The arts have a peculiar power to open our eyes “to cleanse the door of perceptions and to enable us to experience (and see) the world in ways we have not done before” (Robinson, 1993, p. 5). The arts command attention and address us directly without any need for explanation. What is expressed in the arts feeds back into life in the insights given into the human condition and the world in which we live. In theme terms, the creative imagination can take us out of our time-bound world.
The arts not only attract attention but also instruct viewers with their powerful and incisive moral and social comments. Miles (1985) notes that during the time of the martyrs, visual images portrayed peaceful alternatives to the violence experienced by many people. On the other hand, social comment is not always appreciated. For example, when Rembrandt first depicted old people as elderly, his contemporaries were shocked. Rembrandt showed the viewers a more realistic truth than they wanted to see. Sometimes a new style or a new work of art appears more offensive when it challenges the boundaries of convention thereby appearing to threaten the psychological order and the status quo of society, and expressing a level of reality different from that of the accepted social consciousness (Laeuchli, 1980).