3 Categories of Functions of Art:
1.Physical 2.Personal 3.Social
1. Physical Function
Works of art that are created to perform some service have physical functions. Types of art that have physical function:
Architecture Crafts Industrial Design
Saltcellar of Francis I
by Italian sculptor and goldsmith Benvenuto Cellini, 1554
However wonderful the craftsmanship of a Fijian war club may be, it was created to perform the physical function of smashing skulls.
This Fijian war club was designed to drive or peck a neat hole through the enemy's skull, the weight of the bulky head being concentrated in the point of the beak. These clubs were also used in open battle, to kill wounded enemies, to execute offenders, and sometimes to
A Japanese raku bowl is art that performs a physical function in the tea ceremony.
2. Personal Function The personal functions of art vary from person to person. COMMON PERSONAL FUNCTIONS:
for self-expression, or gratification. for communicating a thought or point to the viewer. for providing an aesthetic experience, both for self and viewers.
for "merely" entertaining others.
for adorning one’s self
3. Social Function
Art has social functions when it addresses aspects of life, as opposed to one person's point of view or experience. Family Socio-cultural Economic Political Religious
Holocaust Memorial George Segal, 1984
Novels of Dr. Jose Rizal that ignited the flame of patriotism in the hearts of the Filipinos during the Spanish Colonization.
Aesthetic function – through art, man becomes conscious of the beauty of nature. He benefits from his own work and from those done by his fellowmen. He learns to use, love, and preserve them for his enjoyment and appreciation.
Utilitarian function – with the creation of the various forms of art, man now lives in comfort and happiness. Through art, man is provided with shelter, clothing, food, light, medicine, beautiful surroundings, personal ornamentals, entertainment, language, transportation, and other necessities and conveniences of life. Art not only enriches man’s life but also improves nature through landscape gardening, creation of superhighways and through propagation of natural resources.
Cultural function – through the printed matter, art transmits and preserves skills and knowledge from one generation to another. It burdens one’s cultural background and makes man more civilized and his life more enduring and satisfying.
THE FUNCTION OF ART An address by His Holiness Pope Pius XII to a group of Italian artists received in audience on April 8, 1952.
The function of all art lies in fact in breaking through the narrow and tortuous enclosure of the finite, in which man is immerged while living here below, and in providing a window to the infinite for his hungry soul.
The Christian Vocation of the Artist
The artist is of himself a privileged person among men, but the Christian artist is, in a certain sense, a chosen one, because it is proper to those chosen to contemplate, to enjoy and to express God's perfections.
Seek God here below in nature and in man, but above all within yourselves.
Do not vainly try to give the human without the divine, nor nature without its Creator. Harmonize instead the finite with the infinite, the temporal with the eternal, man with God, and thus you will give the truth of art and the true art.