8 junio, 2024

Artistic language: what it is, characteristics, types and examples

What is artistic language?

He artistic language It is the set of communicative codes whose purpose is to provoke an aesthetic effect in the receiver and that makes him feel emotions, sensations and allows him to generate reflections on art. On the other hand, it is the medium that an artist uses to transmit her message. Examples are painting, dance, cinema and theater, music, literature.

One of the main characteristics of the human being is its ability to communicate. It is essential in all aspects of life, from the psychological field to facilitating survival. Humans use language to communicate.

Although the word is possibly the most powerful communicative language available to any person, gestures, body expressions, silence and many other tools are also used.

All that is needed is that the sender and receiver share the codes and can understand each other properly.

The codes of each artistic manifestation are different, although there are some common characteristics that are similar to those of other types of languages.

Characteristics of artistic language

subjective perception:rrepresents what the viewer sees, hears, feels. In this sense, artistic language does not have a universal meaning, but rather what it generates in whoever observes.
Plurality of interpretations: artistic language admits more than one interpretation, unlike other languages ​​where a single message is transmitted. Since creations are personal and unique, but so are perceptions, the possible meanings of an artistic work multiply.
Appeals to the emotional function: in artistic language, the emotive function is one of the most important. For this reason, an artistic work aims to cause a reaction in the recipient, and produce emotions, whether it be joy, sadness, revulsion or pleasure.
Use the levels of artistic language: these levels are based on the artist-work-receiver set. The first level focuses on attracting the attention of the public. The next one is related to an unconscious effect, that is to say, that the work has touched deep elements of the receiver that allow him to delve into the aesthetic experience. The third level, if the previous two are fulfilled, indicates the moment in which the receiver understands the work and the aesthetic enjoyment is produced.

Types of artistic language


Music is the art of combining sounds. It is said to be a universal language, because no matter where people come from, combined harmonic sounds can arouse emotions in people.

In addition to musical instruments, the tools are rhythm, melody, tones, harmonies, repetitions, silence, and others. Everything, in order to express the feelings of the author and connect them with the sensitivity of the listener.


Painting belongs to the group of plastic arts. It is about the combination of color, perspective, technique and chiaroscuro (play of light and shadow).

Painting is very broad and complex, but it can be basically divided into two tendencies: figurative and abstract. The figurative is, as its name indicates, the representation of shapes and figures that recall elements of nature or the human environment. In it are numerous pictorial currents, such as expressionism, impressionism, realism, cubism, etc.

The abstract, on the contrary, is a painting where the elements are not recognizable. To appreciate abstract painting, it is often essential to know something about the history of art, or to be able to appreciate the contrasts of color, texture, etc.


It is a type of language that uses several different codes: from music to clothing, through gestures. The message or story is conveyed through the rhythmic movements of the dancers.

Despite the evident plasticity, it is a modality that requires a certain complicity from the viewer and that they have some prior knowledge to decode what they are being told.


Literature has its own language, the literary one. It is about telling stories in a way that captures the attention of the readers, and for this his main tool is the word.

It is one of the oldest arts, since humans invented writing.


Architecture has a double function: one is functional, and the other is aesthetic. For this reason, it is part of the group of plastic arts. This aesthetic function has its own language that wants to express something to whoever looks at a certain construction.

To do this, he plays with various codes, ranging from the materials used to the shape of his plan, his height or his structure.

A good example may be the old gothic cathedrals, designed to amaze believers and make them fear God. For that they used the great height of their walls and the different architectural, pictorial and sculptural elements.


This type of artistic language also belongs to the plastic arts. He creates, from various materials –marble, clay, iron, bronze, etc.– shapes, textures and volumes, which are the sculptures.


Leaving aside the most modern artistic manifestations found on the Internet, cinema is the art that has developed the most complete linguistic codes.

He uses images and sound to create artistic works, films and documentaries. Nowadays, cinematographic techniques include television series.


Like the cinema, the theater is an art that uses almost all the communication tools that the human being possesses.

In this way, he has created a very rich language of his own, in which he can use music, gestures, rhythm and, of course, words. In the same way, the assembly of the work is another way through which the viewer can receive the message, accompanied by the lighting used or the visual effects.


Reflecting reality through images, that is photography. TO Although it lacks movements or words, it is capable of transmitting emotions, information, suggestions, among other elements.

To do this, he uses various codes and tools, similar to painting. The most obvious is the color, but also the lights and shadows or the arrangement of the elements in the frame.

Examples of artistic languages

The Ninth Symphony from Beethoven. Picasso’s «Guernica».
Don Quijote of La Manchaby Miguel de Cervantes. Installation of the play King Oedipus, from Sophocles. The sculpture «The Thinker» by Rodin.
titanicby James Cameron. The Eiffel Tower, in Paris.


Artistic Communication Languages. Retrieved from wikiteka.com.
Przybylek, S. Art as a Form of Communication. Retrieved from study.com.

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