What Is the Function of Metaphor in Art?

A metaphor’s purpose in art, whether in painting, sculpture, or writing, is to elicit a specific emotion or thought in the person who reads or sees the work. Metaphors use symbolism and analogies to emphasize a point, and they can also be used to represent specific ideas or thoughts. Depending on the artist’s emotions, ideas, or experiences, visual metaphors can be obvious or abstract.

The use of a cross or crucifix as a metaphor in art is a common example. Typically, this symbol is used to represent Christianity or specific aspects of the faith, such as peace, hope, salvation, judgment, or condemnation. The exact meaning of a visual metaphor in art is determined the artist’s state of mind and feelings at the time of creation. A Christian painter, for example, may see the cross as a symbol of hope, whereas someone who has been judged or ridiculed the church may see it as a symbol of oppression or damnation.

Metaphors are frequently used in literature to prove a point or to add description to a point. For example, if the writer is describing someone who is irritable or grumpy, she might use the phrase “he was a bear” to convey this idea. In order to help readers feel more connected to the time and place of the story being told, poetry, like most works of fiction, makes extensive use of metaphors. In general, the purpose of using a metaphor in any form of art is to engage an audience on a deeper level.

Although using a metaphor in art is one of the most effective ways to give the audience of a work a deeper meaning or a greater sense of presence, it is also one of the most difficult elements to incorporate. In fiction, the metaphor should be simple to grasp so that the reader has a better understanding of what the author is trying to convey. Too abstract or perplexing metaphors will have the opposite effect.

There are often no such restrictions on the use of metaphors in painting and other visual art forms. On the surface, symbols in abstract paintings may appear to be completely unrelated to the painting’s theme, but they may have a special meaning for the artist. Furthermore, many artists use metaphorical symbols or images that can be interpreted in multiple ways. This allows the viewer to become more involved with the work allowing him to figure out what it means to him.