The way Plato viewed art was very bland and one-dimensional, only because the Greeks "art" was comprised of copying life to the most precise degree. He thought it useless and frivolous, completely necessary even! But we know this isn't true, it illicits such compelling emotions within us that it cannot be called useless.
So what view should we hold to? To my knowledge and in my opinion, Tolstoy's view is much closer to the truth. He says that art is a way to unify the souls of men. To bring them into one way of thinking, to feel together in empathy and caring.
Tolstoy would have us picture a river, this river of religious perception. It is flowing just out of reach, but through emotion and art we can tap into it and pull up a draught or two.
I picture it as having an prism in the center of your being, and every time you experience art it's like a beam of light hitting that prism. Your soul is suddenly connected to another person by that tether, and as you connect to more people it becomes a web of emotional collusion bringing all of humanity together.
Art is the focal point of our existence. The expression and combination of feeling that allow us to interact beyond the barriers that separate us into individuals. We can use art as an access, a portal into the mind and hearts of other beings. Our souls become as one, our purposes become as one, and our divine purposes become more clear.