The Theories Presented By Tolstoy And Bell

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To categorize art by such vague criteria as expression and form would be difficult if it were not for the several prevailing theories presented by Tolstoy and Bell. According to Tolstoy’s theory of expression, something is art only if it successfully does the following. First, it must have been created with the intention of being art and revealed to an audience through a publicly accessible medium, even if the audience is a single individual. These mediums must be physical things such as shapes, actions, or words in order to be available to its viewers. Second, the medium of art must be an individualized work that has not been replicated or mass-produced. Third, he believes that the art must convey the feeling or emotion that the artist experienced while producing the art. This emotion must also be evoked within the audience. Lastly, the work must require self-mediation or clarification in order to be interpreted by said audience as art. As a result, a work is not required to be about something in order to be art. On the other hand, Bell offered the theory of formalism in order to determine if a work was art or not. According to Bell, a work is art if it is an artifact that possesses significant form without referencing what it represents. In this context, the “significant form” is the artistic value of the work that the author intended for the audience to recognize. Additionally, the work does not have to be created solely with the purpose of possessing significant form.

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