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MIMETIC THEORY

Also known as: Representationalism or Imitation Theory The Mimetic Theory is concerned with the artwork itself. It is a reflection of nature. The work is a correct representation of reality. What is the definition of the Mimetic Theory?

What does this mean to you?

ASSERTIONS: Use these assertions to help you understand the Mimetic


Theory better. Art Imitates nature. To be a work of art it need to look realistic. The work needs to copy reality. The work needs to represent, reflect or copy a section of reality. One tends to like art that looks real because it can be easily recognized and understood. To be art it need to be correct, complete, and vivid in its representation. The work of art needs to show that the artist has technical skill. Realistic art may teach and reform by emphasizing social ugliness and injustice. Idealistic or realistic art may edify and inspire.

QUESTIONS: Answer these questions to help you better understand the


Mimetic Theory. Does a work of art have to be realistic to be considered a good work of art? Is it unintellectual to like art that mimics nature exactly? To be considered a work of art, must the object be easily recognized? If something is photographically correct is it just a copy of the object or a reproduction?

PHILOSOPHY: Where do the ideas of the Mimetic Theory come from?


The Mimetic Theory is concerned with the universe (what the art work about) The philosophers that dealt with the idea of mimetic art were Plato, and Aristotle. The art movement and artists were from the Renaissance. Artists such as Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, and others of that time period. It does not exclude other artists from other art movements.

HEDONIST THEORY

Also known as: Mechanistic Theory The Hedonist Theory is concerned with the artwork and the audience. For a work of art to be considered a good work of art, it needs to bring pleasure to the audience. What is the definition of the Hedonist Theory?

What does this mean to you?

ASSERTIONS: These assertions will help you understand what the


Hedonist Theory means. The more pleasure one receives from a work of at, the better it is. People tend to judge quickly whether it gives them pleasure or not. If a piece of art gives one feelings that one like, then it is considered a good work of art. A great work of art is something that gives pleasure, either to a small audience or to a large audience. The audience become absorbed in the artwork and forgets himself. Art works that are judged by the Hedonist Theory tend to be more decorative.

QUESTIONS: Answer these questions to help you better understand the


Hedonist Theory. What is beauty? Does something have to give pleasure to cause one to experience pleasure? Does an artist have to please society? What makes one thing beautiful and another thing ugly? Is all art beautiful? What is the difference between beautiful art and ugly art? Why would one person say an artwork is beautiful and someone else say it is ugly? Is beauty in the eye of the beholder? What makes something beautiful?

PHILOSOPHY: Where do the ideas of the Hedonist Theory come from?


The Hedonist Theory is concerned with the viewer of the artwork, as well as the artist. One of the main philosophers who discussed this theory was Santayana. He said, "The true test is the degree and kind of satisfaction it can give to him who appreciates it most." He felt that art was your own personal favorites.

EXPRESSIVIST THEORY

Also known as: Expressivism The Expressivist Theory is concerned with the artist in a work of art. Art that fits this category may communicate ideas, feelings and the emotions of the artists. It does not necessarily have to involve the audience, as long as the artist was able to express their inner feelings. These ideas, if conveyed, are usually communicated forcefully by the artist. What is the definition of the Hedonist Theory?

What does this mean to you?

ASSERTIONS: These assertions will help you understand what the


Expressivist Theory means. If a work of art expresses the feeling of the artist, then it is art. Art that is filled with emotions. Art that uses color to express emotions. It is art if it expresses feelings that one has experienced. The emphasis is on the artist and the art work. Technical skill is not as important as the feelings, moods, emotions and the ideas that the artist expresses. Art is an expression of the inner life. Art is the transmission of a feeling that the artist has experienced. The artist can create an art work and it doesn't necessarily need to be understood. Realism is not important.

QUESTIONS: Answer these questions to help you better understand the


Expressivist Theory. Does a work of art that is exhibited in a museum require an explanation? Is it essential for an artist to provide an explanation for us to understand the art work? Does an artist have to explain their art work? Can an interpretation of an artwork differ from that of an artist? Is it valid? Must a work of art have intention behind it? Can a work of art communicate it's meaning without an explanation?

PHILOSOPHY: Where do the ideas of the Expressivist Theory come


from? The Expressivist Theory deals with the emotions. Plato's ideas are used in the Expressivist Theory. He felt that art was an active experience, where a mind could have and exercise in emotions through the arts signs and symbols.

"Black is like the silence of the body after death, the close of life." -Wassily Kandinsky-

FORMALIST THEORY
The Formalist Theory is concerned with the artwork itself. It is concerned with the "formal properties", such as color, shape, rhythm, balance, etc... It is not interested in what the artwork represents or what it expresses. What matters most is form, not content. What is the definition of the Formalist Theory?

What does this mean to you?

ASSERTIONS: Use these assertions to help you better understand


the meaning of the Formalist Theory. Artwork that is concerned with the formal properties. Evokes and sustains aesthetic contemplation. The object or subject matter is not important. Formalism suggests that the formal properties are important in the aesthetic experience. Artwork that is concerned with the formal properties. Evokes and sustains aesthetic contemplation. The object or subject matter is not important. Formalism must rely on the strength of the art materials alone. Artwork that is concerned with the formal properties. Evokes and sustains aesthetic contemplation. The object or subject matter is not important. Judgment is made only by examining the art work itself with the formal properties.

QUESTIONS: Answer these questions to help you better understand the


Formalist Theory. Can a work of art appear to be spontaneous, unplanned and unfinished? To be considered a work of art, must the object be recognized? Can anything be considered a work of art? Especially when it is only satisfying to the artist? Can a work of art be judged as a quality work of art solely by the Formalist theory? Can any work of art be judged by the Formalist Theory?

PHILOSOPHY: Where do the ideas of the Formalist Theory come from?


This is a rather modern philosophy. It came about because of Modern Art. Modern Art was not easily explained, so the art critics started to look at art through the formal properties. Art is for it's own sake. The two philosophers that used the idea of looking at the formal properties are Clive Bell and Roger Fry.

INSTRUMENTALIST THEORY
Also known as: Pragmatist Theory The Instrumentalist Theory is concerned with the audience. Having the audience receive the message that the artist if trying to convey is the most important thing. It can be an idea, a statement, but the depth of communication is most important.

What is the definition of the Instrumentalist Theory?

What does this mean to you?

ASSERTIONS: Read and analyze these assertions to help you better


understand what the Instrumentalist Theory. Artworks are artistically good because of the valuable things they can produce. Art can promote social/political concerns. Art is evaluated on how effectively the artwork convinces a viewer to purchase the art work, book, advertisement or other gain. Art can be an instrument to bring about change.

QUESTIONS: Use these questions to help you better understand the


Instrumentalist Theory. This artwork often illustrates some of the political and social events of that time. Does a work of art have to make a statement to be considered a work of art? Can all art make a statement? Can a work of art be an instrument that serves something such as a cause or a strong purpose? Can art change a person's mind about something? Can art persuade a person to do something?

PHILOSOPHY: Where do the ideas of the Instrumentalist Theory come


from? The Instrumentalist Theory can also be called the Pragmatist Theory. It is concerned with the audience. The audience is the one that accepts the artwork. Historical events, propaganda, advertisements, religious beliefs, political events and philosophies are all art that is made to get across a point or to make money. It can be mass-produced, such as a book or a poster, or it can be one painting.