Above: L`Homme au doigt (Pointing Man) by Alberto Giacometti (1947, bronze), currently the most valuable sculpture in the world. It was sold in 2015 for 141,3 million USD.
Why on earth this statue is so expensive?
Because it is a great piece of art, created by a prodigious person, or mostly due to some favorable circumstances?
Maybe it`s more proper just to contemplate it than to ask?
I admit, there is something mesmerizing about this object (for me), and – definitely – it`s not only the matter of the shocking price.
There are two fundamental views with respect to the issue mentioned in the title.
The first opinion has been preserved in the ancient myth of Orpheus and Euridice: the real art is able to move absolutely everyone, in this case even the merciless monster Cerberus, and the somber Ruler of the Underworld himself, Hades.
The second view is also very old, it was elegantly expressed in 1946 by Austrian composer Arnold Schoenberg (1894-1951) in the sentence: „if it is art, it is not for all, and if it is for all, it is not art.”
Which approach is the right?
Is it right at all to ask the question above?
One thing is almost certain here: it would be an extremely difficult task to propose such definition of art (and of an artist, respectively) which could be generally agreed upon.
I`ve thought about a hypothetical situation in the future: year 2500 (for instance): a group of archaeologists has found a random collection of items from our epoch, containing i.a. a few highly valuable sculptures, and some everyday objects. They don`t know that. Given the fact that all information about these sculptures have been lost, could it be probable that people living in the distant future would – sooner or later – recognize them as the masterpieces of their ancestors? If yes, would they also appreciate them as the great works of art?