Letter: Enduring qualities of our great works of art

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Sir: Brian Appleyard writes in 'Look, children, we're doing Art' (8 October) that the unacceptable truth is that the arts are a difficult, elitist affair, and concludes that 'the truth is: if it's easy, it's not art'.

This may be true about your average 'good art' - the stuff that the 'packaging' merchants of today have attached a fast-forward button to. But the distinguishing characteristic of great art is, I believe, its uncanny ability to speak to and for all, unedited, yet still remaining of the highest quality.

Shakespeare and Dickens made their fortunes by doing this. The great religious painters of Europe spoke to and for all of the population, learned and illiterate, rich and poor. So did Chaplin. So did the Beatles. And so it will continue.

Yours sincerely,


London, EC1

9 October

The writer is head of the School of Art and Design at the University of Wolverhampton.