It is not a secret that modern art is sold for fortune in the auction houses and attracts plenty of visitors to the galleries. Moreover, it gives a rise to lengthy discussions about what the author meant by his or her work and provokes heated disputes as to whether the work can be called “art” at all. In most cases, such reaction appears either when the public does not get the artist’s message or does not agree with it.
In the case of Duchamp, the viewers failed to understand what the artist meant to say by his “Nude Descending a Staircase”. Since the painting is so different from the traditional art which you grasp by simply looking at it, many people could not see any coherent picture in Duchamp’s chaotically scattered lines and spots. However, if to consider the artist’s intentions, the picture becomes very clear. His idea was to reproduce human motion as it is. Due to the artist’s technique, the lines “flow” one into another, therefore, it seems that the nude is moving when you look at it, and in no time she will simply recede from the view. Interestingly, Duchamp’s idea was soon adapted by the Lumiere brothers who created a well-known motion picture which means that his work has not only the aesthetic value.
Unlike Duchamp, Michelangelo stated his conception very clearly. The contemporary viewers understood that his “David” symbolized Michelangelo’s disapproval of the Medici family. It goes without saying that many people had preferences different from those of Michelangelo, thus “David” got mixed reaction. Nowadays, when the political context is unfamiliar to the public, the sculpture is valued for its aesthetic and historical significance.
To sum up, modern art encourages critical thinking and analysis. Its unpredictable, innovative and sometimes contradictory ideas may be difficult to comprehend. However, a careful study of the artist’s intentions may be the key to understanding of the contemporary masterpieces.