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Philosophy Of Art

Philosophy Of Art

Creative writing, filmmaking, painting, sculpting, singing and dancing are just some examples of things that most of us link to the word “art”.

Still, there are four ways in which we can examine whether a particular “art” has fulfilled its role and purpose or not. These four ways are imitationalism, formalism, instrumentalism, and emotionalism.


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Imitationalism: Believing in the “imitation”

The key principle of imitationalism is that authentic art should imitate actual shapes. This philosophy of art says that more an art piece looks like it was right in front of the viewers’ eyes, the more that piece becomes decent art.

Other art aspects also play parts even though the eyes (or the overall visuals) often become the primary things that belong to the imitationalism’s judgment. For instance, the textures, light adjustments, proportions, and perspectives, should mimic the actual shapes as much as possible.


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Formalism: More emphasis on the visual aspects

Formalism is somewhat similar to imitationalism in the way that formalist artists emphasize the visual aspects of the art. Nonetheless, the formalism perspective judges the arts in a more detailed manner in terms of their visual aspects.

So, people who follow formalism ideas will judge art based on its line qualities, color compositions, and other relevant elements and principles. After all, this philosophy of art believes art is only good when it fulfils the creative ways and what it looks like to the audience.


275 reads



Instrumentalism: Focusing on the message

An instrumentalism perspective judges art in different ways than the first two perspectives. Instrumentalist artists will judge art based on what messages is it trying to convey rather than the visuals or how “realistic” it appears.

Therefore, we can find instrumentalist artists in various sectors, such as politics, economics, sociology, and more. These artists believe the most magnificent arts are the thought-provoking ones. In other words, these arts should spark healthy discussions and debates among the viewers.


231 reads



Emotionalism: Evoking the emotional responses

Both instrumentalist and emotionalist artists pay more attention to the messages behind the arts than they do on the form. This attribute makes them different from artists who follow the formalist or the imitationalist perspectives.

This aspect is the thing that makes it different from instrumentalism. So an emotionalist artist will see art as a great art if it invokes a person’s emotional reaction. In other words, the arts are judged as “decent” when the person seeing them feels happy, sad, awkward, and more, after sensing the arts in different ways


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One main philosophy of art is often not enough for a person to judge it. Most people fall into two categories of a perspective. For example, a person can have a mixture of instrumentalism and imitationalism. As a result, they judge art based on whether it can probe into the audiences’ thoughts but also based on how each element resembles the actual stuff.

At the same time, people almost always have one perspective that is least important to them. Such a perspective means they don’t pay attention to that aspect when they judge art.


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