What is Art for?

In this short and entertaining video Alain de Botton puts forward a few good ideas about the value of visual art. I have paraphrased some of his comments.

What is Art for?

"Art is there to remind us about the many precious facets to our existence."

  1. "Art keeps us hopeful. It is no coincidence that the most popular works of art show beauty. Those scenes we like are hope, bottled and preserved, waiting for us when we need it.
  2. Art makes us less lonely. Art can reassure us of the normality of pain.
  3. Expresses sadness. It allows us to project sadness and provides a balance to the false optimism of much of commercial society
  4. Provides a balance by expressing serenity, tenderness, drama.
  5. Art helps us appreciate what is beauiful. For example Durer makes grass look beautiful, Constable illuminates the sky, Van Gogh reminds us that oranges are worth paying attention to."

What is Art for? - Monet's Japanese Bridge
"This is the top selling postcard in the world, Monet's "Japanese Bridge"."

Thanks to the Arts Party for bringing this video to my attention.

I think de Botton's points are good, and I usually express it this way "Western Art is a sophisticated visual language which expresses the human condition. "