Sketches from Michele Trenti's essays

Content and Keys to Interpretation

Appunti di Michele Trenti

It is generally assumed that an artist expresses himself through a personal language, and that this language may be common to a fashion, a time, or a tradition. However, it must be admitted that an artist’s language changes over time, with ultimately each work utilizing its own language that, to a greater or lesser degree, differs from that of any other work. It is possible to understand its meanings because of the fact that a work of art possesses within itself the key to its own interpretation, which is evident in the fact that a work can be understood by people who, due to cultural or temporal distance, would seem to lack the "codes" for interpretation. If cultural proximity naturally facilitates the ability to tune into a given language, the greatest difficulty has often been observed in understanding that a work springs from the residue of previous experiences that we subconsciously have chosen as universal keys to interpretation. Beyond the external content, the deeper message of a work of art then it seems to consist precisely in its implicit interpretation, in the code necessary for its interpretation, which is inherent in the language itself and may be conceived as the condition for the contents to come to light.