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Characteristics of works of art, Concepts of expression, Terms,   Classification




Characteristics of works of art

Works of art present part as personal part as cultural expressions,- shifts within this relationships eventually reflecting changes in the social conditions of living as e.g. evident in Iconoclastic paintings.

Whereas as a work of art such as a painting, a novel or as a full score commonly presents as a well defined document, the physiological correlate corresponds invariantly to a rather large neural flow of data constantly varying in structure and size. This dataflow can be induced by actual visual or acoustical perception, or by activation from memory. Of interest is that intellectual and emotional information are not processed by the same neural pathways.

The perception of a work of art is therefore always personal, but as this perception regularly includes associable memorized information, the overall impact exceeds the amount to be expected solely evocated by the work of art itself.

The large amount of information together with the enormous analytical versatility of the brain allow works of art to present in nearly unrestricted forms.



  Concepts of expression

"To remember the first impression" (Corot) is an highly valid guideline in realizing artistic projects, as it request a careful evaluation of the idea forming the base of a work of art.

Principles of composition are of very secondary importance.

The essential in Vermeer's "The Girl with a Pearl" appears to be the competition for attention in-between the pearl and the unobtrusive glance in the eyes of the girl, a characterization clearly not presenting as a concept of composition in itself. Such a function is more easily attributable to the centrally located pearl, a mean - if applicable - mostly reserved - and in dissent in respect of this painting - for the most important part of the work of art.

Concepts of construction and composition such as e.g. the perspective may be essential for the artistic expression in some works of art, but be of little relevance in others.

The impression of "balanced" or "unbalanced" evocated by a work of art is the result of the interaction of the physiological mechanism of perception, and therefore not necessarily recognizable as a concept of composition.

Understanding the underlying idea of a work of art appears as most crucial for its successful creation, implementing concepts of composition being of rather secondary importance.







Many terms used in art as the ones addressed below, are neither properly named nor do they preside over a properly defined content, thus presenting a continuous source of confusion.





  Realistic - Reality

"Realistic" - commonly linear perspective based- artistic creations are frequently addressed as "true presentation of reality", an improper statement not only in regard of the used underlying geometrical principles but also in respect of the term "reality" itself.

“Realistic” presentations became dominant with the begin of the renaissance as an alternative to spiritually imbedded religious presentations, a dominance lasting until the begin of modernity, thus restricting the development of the visual arts in a way un-experienced in neither literature nor music.




  Abstract Art

A more appropriated term than "abstract art" would be “structural” art

Visual and audible impressions are physiologically processed in defined areas of primary perception. Language - presenting the most advanced part of the superimposed sensory integrating part of the nervous system - is not accessible in such a direct way, but due to its basic task and function has the ability to create “abstract terms” such as e.g. freedom, joy, fear etc..

Many works of "abstract art" have natural "analogues" presenting as structural elements of stones, plants, buildings and others.






Impressionism - ever popular since the rather painful days of its emergency - stands generally for light, painting in the country-side and freedom of expression.

The essential, namely to abandon the line allowing to capture dynamic patterns such as moving leaves, clouds and water etc., is rarely recognized and mentioned as a new and well conceived concept of presentation.  






Symbols, Symbolic Presentations

Symbols are essentially but signs, but of eventually considerable emotional impact. Some symbols have but representative character such as e.g. the red cross, others are explanatory such as mimicking a stair or an elevator, other have a direct psychological effects such as e.g. the mandalas of Eastern cultures.

Symbolic presentations are emotion dominated creations, referring mostly to intimate personal experiences. 





Many forms of human behavior present as "symbolic actions". Some of these forms may have a specific person related others a more general species genetic correlate, some forms may be acquired, the early childhood presenting a critical phase, some present a mix of all.

Whereas symbols can have profound personal effects, their species specific significance is nevertheless highly disputable




Classification of works of visual arts

  Works of the visual arts are commonly classified separated into "realistic" and "abstract" creations.  
  "Realistic" creations divide into  
  - documentatory (including drawings for scientific purposes)  
  - representative ("typical"), and  
  - free realistic creations  
  "Abstract" works of art present as  
  - purely structural compositions  
  - ornamental and  
  - stylistic creations  


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