What is the purpose of art?

post que sentido tiene el arte

Art has always been a form of human communication and expression that goes beyond mere aesthetics

The function of art throughout history

The first artistic manifestations had the objective of communicating the rituals and beliefs of primitive societies, always surrounded by mysticism and magic. However, over time, its purpose expanded to include a propagandistic value. During the following civilizations, rulers used art as a tool to demonstrate their greatness, power, and the immutability of their status. The political message was clear: the power system came from the gods and could not be changed under any circumstances.

pinturas rupestres en las paredes de una caverna

From the Middle Ages onwards, artistic production fell mostly under the Church’s control. It became a tool to teach the illiterate population biblical stories and Christian virtues, always from a perspective of social control and subjugation.

frescos turcos bautismo de cristo

In the Renaissance, in addition to its religious and didactical function, art takes on a more profane and aesthetic character, becoming a way to exalt the beauty of nature and the perfection of the human being. The nobility also uses artistic works to proclaim their material wealth and status.

Artistic creation throughout history has had as its main objective to represent reality, transmitting religious, political, social, and/or didactic messages.

ilustración cientifica de Leonardo Da Vinci

In the 18th century, with the arrival of the Enlightenment movement, art became a means of expression for political and social revolution. It questioned the established order prevailing until then and promoted ideas of freedom, equality, and fraternity. It also transformed, with the arrival of Romanticism, into a resource to express individuality through originality and nature.

el columpio de Fragonard

With the advent of photography in 1830, the function of art changed radically. Photography, being able to capture reality objectively, meant that art no longer needed to represent reality as it is. In this way, it moves away from its mimetic function and begins to explore new expressive possibilities, such as abstraction, symbolism, and surrealism.

Photography also had a direct impact on the procedure with which artistic works were produced. Until then, creations had been produced by a few artists and craftsmen who had the necessary knowledge and skills. With photography, artistic production democratized, allowing anyone to capture an image and reproduce it en masse.

pop art

With the advent of photography, the way in which art is produced and perceived changes, allowing it to move away from figurative references.

The functions of art today

Like in the past, one of the most important functions is still to transmit a message. Art is an indispensable communicative channel in the construction of the cultural identity of a society, its values, and beliefs. It continues to be a mechanism for social and political criticism and reflection on the world in which we live. Many artists use their work to denounce injustices, promote change, and make us think about the reality that surrounds us.

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Art also fulfills other functions such as the economic, educational, or therapeutic. Works can become interesting investments and a business for galleries, museums, and art fairs, turning some artists into powerful commercial brands. Or it can be a form of emotional release and serve as therapy to treat certain disorders; or help us enhance our creative side to solve other types of problems in life, as artistic creation is a form of learning. Or why not, simply bring beauty and decoration to our homes…

Art is a necessary communication tool for reflection and critical thinking, for the exploration of new ideas and concepts.

What does art mean to me?

Art for me is emotion and feeling and is part of who I am. It arises from an intrinsic need to communicate what is inside you, to transmit sensations, moments, and fragments of your person to an inanimate object like an artwork and generate a conversation with the viewer…to thrill him in some way, even if the message sent and received do not always coincide.

I think it is a way of interpreting reality, of presenting it from individual and concrete perspectives to enrich our common culture. And although the artistic creation belongs to its author, who gives it shape and meaning, in the end it becomes an independent piece and manages to convey its own message that transcends beyond the artist’s vision.

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