The Purposes and Functions of Art

Art is a very wide subject basically defined as a process that normally involves arrangement of elements in such a way to make an effect on emotions and senses. It can also be defined as the act of application or expression of creative talent and imagination that is brought out through a visual medium for example sculpture or painting. Art comprises a varied range of human activities, inventions and ways of expressions. Music, film, sculpture, paintings, drawings, literature all make up art.  Art has so many purposes and functions in life today and in the past too. Art serves several purposes and functions all at the same time. Art can be used as a great tool to pass information to people. It can be used as a tool of inspiration, making people to be delighted, awaked or even aroused. Art can be used to make people change conceptions about things around them. For instance it can be used to challenge people to see and think in different ways and helps people in development of personal sense of truth and beauty. Art can also be used to have a negative effect to the intended group for instance it can be used to humiliate, anger or even deceive people.

Art is great tool for communicating information to people. The fact that art has the ability to make a statement or expression that can be understood by a wide range of audience, it is considered an important tool used to pass information and ideas. In history of religion in Europe, cathedrals used pieces of art such as stone sculptures and stained glass windows to give bible stories and teachings to its followers mainly thought to be illiterate. An example of this function of art is how the Chartres Cathedral in France uses the stained glass window a mode of art to give an illustration of the genealogy of Jesus. Art has also been used in recording and keeping of information for posterity purposes. As a tool of passing on information from one generation to the other, art has been used to inform people both the illiterate and literate around the world. The use of modern art photography and film has served a great part in recording and communication of information. Words alone do not carry enough weight in presentation of information and the use of art is considered more memorable in people minds and more accessible too.

Pleasure and efficiency are considered important things in ones life and art serves to bring this to life. There are several artistic objects and things that are considered to generate pleasure and efficiency in life. There are artistic things in certain communities and societies considered to delight the eye and represent the communities taste and way of life. There are certain community attributes that can be represented by artistic designs of different communal objects. An example is well decorated ancient Persian dish where through its artistic decoration and writings, the generosity and hospitality of the Persians can be seen. This is another form of art used to pass information.

Actually most of the things that we use in the world today are products of art. Visual arts are considered to comprise all human creations where visual form has been a great consideration in their production and design. In daily life, people use many objects and occupy significant spaces. The objects that are used by people in daily living are products of art having been designed and produced by artists and designers. When one thinks of bringing up a building whether for commercial or individual use art must be involved through design of the building. Art is part of human daily life. Several decisions we make in our daily life involve art and design. When furnishing and arranging living spaces, when choosing clothes to wear, when choosing how to style ones hair art is actively involved.

Art has been used in worship and ritual in the society both in the past and in the present. Art is considered to have a spiritual component in many cultures and societies. Many major world religions have used art to instill inspiration and give the necessary instructions to its followers. Many artistic carvings and sculptures are thought to have been motivated by spiritual purposes. Art is believed to have existed way before the introduction of writing and hence served as an important tool in recording of information. Art was used to serve some sort of scientific or religious functions. Famous artistic structures constructed in the past in ancient England as worship places comprising of huge boulders that were designed to surround an altar stone. Most of these artistic structures aligned with extraterrestrial things like the sun or moon movements and were thought serve spiritual functions and show the people their place in the celestial cycle. Many things that are designed for ritual use are usually artistically designed to look precious and hence become appropriate to be used in ceremonies that are considered divine. Objects such as the American Chalice were designed by American artist to radiate warm light. Its artistic design to take a human form represents the belief by Christians that Christ is present in the ritual. In Africa for instance, art has a spiritual emphasis where worshippers use items in rituals in order to attract the gods. Art is therefore used to fulfill many needs of people in the world comprising of personal needs to spiritual needs.          

Art can also be used for personal expression. Art can be used to expose people who do art revealing their heritage to people. Rembrandt Van Rijn a Dutch artist used paintings, drawings and prints to express his attitude towards life and perception on life. Rembrandt used his own face as a resource in the study of life and he painted and made drawings of self portraits. Art is also an important tool for social cause. Values and public opinions in the society are criticized or influenced through the work of artists. An example is how Francisco Goya an artist expressed anger over Napoleonic wars that were experienced in his country. Rembrandt tried to indicate his displeasure and anger on the works of someone that caused heavy destructions and many number of deaths in his own country.