GRE Issue Essay 47

In order for any work of art-whether film, literature, sculpture, or a song-to have merit, it must be understandable to most people.

The speaker claims that any work of art-whether film, literature, sculpture, or a song has merits only if it is understandable to most people. What the author fails to realize is that popularity and merit are two different things. This statement is controversial in this time. While the value of art is not related to the accessibility to people, the acceptability and understandability is important to enlighten.

However, we should agree with the writer that most of the folk art is understandable to the common people and benefit them in many ways. It is human nature that they learn from what they understand like fairy tales, films, music etc. Few people have interest in abstract or obscure art works. Common people do not understand classical music but when the same is presented in the form of songs or film music, it attracts them and gets famous. The comprehensible art works often arouse readers’ or audiences’ interest or enthusiasm. Therefore, the essence whether the creators’ feeling, ideas, or values are likely imparted to receivers. A series of Harry Potter films are an example. These movies have attracted children and adults all over the world alike due to its recreation and understandability factor. The more understandable the work is, the more popular it is with people and hence more is its value. There is also an example of fairy tales by a Denmark novelist Andersen. He has used understandable and vivid interpretation, which has influenced generations of young children in the world and even shed light on adult world.

However, at the same time, the artwork should not be only for monetary gain and lucrative and entertaining purpose. If it is so then the writer is correct in saying that these merits lie in popularity and understandability of art. Sometimes, the understandable artwork does well also. For example, due to popularity of Harry Potter films, numerous audiences were attracted to cinemas. This popularity has also benefited the author of the novel and now the audience and readers highly value the author as one of the most valuable novelists. However, there are many instances where several artistic works with great value cannot be understood and recognized by contemporary people. Sometimes, even the most sensitive critics are not able to work out and evaluate the true and actual value of the art. Therefore, it is simply not possible for the general public to understand its value, who do not receive particular trainings and specialized knowledge.

There are many examples where the artwork of many artists was not given due respect and recognization when the artist was alive. People just could not recognize their value. However, later on after their death, their work got place in the history of art. Van Gogh was a famous painter whose work was not acknowledged by people during his lifetime. He could sell only one of his paintings at a low price all over his career. However, decades later, people began to recognize the value of his paintings. Recently, two of his paintings have broken all records as they were sold at a price of 50 million dollars in an exhibition.

In the end, it can be said that people’s opinion may or may not influence the price and popularity of a certain artwork but it cannot change its merit.