RE: Venetian Scales of Man

From: Philip Howison (
Date: Fri Feb 22 2002 - 02:37:14 MST

As someone who would like to become an artist, I can sympathise with your
viewpoint, Vanessa.
I would really like to make money by selling my art (of course, that would
not be my primary purpose),
but no matter how much they offered me I would not sell anything to people
who told me they wanted to
publicly burn my pictures!
Some of my thoughts on the matter:
A contract between artist and buyer in which the buyer gives the artist
access to their work,
and which forbids the buyer from destroying the work?
Keeping the original painting and selling copies of it as posters/greeting
cards etc etc etc?
Leasing the painting for a specified period?

However I cannot agree that art is entirely subjective.
(I am an Objectivist but I dont completely agree with Ayn Rands theories on
art, great artist though she was.
My view is that art has 2 purposes- 1 beauty, 2 to make you think about/look
at things a different way.
IMO Ayn Rands books acheive both.)
Obviously all people have different experiences, different tastes, different
All people look at life in slightly different ways. But there are things
which most people
find beautiful. Example- someone draws a picture depicting a decomposing
corpse, and
another paints a happy person enjoying life.
Very few people would say that the 1st one is more valuable or more
Another example is more biological- most humans of the same sexuality find
the same features attractive,
of course with individual variations of taste and often with a preference
for the same race.
I would find it hard to believe that someone could find a portrait of a
particularly unattractive, deformed,
unhealthy person more beatiful or valuable than a picture of someone who
conforms to a reasonably objective
standard of beauty.
Maybe you think this is narrow-minded, but I think there can be an objective
standard of worth, if not beauty.

The other thing, I cant understand why you think the audience determines the
value of a work.
I only ever draw because I want to, because it is significant to me.
what good is the art, even if noone sees it? The satisfaction and pride that
the artist feels.
Only one sort of art has a particular function to someone other than the
artist, that is architecture.


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