The Importance Of Death In Art

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By nature, before anything else, art is a reflective medium. However, in extension to describing the commonalities of life, its function extends to transforming the contours of the world - especially in a socio-political context - by gathering exposure to certain issues and manipulating emotion. Art describes the world by default, but the tendency of this characteristic to leak into political implications is unavoidable. Whether in terms of culture, religion, or politics, art often describes aspects of life that are shared by all. For example, death is one of the few experiences in life that is common to everybody regardless of their position in the world. Consequently, people across all cultures have - through art - expressed views on death that are in some aspects universal. In particular, many cultures glorify or romanticise death through artistic expression; Western songs like Led Zeppelin’s “Stairway to Heaven” or “Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door” by Guns N’ Roses employ poetic analogies to portray death as being pure, characterised not by the melancholy but by feelings of peace, and images of light and holiness. Similarly, in old Japanese portrayals of death in art - namely through kusozu, a kind of art which visually depicts a corpse in the different stages of decomposition (“A 19th Century Study of Decomposition”) - the dead body is often…show more content…
This is because two of the most fluid ways of knowing, emotion and sense perception, are integral to the appreciation of art. Each of these are affected by a number of factors - for example, biases, expectations, and cultural perspectives. Therefore, no two people perceive one piece of art - never mind an experience - in the same way. This does not limit the power of art to describe the world, but rather it strengthens it. It becomes suggestive that artistic expression truly has no bounds if met with a diverse group of

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