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What Is Art?

What Is Art?

❶He has a need to bring himself in his own inner life to consciousness.

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The essential point to maintain is that although talent and genius imply natural power, yet it is indispensable that.

A work of art possesses a purely technical side — that of craft. This is most obvious in architecture and sculpture, less so in painting and music, least in poetry. Added to this the more exalted the rank of the artist the more profoundly he ought to portray depths of soul and mind. Study is the means by which the artist brings to consciousness such a content.

Is art inferior to Nature? Art originates in the human spirit, it has received the baptism of the human mind and soul of man. The spiritual values are seized in the work of art and emphasized with greater purity and clarity than is possible in ordinary reality, therefore the work of art is greater. Man is a thinking consciousness; he makes explicit to himself all that exists. He has a need to bring himself in his own inner life to consciousness.

He needs to assert himself in that which is presented him in immediacy, external to himself, and by doing so at the same time to recognize himself therein. This purpose he achieves by the alteration he effects in external objects, upon which he imprints the seal of his inner life.

He does this in order that he may divest the world of its alienation from himself. A boy throws stones into a stream, and then looks with wonder at the circles which follow in the water, seeing there something of hs own doing.

This need runs through everything up to the level of art. Man satisfies his spirit by making explicit to his inner life all that exists, as well as further giving a realized external embodiment to the self thus made explicit. And by this reduplication of what is his own he places before the vision and within the cognition of himself and others what is within him.

Writers have asked what feelings art ought to excite. But feelings are subjective and passing, although powerful at the time, which is why people are so proud of having emotions. The trouble is that they do not attempt to study their emotions, which would help by creating thereby a distance from them.

Art can give this distance, because by depicting emotions, it helps the onlooker towards the study of his own emotions. Is art there to excite a feeling for beauty?

To appreciate beauty people have cultivated taste, but taste is superficial, and cannot grasp the real profoundity of art. Art scholarship is too often concerned only with externals. Art therefore is not just for the senses. The mind is intended to be affected as well and to receive some kind of satisfaction in it. The creative imagination of a true artist is the imagination of a great mind and a big heart, it grasps the profoundest and most embracing human interests in the wholly definite presentation of imagery borrowed from objective experience.

Art is not meant to be a mere imitation of Nature — if it attempts a mere copy it will always lag a long way behind. Nevertheless the artist must learn the laws of Nature; of colour and chiaroscuro; of line and form.

So what is the true content of art, and what is its aim? One opinion is that it is the the task of art to bring before us everything that the spirit of man can concieve. Sensual desire is more brutal and domineering the more it appropriates the entire man, so that he does not retain the power to separate himself, and loses touch with his universal capacity.

Sometimes art showing such passions can awaken man to the horror of his condition, he can see them outside himself, they come before him as objects rather than part of himself — he begins to be free from them as aliens. In the same way, wailing women were hired at funerals, to create an external expression of grief, so that the sufferer can see his sorrow in an objective form and in reflecting on it, his sorrow is made lighter.

So art, while still remaining in the sphere of the senses, faces man from the might of his sensitive experience by means of its representations. We have seen how art instructs by revealing to man the contents of his nature, but if art tries to bluntly teach, it becomes merely a maxim, with the art added on as bait.

Thereby the very nature of art is abused. For a work of art ought not to bring before the creative imagination a content in its universality as such, but rather this universality under the mode of individual concreteness and distinctive sensuous particularity.

For other ends such as instruction, purification, improvement, riches, fame and honour have nothing to do with a work of art as such, still less with the concept of art. Ludwig Wittgenstein — Wittgenstein has said that in his opinion the subject of aesthetics is very big and entirely misunderstood.

He would like a book on philosophy to contain chapters on words, and confusions that come up with them. He compares language to a tool chest; words are used together in a family of ways — yet the tools could be very different. Now it makes sense! In one case you learn the rules. A tailor learns how to measure and cut the coat. Nevertheless we need the rules.

In learning the rules, you get a more and more refined judgement; in fact learning the rules actually changes your judgement. The rules of harmony in music came about because they expressed the way most people wanted the chords to follow — their wishes crytallized in these rules. All the greatest composers wrote in accordance with these rules, and yet you can say that every composer changed the rules, but the variation was very slight, not all the rules were changed.

In the Arts, a person who has judgment also changes and develops. We can distinguish between a person who knows what he is talking about and one who does not. No, the bass is not quite loud enough. Although we can see when someone appreciates something, it is impossible to describe. To do this we would have to describe the whole environment.

Entirely different things enter. In a style of architecture a door may be correct, and you appreciate it, but in the case of a Gothic Cathedral, we do not just find it correct — it has a different role to play in our lives. To describe what you mean by a cultured taste, you have to describe a culture. An entirely different game is played in different ages. In order to become clear about aesthetic words you have to describe ways of living.

A landlady might love a sentimental painting, you might want to throw it in the fire …. There is an interpenetration of art and nature — so that a place comes alive because of its history.

Oriental artists try to forget themselves, and meditate on the subject of nature, rendering it as truly as they can, becoming one with things but leaving their egos out. Later artists such as Cezanne became intent on revealing the buried significance of the visible world.

Three rules on art. So the rules must be continually reborn, and the artist is forever exploring the unknown. Each time, and for every single work, there is for the artist a new and unique way to strive after the making of his art. Because in art as in contemplation, intellectuality at its peak goes beyond concepts and reason, and is achieved through union with the subject, which love alone can bring about.

He goes on to say that many people hold the subjective view that art is beauty, and we call beauty that which gives us a particular kind of pleasure. In the objective sense, we call beauty something absolutely perfect, and we acknowledge it to be so only because we receive, from this perfection, a certain kind of pleasure; so the objective definition is the same as the subjective.

The kind of pleasure we receive from beauty is that which pleases us without evoking desire in us. We might try to be scientific about it, and try to find a definition of art based on beauty, which we could apply to all art productions to see if they belonged to the realm of art or not.

But all attempts to define absolute beauty have failed. There is no objective definition of beauty. All definitions amount to the same thing; that art is that which makes beauty manifest, and beauty is that which pleases without exciting desire.

But there is and can be no explanation of why one thing pleases one man and displeases another, so scientists cannot work out the laws of art. So then — what is art? The latest definitions are: This article has 17 comments. Email me when someone replies. I hope even I could get such ideas. I had no idea. It's amazing to get to read your inner thoughts Maya. Inquiring minds want to know. I love your perspective and honesty.

I'm not quite sure what this poem is about but that's part of the reason it's so great. It could be referring to many different aspects of life I like theveryone backwardness of it all.

I really appreciate it: I can't wait to read your stuff: I'm glad you liked it! How did you know that was me? I wanted to make it sound anonymous!

Wow Elissa this is really good: Elissa, this is fantastic! Your points are really clear and your style of writing is sophisticated and captivating. This is sooooo amazing Elissa!!! You are soo gifted!!!!!

You should totally submit something, and I mean it! It makes me happy to hear that! This is very well written. I am glad you recommended this for me to read. Choose what to email Which of your works would you like to tell your friends about? Send your email To. Add a personal note. Send Us Site Feedback.


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Art has been a part of our life for as long as humanity has existed. For thousands of years people have been creating, looking at, criticizing, and enjoying art. I would like to address three questions: what is art, what is its purpose, and why has it survived for this long.

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What is art? Many people argue over the answer to this question. There are several different interpretations as to what is considered to be a work of art. There are also many different types of artwork. Some believe that anything and everything in the world is art, while others believe that it /5(10).

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What is art? Art is defined as the expression and application of one’s creativity, typically in the form of something visual. The definition of art is in the eyes of the beholder. Many dig far too deep into the ambiguity of the actually definition of art itself that they forget to . definition of art essaysArt is an expression of life, which means it expresses emotions. Creation that allows for interpretation of any kind is art. I have read somewhere that art is a human skill as opposed to nature, a skill applied to music, painting, poetry etc.

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Keywords: art definition essay, definition of art, art philosophy essay. A definition of art would help to identify what art is in order for individuals to recognise and appreciate it, but there is controversy as to how to define art or whether art can be defined at all. In this essay I will present my view of what art is. For me, this concept is very complex and encompasses a great variety of subtypes. It can be realized in all the possible spheres of life, and in every one of them it can take so many forms that it is impossible to describe them all at once.