What is an Artwork, What are the Characteristics of an Artwork?June 29, 2021
The work of art arises from the aesthetic relationship between the subject and the object. A work of art emerges as a result of a design (creative imagination). The characteristics of the work of art are the qualities that emerge as a result of this relationship and design.
A play, a sculpture, a painting, a piece of music, etc. they are works of art. People who create works of art are called artists.
There are three elements that make up the work of art: the artist, the work of art, and the people who understand and appreciate the work of art (receiver, subject).
The most basic function of a work of art is to create an aesthetic feeling in the person watching it. For this reason, a work of art can also be considered as an aesthetic object. At the same time, every work of art is actually a knowledge that emerged from the subject-object relationship. The artist makes a production using different tools. The object it uses is everything that exists. What it produces as a result of this interaction is knowledge, that is, a work.
The work of art gains another meaning with the viewer/listener who turns to it, grasps it and ultimately gets an aesthetic pleasure. The person who is the viewer of a work of art also makes some evaluations and this is also knowledge. These evaluations can be in the form of attribution, appraisal, and criticism.
The artist, like the philosopher and scientist, lives in a world that surrounds him. But the artist reflects these thoughts in the products he creates by trying to make sense of the changing features of this world according to time. For example, art also gives some messages about values such as justice, equality and love, but it does not attempt to define it as philosophy does, it tries to reveal concrete situations related to these concepts with a concrete work. For this reason, art can be seen as a complement to science and philosophy.
Vincent van Gogh’s famous painting “The Starry Night” painted in June 1889, a year before his death
In general, the characteristics of the work of art can be determined as follows.
Every work of art is a human creation with a set of unique features.
There is a need for a receptive (viewer / listener) subject who tends to the work of art, interprets it and takes aesthetic pleasure from it.
There is a close relationship between the form of a work and the content it wants to convey. Content and form have meaning together. Both alone are not enough to make a work a work of art.
We mentioned above that the function of a work of art is to cause aesthetic reactions in people. For what purpose that work was created by its creator does not directly affect the reaction of the person watching it. In this case, we can define the work of art as follows: It is a work created by people and has the function of creating aesthetic pleasures in people.
What are the Characteristics of the Artwork?
Artwork is personal. In other words, it carries traces of the person who created the work.
Artwork requires creativity.
The work of art is produced with aesthetic concern, that is, it is not intended for benefit (Aesthetic anxiety).
The artwork is original; that is, it is unique and unique. So it is unique again (Originality).
Artwork is permanent. The pleasure that the work of art evokes in us is so permanent that it can affect our lives.
Artwork is universal. The product produced is the common property of all humanity.
Compiled by: Sociologist Ömer YILDIRIM
Source: Atatürk University Department of Sociology Lecture Notes for Year 1 “Introduction to Philosophy” and Year 3 “History of Contemporary Philosophy” (Ömer YILDIRIM); Open Education Philosophy Textbook