Saturday, February 16, 2013

Art Is . . . ?

In Tolkien’s lecture “On Fairy-Stories,” he defines art as the “operative link between Imagination and the final result, Sub-creation.” According to this definition, the making of art depends upon the artist’s urge to portray novel ideas, which are anchored in the artist’s mind. Do you suppose then that Tolkien would have considered photographs or portraits of real people to be true “art,” or do you think that a photographer’s or painter’s ability to see such subjects would prevent those works from bearing the name of true “art”?      


Michael Lott said...

I think that Tolken had a large emphasis on the pure imagination as a key to both fairy tails and to real life. Due to this I would have to say that it depends on the type of portrait or picture that you are thinking of. A portrayal of a building that someone had already built does not represent any new imagination on the part of the artist, it only shows that of another person. However, a portrait that shows a view unique to the author such as of a lightning storm or might have been considered as art by him. In addition to this, though, I doubt he would have considered photography as art as it does not represent much in the way of imagination or creativity on the part of the artist.

Julie Lautenschleger said...

From the readings, I would almost venture to say that Tolkien might consider that to the artists who created the art, it is true art. This is because, for the artist, it required a great deal of imagination and thought to create such a work. However, for those viewing the work, it requires no imagination whatsoever, and so to them it is not "art." However, in both cases, the mind's images are made concrete and unchangeable. Both diminish the ability for imagination and creativity.