Art Forms/Functions: The visuals below are only a few imaginative and creative forms that may be considered art. The question, What is Art? can never be answered completely because cultural art forms are always evolving. Each new generation of human beings dance to their own drumbeat so to speak. Elders don’t always want culture change or agree with changes that are needed, but culture change still takes place. Human creativity and imagination seems to reach new heights with immigration, diffusion, travel, and innovation crossing all boundaries in our globalized world.
This lesson about Art and Culture is a simple introduction to the many facets of art. Whether to inspire or to act as a driving force in culture; whether for culture change or simply to carry on long-held traditions, art has not failed in its responsibility. Art enables us to make the statements, express the feelings, and raise our emotions like nothing else can.
The following links take you to two examples of art from two different cultures; but used for the same purpose. Many cultures use art to send off their dead to the after-world, or other-world, wherever that after-death world might be. These are beautiful examples of accompanying grave “furniture.”
1) The first example depicts discoveries near Stonehenge, the iconic cultural monument in England, with many mysteries to still explain. Discoveries near the ruins have given rise to theories of how and why Stonehenge may have been built, and what functions it supported. You may need to copy and paste the link into your browser.
2) The second example is a function of art much the same as the grave articles found near Stonehenge, only on a much grander scale. These soldiers and horses accompanied their emperor, Qin Shi Huangdi (221 BC) of China to guard and protect him on his journey to the after life. You may need to copy and paste the link into your browser.
The artistic visuals below show functions of art in various forms. They are shown here for your reference, pleasure, and further study if you so desire.
As you view the following visuals ask yourself the following questions. All of the questions may be relevant to all of the pictures – or only a few of the questions will be relevant to a few of the pictures.
Here are the questions: Take a screenshot of the questions or copy and paste them onto a Word Document and print them out in order to study further.
1. Is the picture historical? If it is, what does it tell you about that history?
2. Remember that culture is symbolic. What symbolic art form does the visual express?
3. Review the cultural characteristics which stand out: technology, clothing, setting, purpose. What does the art work tell us about the culture represented?
4. What natural resources are used to create the art piece or the depiction of the artistic performance?
5. What physical environment do you see in the picture, if any. Is it natural (nature) or synthetic?
6. How was the picture itself made? What is the physical environment surrounding the art work?
7. What functions of art and/or functions of culture can you formulate from the artists point of view?
8. How does the art piece interact with the viewer? What does it say about the times, the artist, or the purpose the artist is trying to create in his/her own era?
9. How does your own unique society and culture react to the art piece? Is the piece implying a needed change or a adhering to steadfast traditions?
10. What is the story that the art piece is telling? Is the story for the individual or the community?