Why Artwork Has Different Meanings

Being able to see something in a completely different light is what makes this world unique and successful. Being able to interpret a painting with different mindsets is what makes painting an artwork. It is not only what the painter sees but what he/she makes his/her audience see as well.

Edvard Munch's "The Scream" is a painting of a twisted, fetal-face creature whose mouth and eyes are wide open. Agreed by many, the painting holds an overall dark and unsettling theme, yet the theme is only one part of what the painting could possibly describe. The piece could reflect the anguish of the main character as his friends walk away from in the background. But is the main character the one screaming? Or is he in shock from a scream he may have heard? It could be analyzed both ways. Perhaps the fetal creature is screaming, breaking down from the anxiety he faces in life. Or perhaps, he is reacting to the "scream of nature," represented by the bright orange sky and black fjord behind the creature. It is a form of expression, but depending on the perspective, one wonders is it the expression of the individual or the expression the audience feels as they see the individual reacting to the scream of nature.

Another painting that reflects the necessity of multiple perspectives is surrealist Salvador Dali's "The Persistence of Memory." At first look of the melting clocks, a literalist may take the decaying clocks as a symbol for the idea that time never stops. But that is only one answer. If someone chooses to delve deeper, they may see this painting as a reflection of another a dimension entirely—the dream state. Yet even in the dream state, there are many paths. Looking at the painting through the dream state, the melting clocks could also represent the lack of power time has in the dream world. Time is irrelevant in a land humans have no complete control in. The clocks may also represent Albert Einstein's Theory of Relativity which was groundbreaking at the time of the painting. The Theory of Relativity states that time is relative and complex and cannot be easily tracked and fixed with a mere clock when it comes to speed of light in a vacuum. Dali applies this concept to life in general as the melting clocks may show time losing its power in the human world. Now, in the post-Einstein era, even clocks and pocket watches have no power.

The necessity of multiple perspectives is key to understanding others as humans. Understanding what someone believes in and why he/she believe that unlocks who he/she is as a person. Art would not be considered beautiful without a variety of perspectives as seen through the mentioned artwork. Their ambiguity proves that while there may be a correct answer in the eyes of the artist, there will always be people who believe in otherwise beliefs, adding to the baffling beauty of artwork and diverse minds of humans.

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