At some point, you must simply encounter the art. You must experience it. You can describe the lighting, the brush-stroke, the timbre, the allusion to Homer, the difference between Ionic and Corinthian columns, the soundtrack, the lens, the social context of ’70’s protest songs. You can outline the inclusios, the chiasms, the parallelism.
But there is an instant, a punctiliar confrontation, between the text and its reader when signification happens, when meaning is created. No author. None. Never. Ever. (except sometimes) Is concerned with the pen on their page. The moment of composition is unrepeatable and inconsequential.
This becomes quite murky in that instance. When I look at The Return of the Prodigal Son, what is the agent of that event? Have I any effect upon the image? Has the artist any interest in my awareness of his context or methods? I am the locuted. I am the moved.
If a voice cries in the wilderness and no one hears it, worse, if a voice cries in the city, and no one listens.