Function of Art and Painting on People

In the late nineteenth century, we find art beginning to be discussed by certain critics and art historians largely in formal terms which effectively




removed the question of meaning and purpose from consideration. From then on, art was to be discussed in terms of style – color, line, shape, space,

composition conveniently ignoring or playing down whatever social, political, progressive e the artist had hoped to make in his or her work.

This approach became pervasive to the extent that artists, too, certainly the weaker ones and even some of the strong ones, lost sight of the purpose

of progressive art and became absorbed into this formalist way of thinking about art.




The defence of this attitude was that as the function of art is to preserve and enhance the values and sensibilities of civilized human beings, it

should attempt to remain aloof from the malignant influences of an increasingly cross and dehumanizing technological culture. Eventually there emerged

the notion that modernist art is practiced entirely within a closed formalist sphere, necessarily separated from, so as not to be contaminated by the




real world.



In this context David Walsh discussion about the immediate background seems relevant. According to him society was the cause of the generation of this

line of thought. Between 1837 and 1901 England went through a rapid change in society. Industrialization resulted in an affluent middle class and

growing poverty as farm workers were forced to the cities. Scientific discoveries were challenging traditional religious beliefs. By the end of th