Art is Subjective, You Say?

by Austin Gravley

is art subjectiveI have been wanting to write a post on this subject for a while,  but I have not been able to bring myself to do it for various reasons. But, thanks to a recent story from CNN, I have the perfect example to use to make a post about this subject.

CNN reported a few days ago that a famous painting of Jesus Christ, known as "Ecce Homo" (Latin for "behold the man"), underwent a restoration from it’s deteriorated state in a church in Spain. Below is the picture of the original painting, it’s deteriorated state, and it’s "restoration"

Did you laugh at the restoration? It’s okay if you did – I know I laughed at it. It’s goofy and bizarre. But, I want to use this to raise a point about art: is art subjective, or are there objective standards to art?

I want to posit that if art is truly a subjective enterprise, then the restoration on the right could be considered just as much a masterpiece (in the eyes of the parishioner who restored it) as the original painting itself. But does that idea not seem ludicrous? Compared to the original painting, the restoration is hideous…


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