The purpose of this project is to uncover the true, actual function of art at its root and origin, and that is the relation it has with its viewer. I argue that art exists separately from the artist who created it, and because of this separation, art must be valued in a detached context from its artist. I have displayed this separation in my novel as the main character, Rowan, takes the place of the viewer onto the art object, and the bird is the art object. There is no mention of the artist or the historical context or significance of the bird; there is only the bird itself as the art object, and Rowan as the viewer. I argue for the integration of more subjective meaning and value attributed to art in the academic study of art history, and I display the harm art history has made on itself and on the art it analyzes by detaching emotion from art history. The emotion formed around an art object and the meaning that every viewer gives the art object is a necessary and intrinsic part of art and therefore art history, and the refusal to acknowledge this side of art is a refusal to understand the entire history of art. I exemplify the power of this function of art in As the Bird Cries through the element of dreams as a way of mediating between the art object and its viewer.


Tognazzini, Anthony

Second Advisor

Siewert, John


Art and Art History; English


Arts and Humanities


Art History, theory, fiction, novel

Publication Date


Degree Granted

Bachelor of Arts

Document Type

Senior Independent Study Thesis



© Copyright 2019 Regan Concannon Clark