For me, art is the essential justification for being or existence. Without art, there is no culture; without culture there is no reminder of the development of peoples, cultures, settlements, and countries.
Is truly great art limited by time or space?
First, we must naturally come to an understanding on what we mean by "great art."
Basically, I would like to emphasize that every person must be free to think about and be aware of art, each according to his intellectual and emotional ability to comprehend. Naturally, "free" also means free from influence by the media of our times. That in turn is only possible for a very limited circle of people.
Experience teaches us again and again that public opinion regarding art or a work of art does not correspond to the "published" opinion.
Fortunately, nevertheless, in the history of mankind, as far as we know and understand it, a development has prevailed which permits the image of the human to recur in all eras as an important motif for artistic depiction.
The human being is for me, now as before, the greatest miracle, the greatest secret of creation. It is, therefore, also the worthiest thing there is to be valued in art, fine art.
What is great art? I believe that the development of abilities to depict in art makes fundamental statements also about the development of man himself.
An ancient cave drawing, for example, may seem "primitive" to the casual observer today. The depiction of an animal, of a hunting scene, and then the depiction of a human figure in a cave--these are nonetheless messages from our ancestors.
Even more: the moment when a human being had the idea and ability for the first time to create such a "work of art" was so stirring and of such great importance to the whole further development of the human intellect and human abilities that the first landing on the moon and the flight into space in reality began at that time.<
Therefore, an African, Asian, or South American work of art which appears simple or primitive and which was created millennia ago is a very important link in a chain of developments.
In no way then is great art dependent on time and space.
Naturally there have been peoples who--building on the first signs of artistic inspiration in the human--developed their abilities to the highest level and created works of art which leave us again and again in awe and admiration. Again and again we name the ancient ones; we name Greece. Indeed, they are the undisputed progenitors of the art of depicting the human body.
For me the human being is the object worthiest of being depicted in art and, of course, in its perfect harmony of the triad of the body, spirit, and soul.
Copyright 2001 West-Art
PROMETHEUS, Internet Bulletin for Art, Politics and Science.