Art for the Sake of Art: The Artist
“The greatest tragedy in art is when theory outstrips performance.” This was once said by Leonardo da Vinci, a great philosopher, inventor, and artist, a hero among all timeline. How perfect this line is for the appreciation and the deciphering of art. It can be said either way; a tragedy when theory outstrips performance, likewise an equal tragedy when performance outstrips theory. The artist is key in the creation, thus the interpretation of art.
I have chosen the artist as the most important element in art for many reasons. The first of these is that the artist is the creator. Art is the developed seeds of the artists mind. It is ones theories and performances that allow the thought to be communicated. The artist uses art as a communication, to create a form that needs an appreciation and interpretation. Da Vinci was no fool to create the Mona Lisa to be an ambiguous image. Who knows why she is smiling, a subtle, perhaps seductive, mysterious smile? Mona is da Vinci’s creation: born from his paints, his hands, his being. With no artist, there would be no art; there would be no desire to interpret said art into whatever ambiguous meanings.
The artist creates to cause this desire of interpretation, his desire to communicate what he cannot say with words. A good artist has performance; a great artist performs off their desires and ideas. The artist can take the object as the focus of a piece and give it to the viewer as a new idea. Manipulation of the image and the power to make the viewer think and feel is the true power of the artist. Conjuring an image of the Nike of Somothrace statue from Hellenistic Greece brings up an image of power, victory, pure elegance. Her marble wings forever in flight and her dress still blowing in a fierce wind is an uplifting sight and creates meanings ambiguous; heaven, earth, power, humility. This is the power of the artist. It is their creation that can turn marble drapery into cloth that seems to really sweep in the wind and create feelings unimaginable through oral description.
Interpretation of art by the viewer is a key goal that the artist must keep. It is their ambition to create a piece that will have some appreciation by the viewer. That is the beauty of the artists work however. They should not work to a mold. The artist wants to create something memorable, something worth the appreciation. But their creation can fit into society, glorify the life of their time, or their art can be radical, causing disagreements and distress, a chaos organized by the artist. Whatever the artist can do to lead the audience to emotions about their creation is the key of their theory. The artist is dependent on the viewer to want an interpretation and appreciation of the art, likewise the viewer is dependent on the artist to get the art to interpret.
Appreciation and interpretation of art is rooted within the artist. It is within the artist’s desires, the artist’s goals; it is the artist. Without the necessity for art to be created for the viewer’s sake, there would be no art or artist. This all comes from the artist’s drive to create, to create an interpretive piece, and to empower the viewer to think. Pablo Picasso had said “Every child is an artist… the problem is to how to remain an artist once he grows up.” It is the artist’s ambitions and desires, and the reminiscence of the child mind to look at everything with importance that keeps them as an artist.