What is ART? Art by definition.

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What is classified as art?What is art??

So I guess the big question is, what is art?

It’s in the mind’s eye and can be whatever your imagination will allow it to be.

Its a drop of rain ricocheting from a tarmac canvas then exploding into oblivion as it gathers momentum while careering down the gutter in a shimmering sea of crystal clear raindrops.

Its a lonely pedestrian wandering down an empty unlit street with the moonlight on their back, silhouetting them against a background of statuesque buildings that expose their secrets within through brightly lit windows. The cracks in the shutters of hidden rooms where the inhabitants go about their mundane lives in secret. Unaware and oblivious to what might lay ahead. Yet outside and below, the discarded waste of man blows in every direction. mean while  rodents hug the curbs as they scurry among the waste. Sniffing at the breeze in order to search out a meal to take back to their secret nests and feed their expectant young.

The rush of the waves before they explode upon on the shore, undulating in a never-ending cycle of power and ferocity before retreating back to the sea to return yet again.

Its the slightest glimpse of a distant image in the corner your eye. It’s whatever and where ever you want it. Nothing is what it seems and everything is what it is and will be.

By definition:

Art refers to a diverse range of human activities and artefacts and may be used to cover all or any of the arts, including music, literature and other forms. It is most often used to refer specifically to the visual arts, including mediums such as painting, sculpture, and printmaking. Aesthetics is
the branch of philosophy which considers art.

Visual art.

Visual art is defined as the arrangement of colours, forms, or other elements ” in a manner that affects the sense of beauty, specifically the production of the beautiful in a graphic or plastic medium. The nature of art has been described by Richard Wollheim as ” one of the most elusive of the traditional problems of human culture.

It has been defined as a vehicle for the expression or communication of emotions and ideas, a means for exploring and appreciating formal elements for their own sake, and as mimesis or representation. Leo Tolstoy identified art as a use of indirect means to communicate with one person to another. Benedetto Croce and R.G. Collingwood advanced the idealist view that art expresses emotions and that the work of art therefore essentially exists in the mind of the creator. Art as a form has its roots in the philosophy of Immanuel Kant and was developed in the early twentieth century by Roger Fry and Clive Bell. Art as mimesis or representation has deep roots in the philosophy of Aristotle.


Traditionally the term art was used to refer to any skill or mastery, a concept which altered during the Romantic period when art came to be seen as ” a special faculty of the human mind to be classified with religion and science.


Generally, it is a (product of) human activity. Made with the intention of stimulating the human senses as well as the human mind; by transmitting emotions and/or ideas. Beyond this description, there is no generally agreed-upon definition of art, since defining the boundaries of “art” is subjective, but the impetus for art is often called human creativity.

The evaluation of art has become especially problematic since the 20th century. Wollheim distinguishes three approaches: The Realist, whereby aesthetic quality is an absolute value independent of any human view, the Objectivist, whereby it is also an absolute value, but is dependent on general human experience, and the Relativist position, whereby it is not an absolute value, but depends on, and varies with, the human experience of different humans

An object may be characterized by the intentions, or lack thereof, of its creator, regardless of its apparent purpose. A cup, which ostensibly can be used as a container, may be considered art if, intended solely as an ornament, while a painting may be deemed craft if mass-produced.

Wik – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia and is intended for general reference purposes only.

Excerpt from The Guardian,

Monday, November 25, 2002, by Jeanette Winterson

Art is a different value system. Like God, it fails us continually. Like God, we have legitimate doubts about its existence but, like God, art leaves us with footprints of beauty. We sense there is more to life than the material world can provide, and art is a clue, an intimation, at its best, a transformation. We don’t need to believe in it, but we can experience it. The experience suggests that the monolith of corporate culture is only a partial reality. This is important information, and art provides it.

Centre Bouddhiste de l’Ile de France 2004

Art is the organisation of sense impressions [into pleasurable formal relations] that expresses the artist’s sensibility and communicates to his audience a sense of values that can transform their lives.

centre Boudiste paris

Definition from the Oxford dictionary

Human creative skills or its application; branch of creative activity concerned with production of imitative and imaginative designs and expressions of ideas, in painting; esp products of activity; any skill contrasted with scientific technique or principle; craft or activity requiring imaginative skill (in pl) branches of learning (esp languages, literature, and history) associated with imaginative and creative skill as distinct from technical skills of science; specific ability, knack, cunning artfulness; trick, stratagem.

The University of British Columbia.

Any brief definition of art would oversimplify the matter, but we can say that all the definitions offered over the centuries include some notion of human agency, whether through manual skills (as in the art of sailing or painting or photography), intellectual manipulation (as in the art of politics), or public or personal expression (as in the art of conversation). Recall that the word is etymologically related to artificial — i.e., produced by human beings. Since this embraces many types of production that are not conventionally deemed to be art, perhaps a better term for them would be visual culture.

This would explain why certain pre-industrial cultures produce objects which Eurocentric interests characterize as art, even though the producing culture has no linguistic term to differentiate these objects from utilitarian artefacts. Having said that, we are still left with a class of objects, ideas and activities that are held to be separate or special in some way. Even those things which become art even though they are not altered in any material way — e.g., readymades — are accorded some special status in a describable way. Because of this complexity,
writers have developed a variety of ways to characterize the art impulse.

The University of British Columbia


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