The true test of the greatness of a work of art is its ability to be understood by the masses.
Write a response in which you discuss the extent to which you agree or disagree with the claim. In developing and supporting your position, be sure to address the most compelling reasons and/or examples that could be used to challenge your position.
The greatness of work of any art being gauged by its ability to be understood by the masses would mean putting a limitation, a kind of checkpoint to the value of that art which can seem to be unfair and hence, to certain extent I disagree with the stated claim.
Greatness of any work of art is measured by the amount of efforts that have gone in to make it what it is and the thoughts that substantiate it. As an example of this, if we have a painting that carries in it, the painter's immense passion and hard work in the form of sleepless nights and which holds great value for him, would we measure its greatness by the number of people who can interpret the thoughts in it ? What if people seeing it are oblivious to the purpose behind it. Would we call them capable enough to judge something just by the look of it ?
There have been many instances in history in the form of controversial books written by obscure authors, that caught very little attention in the beginning cause it wasn't taken by the masses very well but after giving it sometime, probably an event that could be related to it, its popularity surged. Here, we can not say that the book suddenly attained greatness or suddenly became worth reading only when people accepted it. It was a book before as well, the greatness lied in its ability to talk about relevant issues, its ability to arouse interest, and not in its ability to be understood by the masses. A book like Name of the Rose which considering the subject it deals with may not be comprehended by the masses but that sure does not undermine the greatness of the book or the author who could write it. People having knowledge about the subject it deals with would vouch for its greatness, regardless if the copies it sold were not innumerable like those of books that can be easily understood.
Ability to be understood by masses is a limitation put on the value of the art work as it could be considered enlightening by a given set of people but on the other hand considered nothing important by the other.
Art comes in various forms and it is only he who has the in depth knowledge of it can appreciate its value and it is only him who should hold the power of making judgements about its greatness.
My mother cooking a chicken dish for me would be great, but only if I am a non-vegetarian. It will not appeal a room full of vegetarians regardless of the possible fact that non-vegetarians could die for it. Thus, appeal to the masses is no way of gauging the greatness of a work of art. Its value being appreciated by a limited but knowledged few should be enough.
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