The link between art and politics

The art has been defined as the manifestation of imagination of the human being, who shapes real objects that sensitize him. For its part, politics, in a broad sense, has been defined as activity interested in managing the public affairs of a company.

Thus, according to his concepts, art and politics are communication exercises. And, as a communication at last, they require followers, their audience, with whom the artist and the politician identify.

Therefore, art and politics could be considered concepts that have been linked throughout human history. Politics has always needed a staging, an artistic expression that accompanies political discourse. Or rather, the staging has also been part of the discourse. A visual or audiovisual speech.

In turn, art has made use of politics, using it as a theme and as a connection with a certain human group. Art as a means of social awareness.

Art and politics: is the link obvious?

There are those who argue that art and politics are not linked because their objectives differ. It seems that the attempts to unlink them arise from the aesthetic reflection that is made on one and the other.

Art is linked to the aesthetic and imaginary expression that the artist has of his object of attention.

Politics has always been seen as a ruse, as an aesthetic deception of reality. However, these could be reductionist ways of understanding art and politics since, as stated, both are forms of effective communication with a community.

Art and politics in history

The concepts of art and politics have changed over time, although more in their application than in their proper definition. Both have been subject to changing historical and cultural moments and contexts. This fact could suggest that the link between them has not always been the same. That their relationship has been mutating from ancient Greek culture to the present day. And to politics and art, religion must be added as another cultural factor that has influenced society.

Therefore, art and politics – and religion – cannot be seen as autonomous activities. They constitute a complex plot of public demonstrations framed in a historical and cultural context that modulates it. They are based on the representation of the reality of the moment, portrayed from the vision of the artist or from the vision of the politician. And each one can go from the closest and most palpable representation of reality, to a euphemistic representation, with which the message is said without saying.

Art in politics

What is clear is that the finish for him art and the politics is the communication of a message. And, through the chosen medium, the author seeks expand scope of your message.

For this, in the case of the politician, they usually resort to artistic practices or procedures to increase the effectiveness of their message. Thus, visual, oral or written expression is chosen depending on the message and the receiving public. Also of the moment. All the representation that accompanies each message will have an implicit aesthetic and functional sense about the reality that the politician wants to show. In that representation all the elements fit.

Two examples allow us to illustrate the use of art in politics. The first, taken from the 1937 Paris International Exhibition. This exhibition was used as political showcase by the Second Spanish Republic. In her, The Guernica It was presented as a protest propaganda against the German bombings on this Basque town. The emblematic work, commissioned from Picasso, was a faithful reflection of the political situation in the country during the civil war.

The second, more recent example corresponds to the financing offered by the Spanish government to help with the remodeling of the room. XX of the Palace of Nations from the ONU. The reason given by the government of the day was to give support for culture abroad. However, the controversy over the relevance of said aid was also triggered at a time of a great economic crisis that the country was going through.

The political message in art

Not only the politician uses art as a form of expression. The artist also makes use of his work to show more or less explicitly some political tendency.

Perhaps the artist has the advantage of the wide spectrum of possibilities with which to transform reality into an aesthetic message. For this, it seeks to represent the everyday life of the existing reality in more varied ways. However, in turn, you run the risk that this versatility could dilute your message.

Although the artistic work responds to a temporal context with its own political characteristics, it doesn’t have to lose its artistic value over time. Under new circumstances and in other contexts of reality, it can awaken new sensations in the observer.

Examples of this are unnecessary:

  • The decoration of the Sistine Chapel, led by Michelangelo, responded to a request made by the Papacy which, as an economic power, also demonstrated its political power.
  • Wave Divine Comedy, which at the time represented the religious faith of its author, Dante Alighieri, and his moral and philosophical convictions.
  • Also, the box The Immaculate Conception of the Venerable. In this, Murillo venerates the divinity and virginity of the Virgin, highlighted since the Council of Trent by the Catholic Church, and rejected by Protestantism. Each of the historical contexts in which they were made gives value and meaning to each one.

Art and politics – and religion – have been basic and relevant human activities in every human community from the beginning. The need for a representation of the surrounding reality at each stage has led to the constant link between art and politics. A changing bond in its form, but always present.

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