Since starting the fifth of a series of essays last autumn, I have written about the concept of beauty, which is the basis of appreciation or collection of art, featuring two large categories depending on the origin of the beauty in each category. Starting with this article, I would like to write about four kinds of works of art or art collection in terms of their cultural significance or evaluation.
All works of art are not beautiful in a general sense. We can distinguish four kinds of beauty such as pure art, fine art, academic value, and value for collectors, in terms of the creator's intention or an individual's evaluation. Of course, there are always exceptions, and there are works of art containing not only one kind but two or more of the four types mentioned above. In general, it can be said that the more kinds of beauty a work has, the higher its monetary value becomes. However, even if a work contains more beauty value, it is not always regarded as beautiful by everyone. Based on this fact, I would first like to discuss pure art, which is originally produced for the purpose of creating something beautiful, from the viewpoint of its meaning and its evaluation as art.
Pure art means beauty that persons created through their effort to make other people happy or satisfied, such as Japanese paintings and Japanese lacquer ware. It also includes decorative art and craft products. Its root is in the colors and objects in nature that human beings naturally feel to be beautiful and are comfortable with. Loved by many people, pure art generally reflects the collective consciousness of an era. Artists create works, driven by their impulse to make beautiful things. Techniques, personal experiences, pursuit of beauty, ideas of the way things should be - all of these are condensed in works of pure art. Antiques that preserve such pure art also embody the desires and energy of the people who have preserved them.
As I wrote in the previous essay, one of the themes of this fifth chapter is that beauty is energy and works of art are materialization of the energy of people who are involved in their creation, and we recognize a kind of "wavelength" emanating such works internalizing energy as beauty.
Take sound as an example to explain the wavelength. Sounds that people can hear including a human voice and music are within a certain range of frequency and sounds beyond the range are called ultrasound. Beauty has a certain frequency and we recognize it as shape and color. |
When experts of art like me see a line on a white paper drawn in Japanese ink, one line might merely be seen as a stain but another line may be seen as a ridgeline of a mountain. It is because the line has a certain frequency people feel beautiful, depending on the location on the paper, the stroke and thickness. What people like depends on what frequency they get in tune with, in addition to likes or dislikes of colors and shapes. As we cannot listen to an FM broadcast on an AM radio, likewise if we cannot be in tune with each frequency of beauty, we cannot find beauty in the object we behold. Therefore, whether we can recognize beauty depends on our capacity as a receiver.
All objects around us are a materialization of something in nature materialized by human energy. Your coffee cups and personal computers have the same meaning in terms of something human beings created from materials in nature. These objects are created in different shapes depending on purposes and roles. In this way, works of art have their own purposes and roles and are materialized by awareness and energy, which are different from those for commodity creation.
Pure art is created by an artist's awareness and techniques, simply aiming to make beautiful things for people, and energy incorporated into such works of art has a wavelength of beauty. It is different from the wavelength of manufactured commodities. And each work of art has its own wavelength. Fine art, the topic I would like to write about in the next essay, has a different wavelength depending on the energy embodied in the work. Making comparisons to pure art, I would like to discuss the energy and wavelength of fine art, as well as the meaning of beauty for collectors and that of academic beauty, respectively.
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