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What is Art Malraux

:Philosophy of Art
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What is Art?
The philosophy of art seeks to answer this very interesting and complex question, considering the definitions of beauty, taste, symbolism and representation and exploring the relationship between the individual artist and the audience or culture or even cosmos.

Our ideas of art have changed over the centuries. The traditional definition says that art is a creative expression of humans, and that can hardly be argued. Another definition offered by Leo Tolstoy would perhaps have been most precise: Art is that human activity of one human consciously conveying to others, by certain external signs, the feelings he has experienced, and of others being affected by those feelings and also experiencing them.

Art is a symbolic representation of our interaction with Nature (Reality, Environment). Art can show the hidden connection between things. Art is Beauty. Art is Truth. Art can be founded on profound truths that express the wonder and beauty of our relationship to the universe. The Postmodern belief in no absolute truth (truth is evolving / relative to the individual and to the current modern age in which one lives) has significantly affected modern Art over the past century.

Here we would like to be reminded of what some of the greatest minds of all time wrote about art:

Leonardo da Vinci - The painter's mind is a copy of the divine mind... Where the spirit does not work with the hand there is no art. ... Although nature commences with reason and ends in experience it is necessary for us to do the opposite that is to commence with experience and from this to proceed to investigate the reason.

Michelangelo - True art is made noble and religious by the mind producing it. ... The true work of art is but a shadow of the divine perfection. ... A man paints with his brains and not with his hands.

Rembrandt - Painting is the grandchild of nature. It is related to God. ... Choose only one master – Nature.

Francisco de Goya - Fantasy, abandoned by reason, produces impossible monsters; united with it, she is the mother of the arts and the origin of marvels.

Renoir - The work of art must seize upon you, wrap you up in itself and carry you away. It is the means by which the artist conveys his passion. ... The pain passes, the beauty remains. ... There is the falsely mystical view of art that assumes a kind of supernatural inspiration, a possession by universal forces unrelated to questions of power and privilege or the artist's relation to bread and blood. In this view, the channel of art can only become clogged and misdirected by the artist's concern with merely temporary and local disturbances. The song is higher than the struggle.

Vincent Van Gogh - It is not the language of painters but the language of nature which one should listen to, the feeling for the things themselves, for reality, is more important than the feeling for pictures. ... I certainly hope to sell in the course of time, but I think I shall be able to influence it most effectively by working steadily on, and that at the present moment making desperate efforts to force the work I am doing now upon the public would be pretty useless. ... I tell you, the more I think, the more I feel that there is nothing more truly artistic than to love people. ... The only time I feel alive is when I'm painting. ... Still, there is a calm, pure harmony, and music inside of me. ... Great things are not done by impulse, but by a series of small things brought together.

Henri Matisse - An artist must possess Nature. He must identify himself with her rhythm, by efforts that will prepare the mastery which will later enable him to express himself in his own language. ... Creativity takes courage. ... When we speak of Nature it is wrong to forget that we are ourselves a part of Nature. We ought to view ourselves with the same curiosity and openness with which we study a tree, the sky or a thought, because we too are linked to the entire universe. ... The effort to see things without distortion takes something like courage and this courage is essential to the artist, who has to look at everything as though he saw it for the first time.

Pablo Picasso - Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up. ... The artist is a receptacle for the emotions that come from all over the place: from the sky, from the earth, from a scrap of paper, from a passing shape, from a spider's web. ... The purpose of art is washing the dust of daily life off our souls. ... We all know that art is not truth. Art is a lie that makes us realize the truth. ... From the moment that art ceases to be food that feeds the best minds, the artist can use his talents to perform all the tricks of the intellectual charlatan. Most people can today no longer expect to receive consolation and exaltation from art. The 'refined,' the rich, the professional 'do-nothings', the distillers of quintessence desire only the peculiar, the sensational, the eccentric, the scandalous in today's art. I myself, since the advent of Cubism, have fed these fellows what they wanted and satisfied these critics with all the ridiculous ideas that have passed through my mind. The less they understood them, the more they admired me. Through amusing myself with all these absurd farces, I became celebrated, and very rapidly. For a painter, celebrity means sales and consequent affluence. Today, as you know, I am celebrated, I am rich. But when I am alone, I do not have the effrontery to consider myself an artist at all, not in the grand old meaning of the word: Giotto, Titian, Rembrandt, Goya were great painters. I am only a public clown - a mountebank. I have understood my time and have exploited the imbecility, the vanity, the greed of my contemporaries. It is a bitter confession, this confession of mine, more painful than it may seem. But at least and at last it does have the merit of being honest.

Jackson Pollock - Every good painter paints what he is.

Brett Whiteley - The fine art of painting, which is the bastard of alchemy, always has been always will be, a game. The rules of the game are quite simple: in a given arena, on as many psychic fronts as the talent allows, one must visually describe, the centre of the meaning of existence.

Albert Einstein - In my view, it is the most important function of art and science to awaken this religious feeling and keep it alive in those who are receptive to it.

William Faulkner
- The aim of every artist is to arrest motion, which is life, by artificial means and hold it fixed so that a hundred years later, when a stranger looks at it, it moves again since it is life.

John Updike - What art offers is space, a certain breathing room for the spirit.

Marcel Proust - Art is a selective re-creation of reality according to an artist's metaphysical value-judgments. An artist recreates those aspects of reality which represent his fundamental view of man's nature.

What do you think?