Home » Languages » English (Sr. Secondary) » Essay, Paragraph or Speech on “Art and Morality” Complete Essay, Speech for Class 10, Class 12 and Graduation and other classes.

Essay, Paragraph or Speech on “Art and Morality” Complete Essay, Speech for Class 10, Class 12 and Graduation and other classes.

Art and Morality

For a satisfactory discussion of the interrelationship of ac and morality, it is necessary to clarify the fundamentals clarify both.

Art is man’s effort to represent life either in painting, poetry, music, sculpture or even in architecture. Painting poetry and music, which are the universal media of self-expression, are called “fine arts”. The human psyche has bee-affected by the morality for ages. There is revealed morality as enjoined upon by scriptures, conventional morality sanctioned by usage and customs and the natural morality, which is in conformity with the laws of nature and is related to instinctive desires and their fulfillment.

Of the three schools of morality, only the conventional and natural moralities are in general acceptance. By their origins and nature, these overlap each other. Their fusion has evolved a morality, which is universally accepted and observed in modern society. This is the social code for the modern man.

The blend of nature and customs has almost universally held the field, both in life and in arts. With diversity in nature and temperament, this view also has three branches: idealistic; realistic; and impressionistic. As the term indicates, the idealistic theory believes in those arts only which give the best and thus, inspire pictures of life. It thinks that evil and ugly things are already there to make us unhappy. The purpose of art is to provide an escape from them and stress only upon those that are good and desirable. The function of art is to create temporary heaven on earth. Milton, Tennyson and Browning are the literary examples of such artists.

Their creations present the grace and grandeur of life. Paradise Lost justifies the ways of God to man and infuses divinity into humanity. Tennyson elevates us with faith and inspires us to join in the divine event towards which the whole creation moves. Browning fills us with courage to face the battle of life, “for the best is yet to be. Wordsworth sees to spiritualise the entire creation.

In Indian literature, as is true in the literary creations of the world, our values and sense of morality are fully portrayed through different genres— poetry, prose and drama. People quote the stories of Nala and Damyanti, Raja Harishchandra, incidents from the Mahabharata and the Ramayana to justify their actions sometimes, literature is wrongly interpreted to justify immoral actions. Politicians hoodwink themselves out of ticklish situations, saying that the Lord Krishna himself stooped to a low position as described in the Gita.

Shakespeare is the classical realist. All his characters seem to be similar to us. We do not have to go far to find a Hamlet or a Lear in real life. Everything that Shakespeare says and shows exists in nature and man. He merely draws our attention towards it. Who can forget Portia, Viola and a Cordelia? They are essential to us and are the grace of life. With all their excellence, they are natural enough to be associated with. Shakespearean realism depicts the beauty and grace of the emotional and intellectual aspects of life.

Realism in literature respected connection in so far as the latter was in tune with nature. Indeed, movement towards the natural and the human has been the trend of all the arts and literary works. Society or home cannot force the people to take decisions and judge in most of the matters. In the same way, whether one would marry, make a home or enter the life of the Church is one’s own choice. Charles Reed has beautifully depicted the struggles between the cloister and the hearth as well as their disruptive effects on life and society. He gave a lesson to humanity regarding the rigidity of the medieval code of social morals and was successful in establishing the supremacy of personal freedom and personal judgement in all matters—temporal or spiritual. And this was the keynote in the Reformation Movement of the previous centuries.

However, some modern literary artists have degraded realism and corrupted it by portraying the play of sex in a morbid manner. Their realistic approach to life concentrates on the sexual nature and freedom. D.H. Lawrence’s Lady Chatterley’s Lover or H.G. Well’s account of the inordinate passions of the Prowling Priestesses of Venus or Harper Lee’s. a Mocking Bin; and similar other American novels descend to low levels of sexual descriptions. Thus, they militate against the social sense of morality. The authors forget that the function of art is like that of the photographer who catches the reality of life at its best.

Only those real things are to be reproduced, which at once please and soothe us. Love and attraction between man and woman is ennobling but sex-oriented scenes, though actual and real prove to be degrading in effect. It is unhealthy to depict them in the name of artistic realism. In actual life we hear and talk about sex but never see or show the sexual acts. They are practised away from the public view. Therefore. art should not depict them in any manner of writing, drawing or dancing.

Impressionistic art is confined to paintings. In what is known as the Bengal School or Rajputana School of Painting, odd figures are presented. Eyes are so large that they reach the ears and the waist is so thin that it is hardly visible. But the descending eyes of a connoisseur of fine art would definitely find these paintings as best creations of an artist. Such fantastic representations are sometimes found in poetry as well.

Thomas Campion says:

“There is a garden in her face

Where roses and white lilies grow”

Byron says:

“She walks in beauty, like the night of cloudless climes and starry skies.”

Wordsworth’s beloved was:

“A phantom of delight,”

and his ‘child’ was:

“A mighty prophet seer blest.”


All these representations are fantastic and unreal. But their artistic defence is that the painter or the poet has had his own impressions of the objects and reproduces his impression. The over and admirer form their pictures of beauty and grace with the help of imagination and for them, they are real images. It is a form of poetic exaggeration to magnify impressive objects in their creations. Many poets and painters have moments of this magnificence, which seems to be impressionism. Happily, they do not transgress morality in any form. They rather lend strength and importance to the moral sense by exaggerating the intensity of love of the effectiveness of beauty. There has been an intimate relationship between morality and art since times immemorial. Dance, as a form of art, first evolved from places of worship.

In ancient Hindu temples, devadasis danced in the temple precincts. It was a part of adoration shown to the residing deity. Music began as a method of inducing devotional states of consciousness. Thus, classical music in our temples and choir music in the churches of Europe led to the genesis of all secular music to come.

Michaelangelo’s frescoes on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel in Rome, depiction of scenes from the Bible form the backbone of European art of which, those of the Renaissance are considered to be the masterpieces. Similarly, the earliest architectural splendours and carvings of the world were sophisticated places of worship. The arches and domes of a church or cathedral, the gopurams and domes of Indian temples have been built to create feelings of reverence and divine grandeur.

But what are the morals depicted by pornographic carvings in the temples of Konark and Puri? Ancient Hindu belief was that sex could be used to elevate human beings to the levels of God. The physical union of man and woman brought a glimpse of the union of the soul with the Supreme Soul. The carvings of nude men and women in striking postures were not meant to excite the viewers. They were created to depict a close relationship between the human union and divine unions.

The fact is that morality, in the natural sense, governs life. It is sustained by loving, liking, respect ng, or through compassion. Morality pervades all relationships so long as relationships are natural. The paintings of M.F. Hussain have distinct meanings. The murals of Satish Gujral are very rich and progressive. Our poets and storytellers have drawn the attention of the world during recent years. Arundhati Roy is a glaring example in the literary arena. Further, Gurdial Singh. Nirmal Verma. Rajkamal Jha. Vikram Seth, Mulk Raj Anand. Mahashweta Devi. Indira Goswami, etc. are the literary stars of the Indian skies. All thoughts and passions are the many manifestations of love which is the essence of morality. Therefore, no art or form of literary creation can escape the limits of morality so long as it depicts life. Indeed, art may be called the minister of morality’.

Any consideration of the relationship of art and morality would be incomplete without a consideration of the role of films today. Films convey a visual expression to our aspirations and emotions. From violence and sex to patriotism and sacrifice- everything is depicted by films on TV and cable TV and on the trig screen. In films like Aakrosh and Nisment the emphasis is not on getting box office or commercial success but in revealing the human predicament. Often, the paradoxical and dubious morals of politicians, of the rich and of those in power are exposed. Our discrimination against the girl child and women, exploitation of child labour, corruption and our greed are laid bare to the core. Recently, films like “Mujhe Kush Kehna Hai” have done well without the element of obscenity. Unrestrained viewing of violence and sex by adolescents create the harmful values for tomorrow. Youth now feel proud in playing as anti-heroes with a macho aura They try to ape film sequences when they rob banks with finesse, play knights to Juliets who pillion-ride on their motorbikes and have experiences in free sex in the name of being liberated. Art and morality blend inextricably.

We can conclude with these lines of John Keats:


Beauty is Truth and Truth Beauty

That is all ye need to know!

Its spirit is also echoed by the Sanskrit dictum,

Satyam Shivam Sundaram.


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