Is Art Subjective or Objective?

While taking a class in college the topic of art was brought up, or more accurately, the topic of art being Good, True, and Beautiful. It was easy for my classmates to see the beauty of an icon, while I looked at it and thought it looked kind of funny. The proportions in icons are often distorted and the faces of the people are typically depressed. It dawned on me that the reason my classmates believed these icons were beautiful was because of the message they conveyed. My teacher quickly switched the slide to a picture of Jesus being baptized in the Jordan River, but the image was painted using a newer, more modern image of Jesus and one of my classmates wrinkled their nose at it and said it looked "too Protestant." Again, this consensus seemed purely made by the observers opinion and individual beliefs. Some scholars believe that art is objective, and therefore can only be considered good if it adheres to a mathematical equation that renders it proportional to reality. Others believe that only artists instructed by a master of art can create good art, while others believe that art is purely based on a persons individual beliefs, emotions, and life experience. If art is objective does that mean that everyone would look up at the Sistine chapel and marvel at its beauty? I'm sure there are individuals who might look at it and shrug their shoulders. Does this mean that those individuals are wrong and everyone else is right? Lets consider the Pieta, a sculpture of Mary holding Jesus after the crucifixion. Its easy for me to look at it and see that it's a masterpiece, because it is not only beautifully made but it also holds significance for me in my faith. Others might look at it and cringe because it doesn't match up with their personal worldview. So, does this mean that art is subjective and purely based on the individuals worldview and taste, or does it mean that the majority of people are incorrect in their assessment of good art? Does good art need to contain universal truths of proportion and color, or is good art simply something that stirs emotion in us? Or is art simply a medium that leads us to greater universal truths about God? I'll let you decide... Give your opinion and thoughts by commenting below!


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