Core Exam Sample Questions Essay

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1.Consider this theory (modified from Tolstoy): The purpose of art is to communicate the mental state of the artist (be it an emotion, an idea, or otherwise) so that that mental state is accurately reproduced in the audience (be it listener, viewer, reader, etc.). As such, the sole or central determinate criterion in whether a work of art is good is whether (and the degree to which) the work reliably leads to an accurate reproduction of that state. Explore this theory. For example: Is the theory compelling? Why or why not? Is the theory viable? Does it run into problems, and if so, can they be solved? Note that the theory is meant to apply to all the arts, and so your exploration should at the very lease involve examples from theater, the visual arts, and music. Although the existence of art is evident all around us, justifying the existence and purpose of art is no easy task. The justification of art is particularly pressing when public money is being used to fund the production and dissemination of art works. Some theorists have stressed the cognitive value of art works, others the sense of community they may foster. However, there are people who think that those goals may be achieved without the benefit of works of art, by other means (a general education, community meetings such as church services, etc.) How would you go about justifying the production and dissemination of works of art? Are there particular works in theater, music, literature, dance, or the visual arts that provide evidence for your view? As you outline your position, make sure you address what some previous theorists have said on this topic, and how your answer differs from or develops their ideas. Historically, artists have been, and still are, the target of censorship efforts, often because of objections to the moral message carried by their work. In ancient and contemporary

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