How to Define Art

Art is a broad spectrum of human activities which involve an attempt to display aesthetic beauty, technical skill, emotional strength, or social understanding. It is the product of a human brain coming together with the help of their art mediums and their art products. The process of creation of art usually involves the use of the five senses. These senses include sight, sound, touch, smell, and taste.

The definition of art as it relates to those who are passionate about it, usually artists, is quite vague. According to Webster’s Dictionary, art can be defined as “the process of producing a work of artistic creation”. This definition excludes poetry, literature, music and dance. However, the more inclusive definition is that of “the expression of a subjective feeling or emotion in terms of a visual art medium”. It could also be interpreted to be “the process by which artists communicate feelings or ideas through a visual medium”.

The field of art can be divided into three main areas: the decorative arts including painting and furniture making, sculpture and pottery, and the visual arts such as sculpture, photography, and paintings. The decorative arts produce works of daily living such as wall-coverings and curtains, tables and chairs. On the other hand, the visual arts produce visual art such as paintings and the art exhibited in museums. The field of art is highly diversified. In fact, any artwork created by an artist can be classified under this broad umbrella.

Art has always been of great significance in human history because it has been associated with theoria moral, aesthetic values. In past ages, the only people who produced significant artworks were artists and architects. However, with the evolution of technology, the means of producing art became available to ordinary people. With the popularity of computer and internet, more people now create their own art. Moreover, artists and craftsmen are no longer limited to a professional and technical level, they can now exhibit their creative ideas on a commercial level.

According to the 21st century’s definition, art was “the application of human creativity towards achieving a particular end”, which can be achieved through the physical senses and emotions. This definition is very broad. Therefore, one can define art as an approach to reality that presents an encounter with the reality of the art world in a positive manner. As we have seen earlier, the definition of the arts in the 20th century changed a lot, making room for contemporary forms of art.

For artists and craftsmen, the question how to define art can be answered by pointing out the difference between abstract painting and figurative painting. Abstract painting consists of using the physical senses in order to create a visual form. On the other hand, figurative painting presents images that are created by using the human imagination. Achieving a clear understanding of the meaning of art is, therefore, very important for a true appreciation of artistic creations.

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