What is Art and its relation to beauty
At a glimpse, beauty may seem like a trivial concept. For what does it really matter if something is beautiful or not, if it serves a utilitarian purpose. While this may true for numerous things, it is often not true. It is a fact of life that human beings are not rational creatures and we better off for it. Beauty is a human experience, even scientists have not been able to identify why our ancestors took the time to shape their weapons to teardrop shapes other than the fact that they liked how they look. As one of Kurzgesagt so elegantly explains, our sense of beauty may have evolved from pattern recognition crucial for survival. While we have stopped relying on these patterns for survival, it is evident, via research that looking at monotone facades can lead to health-related problems.
So, we mean it when we say, despite the risk of sounding new-age-y: art correlates with happiness in unimaginable ways. What may seem credible is the connection of beauty and art; although art may not always be visibly beautiful, it ferments in our mind a body an almost inscrutable reaction. Through its visual or emotional brilliance, art can transfer our mind to distant lands or to unbelievable realities be it abstract, conceptual or minimalist art.
Art and aesthetics are subjective in nature; what one might find appealing varies a lot. Beauty is not anything tangible but rather an element that is conjured by our minds. It is a human experience that fluctuates with time. Yet, some things never change the way we interpret beauty. Art is one element that has lasted through times. Time and time again, we supplement galleries with paintings and artworks to showcase the best and the most talented works of art. Art is one constant form of happiness. Art’s ability to impact us remains unquestioned yet the effect it has can vary from person to person, and also from the very form and shape of art itself. Art can sometimes create an emotional attachment. It can fabricate ambivalent emotions in some while only slightly impact others. That is the very intention of art. As Cesar A. Cruz once said, “Art should comfort the disturbed and disturb the comfortable.” In fact, our brain recognizes patterns, abstract collections and familiarity in the artworks and understand the shapes and abstracts. And art affects those people the most that are able to recognize shapes and patterns and try and make sense of it.
Art is associated with emotions, inner thoughts, and learning. A study from the University of Westminster confirms that if you take a break to explore a gallery on a stressful day, you will undeniably walk out with a lower level of stress. This is because art not only provides visual brilliance, but it contributes towards lowering the level of cortisol (or commonly known as the stress hormone). In fact, according to Semir Zeki from the University of London, art also increases the level of dopamine which results in feelings of pleasure quite similar to a feeling of falling in love. Artworks and paintings evoke powerful emotions. Works of art make us fall in love with the pieces in the same way that we fall for a person. The brain undergoes significant changes when we look at appealing art pieces. Just like for a person, when looking at art pieces, we find a reflection of ourselves which is what captivates and attracts us and even compels us. Looking at beguiling artworks unquestionably affects our senses beyond our control. According to the Telegraph, viewing a captivating artwork increases our blood flow by as much as 10% which is exactly what happens when we look at someone we love.
It is unquestionable that many famous artists communicated painful experiences and memories through their art. The acclaimed Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath communicated strong emotions of misery and melancholy. Many of the artists lived through depression and agony. Weren’t the artists like Sylvia Plath, Vincent Van Gogh, Emily Dickenson and many others so engulfed in melancholy that led them to do craziest things on a quest for happiness? Vincent Van Gogh used to eat yellow paint because he believed that the happiest color would miraculously spark happiness inside of him. How is it then that art can be envisioned as a platform for happiness? Yet, despite what the art may communicate, art-making is a source of joy and happiness. Engaging in creative pursuits allows people a possibility to transform an utterly painful experience or memory into something positive. Producing visual art not only provides an expression of one’s own identity but also provides a platform for the exploration of new perspectives and relationships. In fact, research proves that creating art increases brain activity and psychological resilience. Producing art invigorates the brain in a much stronger manner than merely viewing an artwork.
Art has an undeniable impact on our mind and body although everyone’s reaction may be different. As a showcase of what seems like endless artworks, galleries and exhibitions are built with the intention to inspire and impact a room full of visitors be it conjuring strong emotions or dazzling the visitors through its visuals. The definition of beauty may change over time but art never fails to emanate beauty and happiness.