How Do Works of Literature Differ from Works of Visual Art?

Words: 565
Topic: Art & Design

There are a number of aspects in works of literature that are completely different from visual arts. To begin with, the appealing nature of visual art is higher than the works of literature. Any form of visual art is also unique. Works of literature refer to all forms of artworks that have been written by artists. However, literature may also entail sung texts or spoken word. In a more restrictive sense, works of literature are supposed to be within the confines of literary merit (Roston, 2014).

When it comes to visual arts, pictures are used to disseminate the required information. On the other hand, perceived information is usually disseminated in form of written (literary) work. Therefore, visual art is used to dispatch a single idea to one particular audience. However, variety of ways can be used by an audience to depict works of literature. In most cases, pieces of writing from different readers contain textual evidence.

An individual who looks at a visual art in form of a picture may only derive a single message from it. In other words, grey area where the audience can make relevant interpretations does not exist. Only a single moment is displayed by a visual form of art (Roston, 2014). Hence, any form of visual art serves a limited purpose as intended by an artist. This form of art largely appeals to the power of sight compared to works of literature. A mere view of a visual art may not be adequate to derive multiple meanings. However, a work of literature explains itself to the audience. It is not possible for the audience to obtain different meanings from a single piece of visual art.

Literature in form of writing is deeply entrenched in meanings through the composition of words. Works of literature may also elicit a lot of reactions and debates depending on the interpretation of readers. As a matter of fact, interpretation is permissible in any work of literature. This may not be possible with a visual form of art. The process of writing allows an author to communicate a specific message and also tell a story. Hence, works of literature do not depict just a single moment like visual arts. Elaborate explanations and details are presented by works of literature. The shrewd nature of literary works often compels the audience to gain a sense of belonging and feel part and parcel of the story being told (Roston, 2014). This implies that contrary to its appearance, literature is in-depth in nature.

A single piece of visual art only portrays a particular intended message or idea to the audience. There are also possibilities for the audience to erroneously interpret a visual art especially if they do not identify with the given form of art. Although different understandings may be derived from a work of literature, the core message is usually vivid unless it is subjected to debate.

On a final note, visual art is a form of communicated message or information which is received. It has a higher degree of directedness than a work of literature. Moreover, the creation of a visual form of art demands a critical picture of the unseen mind images. Nonetheless, works of literature largely rely on messages or pieces of information perceived by both the author and the audience. A lot of perceptions and assumptions exist in all forms of written works (Roston, 2014).


Roston, M. (2014). Renaissance Perspectives in Literature and the Visual Arts. Oxford: Princeton University Press.