GRE Issue Essay 216
“It is the artist, not the critic,* who gives society something of lasting value.”
(*a person who evaluates works of art, such as novels, films, music, paintings, etc.)
An artist is the creator of an artistic work, which is not the forte of everyone. Any work of art, like novels, films, music, paintings etc. are of great value to the society that appreciates it. However, there are critics as well who evaluate these works of art in detail and expose all aspects of the art. As far as the statement goes, I only agree partially with it, since I believe that it is both, the artist as well as the critic whose work is valuable. If the artistic creation goes down in history for its uniqueness, so does the work done by a critic. Both create an impression of the society that is lasting as well as valuable.
Beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder. The work of the artist can have a universal appeal amongst the society. It is the people who form their individual opinion about a work of art according to the way it pleases them. It may or may not be liked by the critics, for it is likely that they hold different opinions about the same work of art. However, it cannot be disregarded as a useless effort. The artist, as mentioned earlier by me, has a unique forte. It is not in the capacity of everyone to produce a work of art as is done by a painter or a novelist. Nonetheless, it is not in the capacity of everyone to understand the depth in a work of art, which is only explained by a critic.
I believe that the very fact that a critic analyses a given work of art of an artist proves the greatness of the artist. Since it attracts the fancy of a critic, the work of art must be noteworthy and outstanding in itself. Moreover, it has been seen many a times that the work of art finds its true appreciation only after years of analysis by critics. While the contemporary critics might disregard the work done by an artist, it might find its true appreciation over a period of time when people start understanding art in a broader perspective. This can be seen in the case of the famous metaphysical poet John Donne whose work was targeted by most critics of his time and it was only later that it was truly appreciated.
However, like the other side of the coin, I also regard the work of a critic of equal value. A common man does not have the knowledge enough to understand the intricacies of a given work of art. It is the cautious and in-dept analysis done by a critic that helps in unveiling a work of art. For example, the famous painting by Leonardo Da Vince called Mona Lisa might seem to be just another work of art to a normal man. However, it is the critics who bring out the irony in the expression presented by the artist in his painting. Similarly, there are many critics who have done exceptional work in their field, which is remembered more than the actual work of art. It is therefore not only a matter of appreciating what pleases the eyes but also a matter of understanding the work of art for its nature, which leaves an impression on the mind.
In the end, I would like to sum up by saying that I take the works done by an artist and a critic to be of great value. In my view, an artist’s work is supreme for its unique depiction of talent, and the work done by a critic is valuable for its meaningful analysis. We cannot place one above the other in such a way that it overshadows the lasting impression that the other puts on the society.