Art is a form of human expression. It can convey a feeling, idea or thought that cannot be expressed in any other way. It can even be used to create a mood, atmosphere or emotion. Art can take many different forms such as paintings, sculptures, music and film. It can also be found in architecture, fashion and design. Art is a reflection of a culture and society and it is used to express emotions, feelings, ideas, thoughts, beliefs and concepts. It is a medium of communication that can help bring people together.
Art can be a complex subject and there are many opinions on what constitutes a work of art. The definition of art is subjective, as each person will interpret the work differently. Often the artwork will be personal to the individual and will invoke a feeling, memory or association that is unique to them. Artists create works of art for a number of reasons including expressing themselves, gaining recognition and money, or as a way to connect with the audience.
The defining criteria of a good piece of art is that it has to be well crafted. The skill level of the artist should be obvious and there has to be that mystified question, “How did they do that?” There is also a need for innovation in the work. It must display a new take on the subject matter or some sort of creativity.
Historically, many arts were considered to be separate and distinct from each other. It was not until the late eighteenth century that art historians began to see them as a continuum and started to distinguish between what were referred to at the time as the ‘fine arts’ and the ‘crafts’.
There is some argument that all of the arts are art, and that all artistic activities are a kind of play with language and meaning. This is a Wittgensteinian position, and it has its critics. It may also be the case that a given artistic activity does not actually have any intrinsic nature at all, and that our concept of art is simply a cultural convention.
Another argument is that present definitions of art are flawed because they rely on and presuppose a framework which incorporates traditional metaphysics and epistemology, which are prime examples of language going on a conceptually confused holiday. Finally, it is possible that a given art-related phenomenon or concept has no genuine existence at all, and that the bloated, unwieldy concept which institutional definitions aim to capture is simply false (Wittgensteinian argument). Aestheticians also worry that they might be engaging in an exercise of futility in attempting to define art. They may be doing more harm than good in constructing definitions which, in the end, are simply meaningless. Whether or not this is the case, it remains an interesting worry, since definitions are necessary to a discourse on art.