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Is it possible to separate the artist from his or her art?

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I just posted a painting by Adolf Hitler. Now, perhaps some people might find it strange to find such a post on a Soviet website. That leads to a serious question - should a work of art stand alone, without regard to the life or ideas of the artist?


In Ireland, we suffered from the genocidal theories and desires of the poet Edmund Spenser. He wanted to exterminate all the Irish people. His poem, The Fairly Queen, is a kind of agenda for the extermination of the Irish people. And yet, this poem is widely studied and appreciated as a landmark in the development of English literature.


Recently, there was a controversy involving the Irish poet, Cathal Ó Searchaigh. Enda Kenny even wanted to remove his poetry from the leaving cert course. However, anyone with any knowledge of poetry would say he is one of Ireland's finest poets.


Perhaps the artist most discussed in this regard is Richard Wagner. He held a very poor view of the Jewish people, and many people cannot listen to his work without thinking of Nazism. That despite the fact that he actually had many Jewish friends. In Israel, there is a virtual ban on the performance of his work. And yet, he wrote some of the most beautiful music ever written - including the march that is played at most weddings.


Again, in Ireland, pro-British elements constantly try to use the poetry of Pádraig Mac Piarais to discredit him, and, by extension, all of Irish Republicanism.


So, what do you all think? Can we appreciate a work of art, regardless of who created it?

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