Art: Surface And Symbol Essay

737 words - 3 pages

Ethics in aesthetic work is an issue widely discussed among writers and philosophers, and Arnold and Wilde are no exception to this rule. While Wilde's focus is placed on the necessity of morality in writing, and Arnold's is placed on the necessity of morality in society, they both find common ground in culture. They both believe there is hope in those that are cultured as a result of art, thus both siding with the belief that art, whether for art's sake or for society's sake, is both beautiful and useful.
The usefulness of art is a topic that many choose to disagree upon, and those that do, most commonly state 'art for art's sake' as the biggest opposition to art's practicality. However ...view middle of the document...

Whether or not this depiction of life in art is beautiful is a matter of the artist's skill, and whether it is useful, is in my opinion correlated to its beauty.
Wilde believes morality in art to be essential to the process of creation, as he says 'The moral life of man forms part of the subject-matter of the artist, but the morality of art consists in the perfect use of an imperfect medium.' He believes, the morality or ethics, play no role in the beauty of art. Arnold, in his essay Culture and Anarchy, argues that culture and art as such are important to the moral education of society, thus placing an important role on morality of art. According to Arnold human perfection is what society strives for and it is based according to him on 'beauty and worth of human nature' , thus unifying morality and beauty. However, morality in art, whether it is a depiction of ethically correct or incorrect elements, serves a purpose. We are brought back to the issue of usefulness in art, since a moral or immoral work of art, is still useful if not only in society's...

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