Does a work of art obtain its merit from the people understanding of it?
The prompt suggests that any type of art must have first been understandable by society in order to gain merit. In my opinion, I strongly disagree with the suggestion and argue that any work of art must be original to have merit regardless of the people understanding because most original artworks are beyond the understanding of pedestrian minds. To begin with, a work that is considered as art must be in the first place a unique piece of work. In other words. art is unique and this uniqueness cannot always be pellucid to the general public. Thus, If it was to the public to give merits to any work of art, most of the eminent songs, poems, paints or films are not given the chance to have the spotlight needed to expand further understanding among the people. Take, for example, Mona Lisa of Leonardo Da Vinci is one of the most renowned paintings in the world. If it was first seen by the general public it would hold much credit because it is simply a portrait of a woman. The people of that time were not in a position to adjudicate whether the painting would deserve the merit that it has today. Only art experts have seen through their skilled lenses that the Mona Lisa is a special portrait and have started to analyze it with much more pellucid interpretations to the people. The above example illustrates that the merit is not in hand of most people to grant it because they lack the skills needed to understand it at first sight. Additionally, even though most people are in a position to grant merit to any artwork because they understand the meaning of it, it does not necessarily imply that other works of art that are not understandable, at the moment, must be disregarded and deprived of the merit they deserve. For instance, the famous character in marvels, wonder woman. Years ago, this work of art was not having much merit among the people. Superheroes in the past were represented by men characters. So the appearance of the new hero as a woman would take much appreciation today than in the past because the definition of the role of women in society has changed. Decades ago, the woman had not versatile roles as man, but with the rising movement of women in society. People tend more to accept and give merit to such work of art. The example demonstrates that today's people view is not the same as tomorrow's view of the same artwork because the circumstances and the environment change with time. Indeed, the work of art reflects society. In order to obtain the legitimacy and the merit of the work of art, the latter must earn recognition from the people that must understand it. Yet the same understanding of the people could not be an easy task; people would dismiss it swiftly without any debate. Therefore, any piece of art must be given the right amount of time and the right minds that would elucidate the meaning for the public. In conclusion, those who argue that art must be understandable by most people in order to have merit are shortsighted. In fact, the merit of work of art is not necessarily measured by the understanding of people. Not only it is harmful to the artists' minds in associating the merit with people's understanding, but also to the long-term benefit of original work perpetuity. We should always encourage without reducing the merit only because it is incomprehensible to the majority of people.
Submitted by mahmoud djeb on