A Short Guide to The Definition of Art

Art has been called many different things throughout the history of mankind. At its most basic level, art can be defined as the product of human creativity and the ability to perceive beauty in something else. In its most sophisticated sense, art can be defined as the product of human interaction with the physical world. In its most basic form, art can be seen as merely the expression of a mental idea or emotion.


Art and Philosophy. These two key terms are interdependent. The study of art can shed light on human understanding of life and our place in the universe. Philosophy, on the other hand, is often used to understand the relationship between aesthetics and philosophy. Philosophy mainly deals with the questions, what is the nature of reality, the rationality of our beliefs and desires, and the definition of happiness and truth.

Aesthetic Judgment. We all have an aesthetic judgment when it comes to beauty. An aesthetic judgment is basically a subjective judgment about beauty. There are many different kinds of aesthetic judgment, including subjective beauty, formal beauty, personal beauty, and the beauty standard. All of these types of aesthetic judgments are rooted in a basic understanding of how beauty is perceived by humans.

Beauty as a Sense of Society. Beauty has long been considered a social commodity, one that is associated with the status of the artist and the ability of the artist’s work to reproduce the artist’s status in society. The popularity of art has increased in recent years as the artist’s performance and work has become more critically acclaimed. However, critics argue that the increased popularity of contemporary art is largely due to the increased wealth of artists and the increased opportunities that artists now have to purchase materials that will enhance their ability to produce art. Similarly, critics argue that the increased appreciation for contemporary art in America and Europe is primarily based on the increased prevalence of highly educated, affluent, and cultured urbanites who display a more modernist taste for beauty in art and culture.

Art As an Educational Process. Art education generally occurs in the form of an academic study of art or of artistic production itself. Historically, art education in the Western world has typically involved courses in art history, but today, many schools of art offer programs in non-traditional forms of artistic expression such as sculpture, performance art, painting, and architecture. Schools of art are also increasingly considering the creation of more original artistic expressions in the form of photographic art, performance art, and the installation of new technologies like the Internet that make the study of art more accessible to more people. As a result, art education has taken on greater importance in the past decade.

These definitions of art are merely indicative of the larger field of aesthetics and are not exhaustive. The definitions that you see here are just meant to give you a basic idea of what we mean by the word ‘art’. What is art for you may not be art for someone else. There is no right or wrong answer to the question ‘what is art’ – it depends entirely on who you’re asking.

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