Updated: Dec 1, 2021
Leonardo da Vinci. The creator of Mona Lisa, and his chimerical design of a flying machine. Held in such high esteem that the King of France carried him away like a trophy, and was claimed to have supported him in his old age and held him in his arms as he died. But among the lesser known facts about this luminary, is the one which accuses him of sodomy against a gigolo. After this sinks in, can you admire the The Last Supper with just as much deference, or you're one of the more "sagacious" ones, maintaining that art and its artist have no more connection than the sinful parents and their child?
Whenever this argument comes up, I can't help but think, isn't what a person creates, a manifestation of their subconscious, since art is all about expression? Thereby being led to the disturbing conclusion that the work of art, however beautiful and enrapturing, is somehow an exposition of their perverse chain of thought? On the other hand, art is also about perception, and if we find it admirable, it's because our minds understand only the symbolism and the depth of it.
Let me narrate my tryst with this issue. When Kesha (acclaimed singer) accused Dr. Luke (co-writer of one of my then favorites, Sugar by Maroon 5) of sexual harassment, I made a resolve to never listen to the song again, to show whatever little solidarity I could. But the popular track did come up everywhere, and I couldn't help but sway with the music, as conscience-stricken in the back of my mind as I was. But that was when it struck me, while appreciating art, you seldom think about the creator. You're too busy enjoying and relating to what's in front of you, than to think about what went behind in the process of its creation.
Frank Underwood, one of the most powerful portrayal of the President of the United States, has been a common name across the globe for quite some time now. The series, House of Cards, has won numerous awards, and the appreciation of people all over the world. So amidst such fame and glory, do the allegations against Kevin Spacey affect the viewership or the fandom of the show? Apart from the negative publicity and the severed ties with Netflix, what other effect did it have on the show? Are the viewers condemning Frank Underwood because of Kevin Spacey, or is it because of Spacey that Underwood's cold demeanor and diabolical disposition seemed so smooth and natural? They say acting is one of the toughest things to do out there, you either have to hide, or bare your soul completely for the world to see. And this character is among the most ardently played ones, so the question remains, do we respect the art, or do we reproach the artist?
Good people sometimes make bad things. And people having committed horrendous crimes, sometimes make masterpieces. Picasso was misogynistic, Richard Wagner was anti-Semitic, Kevin Hart tweeted homophobic remarks, and yet between them they have given to the world some truly incredible work. Honestly, this is one of those topics where a single party cannot win. You, and only you can decide for yourself, whether or not to draw a line between the art and the artist. Who are we to judge you if in an erotic portrait of a man or a woman, you see the miracle of life? If a criminal's play gives food and shelter to underprivileged children, would you criticize it, or participate in the charity? Food for thought, isn't it?