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Sunday, February 7, 2021


Most human endeavors, including art, serve some function. The prehistoric pictograms found on rocks and caves show people and animals and tell a story. Medieval European paintings showed people and events concerning religion. In the periods following the Middle Ages portraits of people who could afford to commission them were painted as well as pictures of secular as well as religious scenes. The invention of the camera took away the function of the painting as a means of visiually recording people and events. But it also freed the artists from strict adherance to realism. First came the Impressionists whose drawings still contained realism but without strict adherance to color and form. Later, in the 20th Century, abstract art came on the scene, where a drawing was appreciated for its beauty without depicting anything or not looking to the casual eye like what it was depicting. Then the camera itself became art with more realism.

Jewelry, dishes, vessels, and other objects with a function other than art itself have been adorned with abstract art throughout the centuries going back to prehistoric times as well as with pictures of people, animals, and plants. Architecture serves the function of providing shelter but also can be art. Images have been carved into the walls of some buildings while others display their beauty abstractly.
Art must have some kind of beauty to be art. Beauty can be pretty or it can at times be a harsh beauty, but it should evoke an emotion of some kind other than its pure function.
See for examples of handcrafted glass beads and jewelry art that are functional and often abstract.
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