I used to spend a lot of time on this issue. I always had a distaste for visual art, it being so terribly interpretive. I (like many people here, I would guess) prefer written language as my means of expression. But that attraction has less to do with my inability to draw a straight line, and more to do with issues of subjectivity
Bear with me.
, despite what English teachers would have you believe, is objective
. That is to say, the symbols (words) and form (grammar) are defined. You know the meaning of every word in this writeup, and if you don't you can find the objective
definition in any dictionary
. You are familiar with the formalized mechanics of the English language, and can derive meaning from each of these sentences (one hopes.) Indeed, you probably get close to --if not exactly-- the same message as nearly everyone else reading this. At least anyone with a reasonable vocabulary (memorization of "word" symbols) and who speaks English (internalization of communication format.)
Painting, sculpture, poetry, music, and other such methods of communication use undefined and wholly subjective
symbols. Color, chords, light and shadow can express ideas, emotions, and anything else. The problem is in the interpretation. An essay can be explanatory, but a symphony must be expressive. In their lack of definition lies their strength, as the necessity to interpret can make the message very personal, but it leads inevitably to subjective
and varied responses.
This does not mean prose is not art. It means the symbols are defined. This does not mean defined symbols are better, it means they are more objective
. Likewise, if you want to express some facet of human existence, you are probably better off using defined symbols that people understand, rather than the arbitrary and often intentionally obfuscated symbols of poetry, music, and visual art.
That said, if a painting is worth one thousand words, a word is worth one million pictures