The most important question in art

A brief post this time. The important question is of course: “Do you like it?”

I used to tell students that this was the most important question  in any art form and that the next most important question is “Why?” or  “Why not?” This usually started some good and sometimes heated discussion, getting them talking and thinking about what they were experiencing.Vinci,_Leonardo_da_(attributed)_-_La_Bella_Principessa_-_16th_c

I was reminded of this at the weekend, when I was reading about the alleged fake of a Da Vinci. The drawing ‘La Bella Principessa’ is said to be not by Leonardo but by Shaun Greenhalgh. Apparently if it is genuine, it could be worth £100m million. If not…..

It will probably come as no surprise that my reaction is: “Who cares?” Well, obviously the monetary value is of huge importance to owners. Apart from that, let’s apply the Important Questions. Well, yes, I do like it. Why? It’s light, delicate and rather prettily coloured. OK, this is not exactly top notch art criticism. But it’s a legitimate view, as is any view you might have.

I was very glad to read that Shaun Greenhalgh apparently feels ‘you should buy things because you like them, not because of the signature in the corner.” My thoughts exactly. I’m rather ashamed to say that I’ve tried too hard to like one or two Monets, just because he’s my favourite painter. Not that I’m buying any. And I must admit that- shock horror- I don’t like every record the Beatles made. Just because something is famous, or popular, doesn’t mean it’s good. That’s a subjective term in any art form. You, of course, may disagree. I’ll try to stick to my Important Questions.

Picture:Attributed to Leonardo da Vinci [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons



6 thoughts on “The most important question in art

  1. Sometimes, the question “Do you like it?” is not about liking the artwork itself, but the new cognitive or emotional state, in which the viewer finds him/herself after exposure to the artwork. I am afraid this undoubtedly most important question is too often mistaken for “would you hang this artwork on your wall?”

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