Art Appreciation: An Artist’s Perspective
What makes it art for me cannot be summed up within only a few words. Art to me is in everything. Art suggests the beauty in the souls of all mankind. It takes people away from the difficulties in life. Some People do not appreciate art in the ways our ancestors did. God painted a canvas in this world that very few appreciate. It is in the birds flying through the trees and the whisper of the winds as they stream throughout these halls as the doors are opened. It is in the fresh cut grass and the insects that frolic within it. It’s in the howl of a wolf and the whiny of a horse. Yet some people chose to defile these things daily. Few people appreciate the prosperity of mowing their yards
anymore. They stamp on insects as if it were a game to do so. Why do some people not enjoy the pleasures of art? Could it be because art is used somuch in games, TV shows, and movies? Or is it simply because no one really wants to take the time to appreciate it anymore? One peace of art at a well established franchise suggests this by presenting itself on a daily basis, in all its glory, with an obscure crayon mark right through the center of it. It is apparent that some people would give their children a crayon in a place with no children activities and let them wonder around marking on expensive works of art.
Art is also in the ideals it represents. Some civilizations believed in using art as a way to assist the Gods in welcoming them to the afterlife. An ancient society known as the Etruscans clearly believed in an afterlife that was somewhat like the Egyptian concept. Although it is not known what their specific view of the afterlife was, it seems to have been as materialistic as in ancient Egypt. They would take items used in real life, such as mirrors, jewelry, weapons, and banquet ware to accompany the deceased. They
believed these things were needed in the afterlife. The burials of today consist mostly of a suit and a prayer. This is mainly because most people have been converted to Christianity. And most Christians believe that they cannot bring material possessions with them when they die. But why should they not be able to? The Egyptians and the Etruscans seemed to think it was possible. In fact, they believed it so much that when pictures were drawn of the deceased they would make sure that they had both arms and legs showing in a standing position, as seen in the tomb of Nebamun. In this, Nebamun
is accompanied by his wife and daughter with his head and legs in profile, torso and eye frontal, all while he is hunting birds. This was to make certain that they would be able to walk and have full physical movement in the afterlife. They would also perform what is called the Opening of the Mouth ceremony which ritually “opened the mouth” of the dead body and restored its ability to breathe, feel, hear, see, and speak. This can be seen in an illustration from the Book of the Dead of Hunefer c. 1295-1186 B.C. Very few
people still believe in this. But what if they were right in believing this concept? What if all of our loved ones who have died are stuck in a state of constant immobilization for all eternity? That sounds scary doesn’t it? If you had to lay on your back in darkness with neither a person to love you nor anything to entertain you in a world-without-end. Most people would be devastated to know their uncles, mothers, fathers, sisters and brothers
were in a state of constant agony until the end of time.
In addition to art being used for burials, it has also been used for invention. And if it were not for art being used for invention in the early ages, then people would not have the magnificent sky scrapers that they have today. In fact the designs of most of today’s larger buildings can be seen as far back as Stonehenge, with its Post and Lintel design structure. Post and Lintel design consists of menhir, or standing stones, which were used to support what is called a trilithon, a three stone design structure. When put into a circle this is called a Cromlech. Also seen in later styles of construction is the use of columns and arches, such as the Arches of the Great Mosque in Córdoba. Built around 785 A.D., the arches consisted of nine foot nine inch tall columns which were used to suspend the arches creating one of the most sturdy design structures of its time. In fact, the larger interior space is at present bigger than any other Christian church. These arches are sturdy even now. People still go to admire the magnificence of them because they have lasted thousands of years. Yet the buildings made in this generation usually last no longer than one hundred years. It is a shame how some people could not even
appreciate ancient structures such as this which helped the new societies to define the world they know and love.
Another definitive factor of this world is the landmarks of past civilizations.
These landmarks were somewhat like the art of today in some countries. When looking at a cathedral, such as the Cathedral of Saint-Lazare, one could only guess that they are in Autun, Burgundy. When eyes are laid upon the Statue of Liberty it is only logical that you are in Manhattan. The same goes for earlier civilizations as well. It used to be when a man saw a ziggurat, a trapezoidal stepped structure representing a mountain, he knew that he was in Mesopotamia. When he set his eyes upon a pyramid, then surely he was in
Egypt. If he were to see the Ishtar Gate, he would find himself within the walls of Babylon under the rule of the great Nebuchadnezzar. In present times many towns no longer use visual representations of the culture. Instead most towns have signs that read, “Welcome to Henderson,” or, “Thanks for Visiting Jackson, TN.” Seeing as how Henderson is the Barbeque capitol of Tennessee, some people would rather see a statue of a farmer with a pigs head on a stick as apposed to reading a big green sign with the population indented on it. Because art is merely visual representations meant to describe who people are.
Taking what has been said into consideration, art to me is resting in the heavens with all artist’s, from Imhotep to Michaelangelo, who believed, like I do, that the world is a canvas. Now imagine if people were to turn back to the ancient ways. If all people started to make there homes and office buildings using only earthly materials that they themselves dug up and mixed. It is only logical that they would be healthier. Or if every town did have its own artistic demonstrations of what the towns people were all about. Traveling would certainly be more enjoyable. But then, along with these new creations, the tyrants who plague the artistic world would surface. The defiler’s of timeless and beautiful creations that go unpunished for their crimes. But then again is that not, within itself, only human?
c. Dustin DeWayne White aka. DarkWater05