This was a statement that was put forth by Pablo Picasso, renowned painter and sculptor who lived between the year 1881 and 1973. According to Pablo Picasso, art is not truth. It is mere the philosophy of using paintings, drawings and sculptures to express the truth in an indirect way. It is rather a mean by which people express their ideas.

This statement has also been adopted by photographers who believe that the camera does not lie. To photographers, Art can be used to represent the real world through pictures. According to Crane, art allows people to view the world through different colored lenses. In this statement he was referring to the pictures produced by cameras. Photography thus involves putting or displaying the world in different facets for the audience to look and interpret. Pictures bring about the comforting beauty of nature and the surroundings. By so doing, the photographers presents the world for the people to peel, search and seek the hidden meaning in the pictures, which often represent the truth about human existence (Crane 69).

From the onset, it is imperative to understand Pablo Picasso statement. To achieve this, fundamental question like what makes something a notable work of art, is there any quality that differentiates sculpture or paintings as art in comparison to a normal object found in the normal world? Is there any cultural disparity, with what the society considers art as changing based on their heritage and beliefs, among other notable questions? Pierre (37) argues that Pablo’s quote can well understood, if it is oriented around literature. This is because in literature, the element of fiction employs a device, which regards truth as the goal that is not sought from direct light, other than from an indirect one.

According to Dostoevsky, art is a work of fiction that is used to represent things that may not be literally true, but in the real actual sense they reveal certain underlying truths. Dostoevsky suggests that artistry involves putting the world in the broad light, hence disposing our daily lives for criticism. When another person comes to evaluate this expression, he/she may be convinced to the extent of believing in it; hence it may seem to be true to him/her (Dostoevsky 178).

Definition of Art

Carroll defines art creative work that is used in creating or doing things that display form, beauty and a strange and extraordinary perception of reality (Carroll 5). Works of art such music, literature and paintings are mere representations of the reality.

In my opinion, by Picasso referring to art as a lie that tells the truth does not necessarily mean that it is false. His statement implies that through deep and thorough analysis and concise interpretation of art, we are able to understand the underlying truth in artistry. Art is often used to explain a current phenomenon, an individual’s character or a societal concern.

According to Warren, this truth that art allows us to find is what we can understand from it. Picasso insists on looking at what one finds rather than trying to portray what they are looking for.  He further insists that artistry should be viewed as a present and not a past or future material (Warren 15). Any artistry work, thus, allows a person to identify the connections between the art used and the real world. Picasso views art as a way of expressing certain aspects of life. It is therefore important for an individual to realize this interconnection whenever they come across any work of art.

Through the use of art, it is easier to express one’s ideas. For instance, by looking at a painting of a crying baby, a person may draw various conclusions from it such as hunger, discontentment, anger or cry for help. However, no particular individual will be able to understand the exact message that the artist had in mind and wanted to convey when drawing the picture.

In this quote, Picasso is trying to explain how different people may derive varying meanings about a particular work of art. Different people will have different understandings, and none of them will have the exact idea as the artist himself. In this case, art is viewed as a lie that enables people to merely discover some truth, but not the exact truth. For instance, a picture would only help one understand his/her true feelings and what they believe the picture would be. In this view, a work of artistry does not have to be true, but rather it is our view and understanding about it that has to be true.

According to Sandoz and Hasselstrom, Picasso was imposing that art is a way in which people can find their own truth towards certain aspects of life. This thus defines the interrelation between one’s feeling towards an artistry work and their individual feelings (Sandoz & Hasselstrom 167). Art thus does not impose an idea onto the person, but rather gives him/her an opportunity to interpret it in his/her best possible way. The purpose of rat is to help them understand or realize the truth, rather than imposing it on the people. Since every person has a different view on what is true or false, art gives them opportunities of diversity in thinking, actions and belief.

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Art Convinces People by Lies

On the other hand, Picasso statement may mean that art can be used to convince people about certain underlying lies. A good example is an angry person who meets a friend and gives him a fake smile. Similarly, an artist can make a drawing of a smiling person, yet what he means is totally different from what the audience will see or picture in the drawing. In this case, it is the drawer who really knows the exact truth in the painting and how the person in the painting feels at the time of the drawing.

Contrary to this, Carroll suggests that art cannot be used to portray the truth as a result of varied feelings and interpretations of people. She suggests that through metaphysics, art presents to us what we do not usually see. It presents us with a world that we may not be able to see (Carroll 180).

However, Dostoevsky contrasts the role played by artistry by suggesting that art usually creates a conflict by presenting the reality that is somehow different from our own understanding of reality (Dostoevsky 192).

Criticism of Art

Carroll opposes to art by saying that it is self insufficient and undermining. He opposes to the use of art with regards to reveal the truth. Since different people have different interpretations of a single work of art, it is thus undeterminable and might lead to wrong conclusions and decisions. He confesses that art is pure nonsense and therefore ignores the search for truth. An art work therefore, cannot reveal the exact inclinations and capability of the artist (Carroll 62). This contradiction was supported by Cowling and Picasso who suggested that art will never raise a higher voice than that of a real person uttering it. All art is deception, ploy and pretense as opposed to real life which is primitive, intuitive and perceptual (Cowling & Picasso 237).

Art critic Carroll summed it up as a device used to seek truth form an indirect perspective. The artists thus use their creativity to build on this perspective, by making it sharable between many people through experience.


In conclusion, it is important to note that art is a mean of expression, and this expression is usually unique in every person. By saying that art is not truth, in can be concluded that truth is usually expressed in words, conforms to reality and must be subjected to proof, traits that are lacking in art which is expressed on feeling and has nothing to do with proof Art helps us understand the truth about our nature. In philosophy, the world that we see around us is not the real world, but rather what our minds represent and create for us to see. Some argue that the sky may not be blue; it is our minds that have created it.

Various types of art, such as music, paintings, photographs and poetry may make no sense, but the people who view it will get a reflection of what the artist was conveying. This means that we get different understandings from the work. The truth is thus what we see in the art. Art is a mere resemblance of the truth.

However, philosophy has been faced with the problem of trying to sue reason to explain the real world. As Shakespeare writes in his book Macbeth, life’s but a shadow, this can be taken to mean that real life might sometimes be shallow, meaningless and just a mere imitation of the real life. The question then is, however, what does the real art entails? Just as Picasso asserts it, people can easily deceive through artistry.

Despite the fact that there have been several artists who have produced numerous inspiring works of art for millennia, none of these art works has ever been founded on reality and truth since such knowledge has not been understood. Artistry hence only causes confusion in the search for its meaning.

It is true that art is a lie that brings us nearer to the truth, for instance, movies will often make the audience feel as if they are in another world which is totally different from planet Erath. Most films thus revolve around the idea of live and it aspects. People often realize that is never the same after watching a film or a movie, and hence they are brought to reality.

Similarly, most films are based on the true life stories, for instance, the Titanic which shows how life is for the certain people. This helps us understand the reality of life. It allows us to see the invisible world beyond our knowledge and understanding. Art openly expresses the hidden truth to us through physical representations. This helps in increasing our understanding of nature and builds our self awareness (Carroll 201).

In addition, almost all documentaries are based on real situations and global issues. Such films often show us what has happened, what is happening currently or what we should expect in the future. It is also important to note that no single individual knows the whole truth concerning various aspects of life. Most artists thus use art to communicate this truth to others, or as well convince them of the lies he/she holds.

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