When people talk about artworks, they usually talk about those that are meant to be viewed as art. But the meanings of art vary greatly. There is no universally accepted definition of art, and some critics disagree. Some see art as belonging to a particular form, while others focus on the intention of the artist. Whether a piece is created to be useful or simply to be seen as a work of art is a more subjective judgment.
Artworks often serve symbolic or ritualistic purposes. While they may not solve social problems or promote social justice, they can serve as a leveling platform for discussion. While works of art are not necessarily intended to change human behavior, they can provoke strong intellectual debates. They can also help us challenge our own beliefs and norms. By provoking strong emotions and challenging our preconceived notions, art can help us better understand our own personal values and our own culture.
Visual arts, such as paintings and sculptures, are often categorized by style and medium. Paintings, for example, are works created from paint and ink on canvas. Photographs are another form of visual art. Photographs use a keen eye to capture an image. Sculpture, on the other hand, is a three-dimensional work. Many famous sculptors use marble or bronze. Some are made to be viewed from different angles or with sound.
The nature of art is often institutional and socio-cultural. Davies’ neo-institutionalism may be challenged, however, by the inherent symbolism of pictorial art. Pictorial symbols are densely-packed, semantically rich, and often exemplify properties of the objects they represent. The term “work of art” is often misused by critics. The concept of art is often confused with the idea of “artworld”.
A feminist philosophy of art begins with the assumption that art is skewed by gender. The Western canon is dominated by male-centered perspectives and stereotyping, and nearly all artists in the Western world are men. Women have been unable to create art due to institutional, social, and economic impediments. Additionally, the concept of genius was developed in such a way that it excluded women. This view does not help the field of art in the twenty-first century.
An earlier cluster theorist defines artworks as any item that belongs to the artform. The list he offers is meant to capture the essence of the artform, but the list is not exhaustive. In this view, aesthetic value is merely a function of these other items. This is contrary to Gaut’s view, who construes aesthetic qualities narrowly. This approach is still controversial, however. In either case, however, art has aesthetic value.