I spent some time in the National Gallery of Art when I was in DC and had an opportunity to see quite a collection of art from well known painters that even I have heard of (which means they are really well known).
What was interesting to me is that many of the paintings were not as nice as the paintings I have purchased for myself at thrift stores, Goodwill, and consignment shops around Atlanta, for MUCH less money.
And that when I realized, that some things just are.
In the case of art, some things just are beautiful. You can’t really say that a Picasso is more beautiful than a Monet. They are both beautiful, in their own way. And honestly, I’ll argue that the portrait of the Sea Captain in my den that I bought for a few hundred dollars at a flea market or the Princess that I bought at the consignment shop for a hundred dollars or the Still Life that I purchased for less than twenty dollars or the pastel that my mom painted and gave me as a gift are all just as pretty as the Picasso or Monet. They are all just beautiful paintings and you can appreciate them each for what they are.
Then of course, the interesting thing was that there were a number of things in the collection that I found ugly – to be frank, and wouldn’t want hanging on my walls. But does that really make it less of a painting? After all, beauty, as we know is in the eye of the beholder.
So too with people, people at their core are just people. They have all kinds of attributes, some we love, some we hate, but no one person is really more of a person than the next are they? Now of course from a societal perspective, we give more value to some people than to others, but that is just an arbitrary societal judgement, and how much credence would you want to give society to judge you? Exactly. So in truth, people also are another example of something that just is. No one is more or less of a person – some we just like more than others.
Of course, this is what I have been taught is the key message to solid self esteem. So I share it with you and hope you can understand the message contained within.
One Reply to ““Some things just are.””
The measure of good art is NOT whether it is beautiful. there are many ways to define “good art”. Does it evoke an emotional response? Does it lead to action on the part of the viewer? Does it accomplish the purpose of the artist? etc, etc. Good art can be ugly – see “Guernica” or “The scream” – because sometimes art is used for political or intellectual purposes. As for beauty in art there are many theories of what is beautiful. Your ideas are close to William James and John Dewey – pragmatist philosophy which can be summarized as “if you like it it is good.” Which means that art is subjective and there is no way to define beauty unless you want to take a vote.