According to Tolstoy, art must create a specific emotional link between artist and audience, one that "infects" the viewer. Thus, real art requires the capacity to unite people via communication (clearness and genuineness are therefore crucial values). This aesthetic conception led Tolstoy to widen the criteria of what exactly a work of art is. He believed that the concept of art embraces any human activity in which one emitter, by means of external signs, transmits previously experienced feelings. Tolstoy offers an example of this: a boy that has experienced fear after an encounter with a wolf later relates that experience, infecting the hearers and compelling them to feel the same fear that he had experienced—that is a perfect example of a work of art. As communication, this is good art, because it is clear, it is sincere, and it is singular (focused on one emotion).
However, genuine "infection" is not the only criterion for good art. The good art vs. bad art issue unfolds into two directions. One is the conception that the stronger the infection, the better is the art. The other concerns the subject matter that accompanies this infection, which leads Tolstoy to examine whether the emotional link is a feeling that is worth creating. Good art, he claims, fosters feelings of universal brotherhood. Bad art inhibits such feelings. All good art has a Christian message, because only Christianity teaches an absolute brotherhood of all men. However, this is "Christian" only in a limited meaning of the word. Art produced by artistic elites is almost never good, because the upper class has entirely lost the true core of Christianity.
Art definitely is beauty. Even if not always in the traditional sense. Art can often represent struggle and conflict which is not always pretty. But it is still beautiful in the sense that it is honest and genuine and real. Raw beauty. Like the beauty of nature which, I agree, is the most exquisite form.
Unique and universal. Very true. Interesting, too, because these are two seemingly disparate ideas. But in art I think you're right they do converge. What we create is unique because it is born out of our own personal composite of experiences, perceptions, and beliefs. It is also universal because it is a depiction of raw humanity. It's this connection that, when viewing another's form of art, makes us go, "Yes. I understand." Art is humanity that resonates in all of us.
Hey, while you're here, have you ever participated in that week long art camp in, I think, the Black Hills? I read about it on the internet the other day. It sounds very interesting. I was wondering if it was just for you professionals or open to everybody.
I travelled 49 states and found North Dakota was like America Siberia and a little less so isolated Black Hills of South Dakota pine-covered mountain range, nice deep canyons, scenic lakes, and streams land was wonderful. I hear The Black Hills art camp is open to many Artists including kid’s art program, many art festivals like this are in many areas in the US. And why not, it’s so far away, they want to attracted tourist and to show off their farms.
The stable hot beds for fine art are in New York NJ. Ca, and place among the Midwest