What are artworks, and what is their purpose? The first question to ask is, “What is an artwork?” The answers vary based on the person’s background and education, but most artists and philosophers agree that artworks have an aesthetic function. There are many definitions of art, and it is useful to compare and contrast them to determine which one is more appropriate. Aesthetic experiences, or those that move people to tears, are a powerful source of human culture and history.
Some scholars have criticized this definition for its apparent circularity, but it is not completely incorrect. An earlier definition of art defined it as “anything belonging to a central art form” and “a thing that achieves excellence in its function.” In other words, artworks are things that have an intention to be regarded, while the more recent version of this theory tries to define them according to their function. And, in order to be useful, an artwork must be a reflection of its creator.
Some critics argue that the idea of an artwork is transhistorical, and therefore cannot be described in terms of its cultural context. But this view is far from being uncritical, and the most elitist art critics, such as Stephen Weinberg and Daniel Kahane, do acknowledge that artworks are made to be viewed. However, this does not mean that the art can’t be classified according to its aesthetic value. Its defining feature is the intention to engage in the creation of a work.
In a recent paper, a distinguished panel of academics, including the Nobel laureate, argued that the artworld should be categorised according to its role in the culture. It is an expression of how artists and other creative people engage in art. The term “artworld” can refer to various kinds of art, or to an entire collection of them. Aesthetics is a crucial aspect of contemporary culture, and its definitions must be clear to the public.
The definition of an artwork is not the same for everyone. A work of art can be a painting, a sculpture, a graphic or a printed piece. Depending on its purpose, artworks can also be a representation of a particular culture. For example, a painting may be created for its aesthetic value, while a photograph of a famous artist is a representation of a culture. A piece of art may be a work of art if it is an object of beauty.
In contrast, a person who reproduces an artwork is not a member of the artworld. By virtue of a work of art, the creator of the work has been the subject of an artist’s labor. A writer, on the other hand, might have created an art without realizing it. A replica is not an artwork; it splits an atom of the original piece of art. A reproduction of an artwork, in essence, is a copy.