No, Art Is Not Subjective
Start writing a post

No, Art Is Not Subjective

"Not only is our critic who says that all art is equal disregarding the field of aesthetics, work done by art historians, and accomplished artists and craftspeople, but they are also slighting the most excellent pieces of art humankind has ever created."

No, Art Is Not Subjective
Egon Schiele

There seems to be this contemporary current that posits all art as subjective, that a piece’s quality is in the eye of the beholder, and that all art is good art. Not only is this wrong, but deeply anti-intellectual, and even insulting. Not only is our critic who says that all art is equal disregarding the field of aesthetics, work done by art historians, and accomplished artists and craftspeople, but they are also slighting the most excellent pieces of art humankind has ever created. Let’s take a closer look at some bad, mediocre, great, and sublime works of art.

All three of these pieces lack things like depth, understanding of light and shadows, nuanced brushwork, and provocative themes. There are simply objective offenses so egregious, it must be labeled as 'bad art'.

Some Mediocre Paintings:

The brushwork and color have more subtlety and skill than the first group, and yet, these pieces only manage to be mediocre. They lack depth, clarity, and power.There is nothing particularly engaging about the pieces' themes, nor do they send a clear message to the viewer.

Some Great Paintings:

Edvard Munch, Love and Pain (Vampire), 1895.

Oil on canvas, 91 x 109 cm

Wayne Thiebaud, Woman in Tub, 1920.

Oil on canvas, 90.8 x 152.4 cm

Edward Hopper, Vermont Sugar House, 1938

These painters are accomplished and have earned their place in the canon of art. Thier works demonstrate this, offering an attention to detail, light, composition, and emotional expression. One could make an argument for sublimeness for each of them.

Some Sublime Paintings:

The Death of Socrates, Jaque-Louis David, 1787

Oil on Canvas, 129.5 cm × 196.2 cm

The Floor Scrapers, Gustave Caillebotte, 1875

Oil on Canvas, 6′ 4″ x 4′ 9″

Girl with the Pearl Earing, Johannes Vermeer, circa 1665

Oil on Canvas, 46.5 x 40 cm

These paintings justify themselves more and more as they age. There is a mastery of light and shadow, a supreme control of brushwork, and complex theming and composition. They raise questions and offer answers as they move one to the core.

Obviously, these categories aren't perfect. And, there is some art that comes down to a matter of preference. Measures of better and worse arent always particularly helpful, especially when studying the higher echelons of art. Whether you think Monet or Manet is a better artist is something for you decide for yourself, and something for art historians to debate. My own biases have been clearly displayed in this list of course. But to project this subjectivity on all of art is simply ignorant. So please, don't ever try to tell me that the beauty of the Rubix Cube painting comes remotely close to that of a Vermeer.

Report this Content
This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.

Everyone's been here. And, truthfully, it sucks. But in order to move on and get past something you need to allow yourself to feel it for what it is--all of the heartbreak and pain--and then you can start to take steps move on.

Keep Reading... Show less

The Christmas season is coming to an end, but it's not too late to get some last-minute movies in! Unfortunately, this year didn't look like a typical Christmas. While we can't have any big Christmas parties or family gatherings, we can still celebrate at home! Christmas is the best time for nostalgia, and we could all use some warm and fuzzy feelings as we wrap up a tough year and enter a new one that hasn't been proven any calmer, either.

As a kid who grew up in the 2000s, I can think of some of my favorite staple Christmas movies. If you're looking for recommendations or just a walk down memory lane, check out the list below.

Keep Reading... Show less

As we enter the new year, you might be looking for a great show to kick-off 2021. Look no further, I have the perfect recommendation. "The Wilds" was released on Amazon Prime last month and has been gaining traction steadily since then. This series of 10 one-hour episodes tells the stories of eight girls who find themselves on a deserted island after their plane crashed while they are on their way to a resort. Unlike other survival shows, there's a bit more to the story than what first meets the eye. This show is unique in characters, storytelling methods, and plot.

If you aren't convinced yet, allow me to provide you with a list of further persuasion.

Keep Reading... Show less

10 Things TikTok Made Me Buy, And Now My Life Is So Much Better

Where would I be without my Revlon hair dryer or CeraVe skin products?! Thanks, TikTok.


TikTok is a great way to see what products are trending. People are sharing tips and tricks about items that they use to make their life happier, healthier, or just easier.

Keep Reading... Show less

Online classes and virtual reality in general have been the staple of 2020. One day in March, everything shut down and we all had to learn how to work, teach, study, do therapy, and take classes remotely without much preparation. So, it's been a roller-coaster experience, and definitely not what we expected.

Keep Reading... Show less

11 TV Characters Who Are Irritating BEYOND Belief

Maybe they never really did anything seriously wrong, but oh my god they are annoying af.


Have you ever been watching your favorite show, all comfortable and relaxed, and then that one character that you just can't stand pops up on the screen and ruins your mood? I know I certainly have. These characters aren't necessarily evil or horrible people, but they do have personalities that make them incredibly irritating. They're the kind of characters that make you want to yell at the writer, "what the hell were you thinking with this one?" Perhaps they have never hurt a fly, but it doesn't matter since their character just straight-up sucks.

By the way, some of my arguments contain spoilers, so fair warning.

Keep Reading... Show less

20 Songs You Should REALLY Add To Your Winter Playlist

Watch the snow gently falling out your window and put these songs on to get in the winter mood.


For the majority of these songs, I can't really explain why, but they remind me of winter. Maybe it's their slow pace, their magical synth sounds, or their melancholy lyrics, but all of these songs give me winter vibes. If you're looking to add some songs to your winter playlist, give these ones a listen.

Keep Reading... Show less
Facebook Comments