Aesthetics is a branch of philosophy that explores the nature of art and its interpretation. The resulting artworks are studied in professional fields such as art history and art criticism. For instance, a 12th-century painting entitled A Thousand Li of Mountains and Rivers by Song dynasty artist Wang Ximeng has been studied by many aestheticians. While some artists may have been influenced by these ideas, many do not.

While art can have practical applications, it also serves symbolic and ritualistic functions. The use of art in different cultures often involves an attempt to convey the experience of a culture. The meaning derived from an artwork is not determined by one individual, but rather by the social context and cosmological relationship of a culture. Even if the artworks are not intended for a political purpose, they serve as symbolic objects. Aside from fostering awareness of cultural differences, artworks can inspire a wider range of people to act.

Artworks vary greatly in their style and medium. For example, a painting may have two or three distinct styles. Paintings typically fall into one of these categories: landscape, still life, and abstract. Paintings may include a variety of subjects, such as animals, landscapes, and even abstract objects. Artistic works can also be created as installations, which create an entire experience. Many pieces of sculpture are intended to engage several senses. These forms of art may have practical applications or decorative ones.

While these definitions may be useful for identifying the various forms of art, they do not allow the categories to be self-definitively defined. There are multiple overlapping categories of art, which are sometimes problematic. As a result, the definition of art should be treated with caution. This way, the concept of art is more likely to reflect the reality of a culture. So, what is art? A theory of art may not provide an adequate description of the various forms of artistic creation.

Davies’s concept of the artworld enables us to differentiate between works of art based on their subject matter, style, and artistic context. This definition also enables us to identify the differences between contemporary art and ancient works of art. Artistic institutions, in other words, create and display art that has an audience. A well-curated gallery is a valuable asset to have. However, the artworld is not a utopian place. If the artworks are not accessible, no society can benefit from them.

Although classical definitions are more abstract than contemporary theories, they are still incredibly complicated. Many of the concepts used to describe art are embedded in larger philosophical theories. Most of these theories incorporate epistemology and metaphysics, which are prime examples of conceptually confused language. In short, these theories are both difficult to understand and often ambiguous. Therefore, it is important to understand the art-science relationship. This is a critical issue in the field of aesthetics.