Mona Lisa or Baldassare Castiglione painted by Da Vinci and Raphael?

People associate art with beauty, but how do we define beauty? Understanding one becomes contingent on understanding the other. Yet regardless of how we define beauty, what beauty can one find in this painting by Andrea Solario, 1510-1525, of Salome with the head of St. John the Babtist freshly severed with blood still dripping from it? This is a distinguished piece of art in a major museum. This is not to defy the beauty in any of these bove-mentioned pictures, but it is to demonstrate that our conventional perception of art will permanently conceal the mystery of humans’ love of Rhythmic Arts and Imitative Arts. The only way to properly understand art seems to be possible through understanding what in the mind longs for art and there we identify the beauty in art and humans’ attraction to it.

It seems as if what interests the artists to do this is the challenge of achieving perfection and excellence in replicating the real objects. All instincts pursue their desired satisfaction repeatedly and endlessly such as sex, greed, dominating one another, curiosity and adventure by those who are strongly driven by such instincts. However, in contrast, human intellect longs for perfection and excellence in everything humans deal with. The extent to which artists achieve excellence in artistic imitation pleases this attribute of human intellect and their creations appeal to us as art. Therefore, it is not necessarily the beauty of the object presented in the art, but how beautifully it represents the reality defining the artistic value in all imitative arts. If it were otherwise, all painters would exclusively paint the most beautiful things such as flowers, beautiful women and men, musical instruments, nature and so on.

 

© Copyrights 2012-13 Mark Abraham

 

 

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