A Platonic dialogue
Short story by Claire Pujol
Well, a work of art is...
Apparently, we do not really know either. Let's think about it now
together. The first word of the phrase is “ work ”. Does anybody have an
idea about the definition of this word ?
Well, I can say that everybody works. And some works are more
difficult than others.
It is true, I said. But give me an example so I can really understand
what you mean.
For instance, working with the hands is less difficult than working
with the mind.
Oh ! I see, I said. You are an engineer, aren't you ?
That means that you work with your mind ?
And working with the mind is less difficult than working with the
Yes. That was my statement.
So if it is less difficult, it means you could easily work with your
I suppose so.
And the painter works with his hands, doesn't he ?
So you could without any problem be a painter ?
You are confusing me. I will be unable to be a painter. I do not have
the technique it requires.
Sure, I said. Let us rather have a look at the dictionary. A neutral
definition will get everyone agree, without any confusion... Thank you.
Let's see... Work : “ effort that you make to do something ”. Let's have
also a look at “ art ” so that we can have a complete definition... I
have it. “ Art ” : a human activity which comes to the creation of
works. So, if I put together the two pieces of information, a “ work of
art ” is an effort you make in order to create. But now again, we have
another word to define. Creation : “ God created Universe out of
nothing... Invention, work of imagination. ” So, if I understand, a work
of art is a creation, i.e. a work which has never been done before since a
creation is an invention. Now, we might be able to think of an answer for
your question which was, I remind you : Do not you think the painting I
bought is the best work of art you have ever seen ?
Unfortunately, I think that now I can answer this question by
Maybe our friends did not manage to do it.
Well, if I look at the painting which is there, I can see geometrical
forms. Everybody knows them, they are no creation. Moreover, anybody can
easily paint them, so it is not even a work. Consequently, this painting is
not a work of art. But, as we are the only one to know it, I can still sell
it and be rich !
This is a good way of thinking dear friend, I said. I admire your
optimism as much as your sense of humour.
— I definitely agree with your demonstration admirable friend, but still, another question remains. If a work of art is synonymous with creation, then no contemporary painting is a work of art, since they all imitate the one who coined the movement....
Other works by Claire Pujol
Essays drawings short stories
email the author.
Copyright 1998-2004: Homo Ecumenicus. Reproduction or use in any manner of editorial, pictorial, audio-visual, or other content from this site is prohibited without express written permission from Homo Ecumenicus. To obtain a license for commercial use of files on this site (audio files, mid files, texts, essays, articles, video clips, animations etc.) send email to