What is it that attracts people to art? Some say it is "the soul of the artist" in his art that moves them. But what's the soul?
Whatever one likes to call that mysteriously deep gut feeling of the artist for what is beautiful I firmly believe that it relates to something that we are not conscientious of but that nevertheless resides in ourselves.
I mean to say that our biological code (DNA) contains the memory of the near infinite chain of evolutionary steps that led to us Homo Sapients. The principle of life stores in its DNA (its program) the entirety of its evolutionary road and passes this information down to the next generations. In opposition to the ugliness that casts the rejected possibilities of change the successfully retained ones appear fantastically beautiful for no other reason that they appear to be the direct causes of our being here today. We are here today as the result of a chain of cascading successes in evolutionary changes that started sometime 4000 million years ago. Over the long haul those successes formed patterns of beautiful lines, colors, forms, sounds, smells and so on. See the following It's official: art makes you happy - video, Brain scans reveal the power of art, Scientists ponder beauty and the eye of the beholder, Brain Response to Classical and Renaissance Sculptures, Beauty is in the brain of the beholder, Denis Dutton: A Darwinian theory of beauty
* for whatever reason the artist feels compelled to reproduce in his works the beauty found in those patterns that each of us inherited genetically but are unconscious of.
* for whatever reason each individual the world over is unconsciously drawn to whatever reflects the beauty found in those patterns that each of us inherited genetically but are unconscious of.
As a definition of what art is all about I posit that "from the down of time till sometime around 1900 visual signs were giving meaning for all to share and that meaning was contained in the worldview of the men of knowledge of the day". But what is ultimately the most important is the level of success of this sharing. Is it not?
It is in the nature of life to trick its individual particles to do what is functionally necessary for preserving and developing life through the procurement of pleasure.
- Sex is searched for the pleasure that it procures but in the end sex serves the reproduction of the specie
- food is searched for the pleasure procured by its intake but in the end food serves the reproduction of the individual.
- beauty is searched for the pleasure procured to the mind but in the end beauty serves to glue the societal atoms behind a common worldview in order to enhance societal cohesion which is indispensable to ensure the reproduction of societies.
The mechanism that I describe here is universal. We find it at work over the long haul history in all cultures on earth.
When this mechanism fails as today in Late-Modernity it means the canary has died in the societal mine... sensitive to that signal sages reach for the mountain tops!