LIV (New Series: X)
Issued: March 2017
Re-established as an international journal: 2008
ISSN: 0014 –1291
Obligations to Artworks as Duties of Love
It is uncontroversial that our engagement with artworks is constrained by obligations; most commonly, these consist in obligations to other persons, such as artists, audiences, and owners of artworks. A more controversial claim is that we have genuine obligations to artworks themselves. I defend a qualified version of this claim. However, I argue that such obligations do not derive from the supposed moral rights of artworks – for no such rights exist. Rather, I argue that these obligations are instances of duties of love: obligations that one incurs in virtue of loving some object, be it a person or, in this case, an artwork.