Art is a universal medium that is used to convey ideas, emotions, and cultural values. It can also be used to break down societal and economic barriers. For example, a picture of a war zone may pull the heartstrings of a nation’s elite and influence policy makers. It can also be used to educate and inform the public.
It can be difficult to define art. Several different definitions have been used throughout history. However, they all have different elements that have to be considered. It’s important to understand the underlying principles that are behind the definitions.
A definition of art has to account for the constraints that are associated with the process of creating the artwork. For instance, it must consider how the artwork is created, the artistic and social context of the creation, and the reasons for the creation. It also needs to account for the fact that everyone has unique experiences and personal feelings that can contribute to the aesthetic experience.
The traditional definitions of art have tended to underplay the substantial unity of the art form. They often attempt to explain a chaotic pile of arts and artworks by providing a list of specific defining characteristics. They also deny the connection between the art and its expressive properties. Ultimately, a conventionalist definition of art suggests that art is only meaningful if the work is a symbol of a certain ideology. The question of the value of the artwork is left unresolved.
The more recent definition of art, developed by George Dickie, has five key defining characteristics. These include a focus on the institutional context, the expert’s discernment, and the artworld’s say-so. This definition was inspired by the emergence of radical art in the twentieth century. While it has evolved over time, the early version of Dickie’s institutionalism defines a work of art as an artifact conferred by the artworld.
One of the major problems with this definition is that it ignores the significance of the social and historical context of the creation. It is also flawed because it does not account for the fact that a work of art can be created by individuals, or a group, or a society. Nevertheless, it does provide a good overview of the many ways that art can be conceived.
While some art definitions are more philosophically freestanding than others, they still fail to fully reflect the complexities of the art form. For instance, the eighteenth century conception of art is considered by some to be more meaningful than the modern definition. Moreover, the definitions of art that have been developed over the past two centuries are not fully unified. Rather, they are comprised of various overlapping features, each of which is important for understanding the art form.
Another aspect of the contemporary definition of art is that it combines history of biased understandings of the word with present definitions. While the concept of art has changed over the years, the physical execution of art has not been affected as much as computers and the Internet have.