An artist is a person engaged in the arts, particularly in the visual arts. The term may also be applied to practitioners of other creative disciplines, such as writers, musicians and actors. The definition of art is continually debated, with some arguing that only the most creative and innovative works are considered true art, while others define it more narrowly as any work that inspires an emotional response from a viewer.
The purpose of art is to communicate ideas and emotions, and this has always been a powerful tool for changing the world. It can influence people and create change by pulling on heartstrings, or it can simply entertain and inform. Art can even be a form of communication across language and time, connecting disparate cultures through shared experiences and values.
In its earliest forms, art was often created as an expression of the divine. The Bible is filled with illustrations of creation and the story of humankind’s journey to paradise. However, the art of humankind has since evolved to encompass a much broader range of concepts and themes, from social commentary to personal reflection. The concept of art can be difficult to define, and artists often struggle with how to express their vision in a way that is both meaningful and accessible to the public.
Traditionally, the content of art has been determined by the artist’s patron or commissioner, although there are many exceptions to this rule. In more recent times, the intent of an artist has been a primary determinant of the art’s subject matter. In some cases, artists have intentionally courted controversy in order to gain attention and recognition for their works, with examples including Theodore Gericault’s Raft of the Medusa (1820) and Pablo Picasso’s Guernica (1937).
Some artists are more skilled than others at specific tasks. These talents can be developed through practice and a formal education, such as a bachelor’s or master’s degree in a field such as fine arts. In addition to artistic skills, other essential characteristics of an artist include a sense of vision and creativity.
A basic human instinct for balance and harmony is often perceived as beauty, and this can be seen in works of art such as music or paintings. A fundamental level of appreciation is often intangible, and it can be challenging to measure.
Art is a way to grasp the world, not just the physical world, which is what science attempts to do; but it also includes the human world and the spiritual experience. The resulting understanding can bring inspiration, encourage morale or raise awareness of important issues in society. Art has also helped fight against intolerance of different cultures and racism, among other unjust societal injustices.