Art plays an important part in my life. In fact, my interest to art has started growing since my childhood. I remember the day, when my father brought me to the Art Gallery in my home city and I was really admired looking paintings of different artists of the 19th century. I was particularly impressed by landscape paintings of American artists. Their works of art had a significant impact on the development of my aesthetic tastes, although they have changed in the course of time.
On recalling my first art experiences I recall the painting. In the Woods (1855) is a sample of the American landscape painting of the mid-19th century. At the same time, the paining preserved basic elements of the traditional landscape art and incorporated specific environment of American landscapes, which the painter attempted to convey in his work. In this regard, the author focuses the attention of the audience on the small spot in the woods, where as small creek waves throughout the wood. The author depicts the creek on the foreground but the creek seems to be so small against the powerful forest that raises up over the creek. The forest is depicted in the background and in the center of the painting raise up into the sky and closing the sky almost completely from the viewer. The trees seem to be old, whereas some trunks have fallen and lie across the creek running through the forest. At the same time, along with old trees, new ones rise up and grow next to old and decaying trunks. It seems as if the forest is swapping around the viewer’s head. The trunks of trees depicted closer to the viewer. The forest is just hanging over the small creek and far in the background it is possible to see a spot of light, which opens vague, light horizon somewhere behind the trees. In fact, In the Woods is close to the traditional American landscape painting. For instance, compared to Cross in the Mountains, In the Woods symbolizes the power of nature. At the same time, Cross in the Mountains may bear some religious meaning because it depicts the cross high in the mountains close to the sky. However, the light far in the background of In the Woods may also imply the divine impact, the creationist implication that the woods and the nature is the creature of God.
However, my interest to landscape painting being profound did not last forever. In contrast, as I grew older, I grew more and more interested in the modern art because it had the variety of forms and styles, while many paintings challenged conventional norms and traditional perception of art. For instance, I recall my first acquaintance with paintings created by Mark Chagall. In fact, it was a sort of discovery for me because I have discovered the new art and the new form, which I have not seen in classical paintings. At the same time, Chagall’s painting taught me to respect other cultures, contributed to the development of tolerance in my views on art and stimulated vivid interest to works of European artists, such as Pablo Picasso, Piet Mondrian, and Andy Warhole. The latter artist also had a considerable impact on the development of my aesthetic tastes. In fact, his works helped me to understand that art can be close to average people and what is more important, he showed that it is possible to create great, aesthetically valuable works of art, which are close and comprehensible to the mass audience. However, I would like to place emphasis on the fact that, in my opinion, Andy Warhole did not descend art to the masses of people but he rather attempted to use the full power of art to create attractive paintings to make the art closer to the masses of people.
In such a context, my personal aesthetic views evolved and changed. In fact, on looking back into my aesthetic development, I understand that I have passed through three stages. The first stage was my admiration with American landscape paintings, which mesmerized me with their great power of nature and solemn beauty. The second stage was my acquaintance with paintings by Chagall, which helped to perceive art in all its diversity of forms and styles. My aesthetic tastes became more diverse and tolerant. Finally, the last stage was the period of my admiration with works created by Andy Warhole, who taught me that art is not a privilege but it is a sort of public good and average people can admire works of art as well as connoisseurs and professional artists do but artists should just choose the proper form to deliver art to masses of people.
Thus, today, I appreciate art, especially visual art, and I have a strong need to satisfy my aesthetic tastes. So, I attend art galleries on the regular basis and I always have a critical but tolerant view on any work of art.
Williams, G. Rhetoric. New York: Random House, 2008.