For most people, art is more than just something pretty to put up on a wall. There is purpose, history, intrigue and philosophy behind every work of art, and quite often, it is left up to the viewer about what that means.
We value art that tells a story. Whether it’s a quick interpretation of a landscape, an abstract artwork that may be hard to understand, a work of art for scientific study, or as literal as a portrait painting, there is always a narrative that resides behind the layers of paint. The artist, of course, is the one responsible for the interpretation, but as the viewer, we are invited into the story with the freedom to decide for ourselves how we will be inspired. Or enlightened. Or made to feel a variety of emotions, good and bad. It doesn’t matter whether we like a work of art or not, the artist’s story remains the same.
Storytelling is a human pastime. It is a gift and a way to preserve memories for future generations. The story behind a work of art can be from the creators experience, or a specific point in history, or for the sake of documenting an idea that caught the imagination of the artist. Even if the story is straightforward, the process and effort in which it took to create the work of art, as uncomplicated as the subject may be, is in itself, a story.
“Art is not what you see, but what you make others see.” ~ Edgar Degas
Edgar Degas, “A Visit to a Museum”
So go to the museums. Visit art galleries. Listen to the stories and make up your own. Keep art alive for future generations.
And above all, live with art that tells a story.
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