An Introduction To The Power Of Art

By Jaclyn Hurley

There are many different ways that a work of art can affect people. What someone can describe as powerful may be different for other people. What is true is that for almost anyone there will be some form of artwork that will affect their lives. Whether it is a painting, a sculpture or a performance the power of art is something that can be inspiring, uplifting and thought provoking.

The fact is that what people describe as art can be very diverse. There are of course the classic masters such as Van Gogh or Renaissance painters such as Michelangelo. These are the pieces that are famous around the world. Some may sell for millions while others are iconic and because of where they are based it is impossible to put a price on them.

The power often comes from the message within the art. In the case of Michelangelo a lot of his works have been associated with religious fervour as shown with the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel or an iconic representation of form such as his stature of David. The Sistine Chapel is something that is difficult to convey if you do not see in person because the way it has been painted has an almost three dimensional quality that is not easy to show in prints or in image searches on the internet.

The idea of something being powerful is something that can be debated. In terms of films an image can often stay in your mind. Sometimes these powerful images can also be controversial such as the iconic Nazi propaganda piece Triumph of The Will or the DW Griffiths silent epic about the rise of the Ku Klux Klan The Birth of A Nation.

In the sixties this was taken further with artists such as Andy Warhol who used commercial methods in his artwork. The prints and works he created were a reaction to the advertising and consumerism that was happening in the post war era. Ironically his prints have since gone on to be much sought commodities and have often been copied and parodied since.

The cynic would say that as soon as this occurred the Banksy mystique was ruined as the anti capitalist subversive became available for sale and his work became a desired item available for the highest bidder. Banksy himself responded to this by creating a picture that mocked his celebrity status and derided the people spending large sums in order to get hold of his work.

This is why art lessons in school are often positive. It gives children space to be creative. While learning techniques are important there is something to be said for giving people the space to be creative and feel confident that they can get engage with something and make something that they will be happy to share with people.

Ultimately the best way to engage in the debate about what type of art is powerful is to see as much as you can. You do not necessarily have to go to the Louvre or the Sistine Chapel. There are numerous exhibitions and pieces available all over the world. Use your regular search engine for more information and about artists and exhibitions in your local area.

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