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Definition Essay on Art

What Is Art?

❶If the viewer feels that the artist works for himself, he is affected, but if he feels that the artist is not infected, but is trying to influence him, the viewer feels a resistance, and is repelled instead.

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Please enter a valid phone number. People who consider the meaning of art to be pleasure cannot realise its true meaning, in fact, people will come to understand the meaning of art only when they cease to consider that the aim of art is pleasure.

The first definition is inexact, because instead of speaking of the human activity itself, it only speaks of the derivation of it The second definition is inexact because a man may express his emotions by means of lines colours etc, and yet may not act on others by his expression so the result is not art.

Furthermore, the production of a play which does not afford pleasure to the producer or audience, may yet be a work of art.

The inaccuracy of all these definitions arises from the fact that, in them all, the object considered is the pleasure art may give, and not the purpose it may serve in the life of man and of humanity. In order to define art correctly, it is necessary to cease to consider it as a means to pleasure, and to consider it as one of the conditions of life.

Viewed in this way, we see that art is one of the means of communication between man and man. Every work of art causes the receiver to enter into a certain kind of relationship, both with the artist and all who receive the same impression. Just as words transmit thoughts, so art transmits feelings.

The activity of art is based on the fact that when we witness a man experiencing an emotion, we to some extent share it. To evoke in oneself a feeling that one has once experienced, and to transmit that feeling to others through forms and colours, sounds or movements.

Art is not pleasure, but a means of union among men, joining them together in the same feelings, and indispensable for life and progress towards well-being of individuals and of humanity. Thanks to his capacity to express thoughts by words, every man may know the debt he owes to the past, and be able to hand on what he has acheived to future generations.

If humans lacked this capacity, we would be like wild beasts, and if people lacked this capacity for being infected by art, people might be more savage still, and more separated from one another. This special importance has always been given to that part of art which transmits feelings flowing from religious perception.

This was how Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle looked on art, and how all the great religious teachers understood it. Plato was so convinced of the power of art, that he suggested that artists should be banned from his ideal republic. Yet that is a less harmful attitude than the attitude in our European society today, where art is regarded as a good thing only if it affords pleasure.

How has our society come down to this? Humanity unceasingly moves forward from a lower, more partial view of life to a higher and broader view. Religions are the exponents of the highest comprehension of life accessible to the best and foremost people at a given time.

Later the rest of society follows their lead. Therefore religions have always served as bases for the valuation of human semtiments. If feelings bring men nearer the ideal their religion indicates, they are good, if they oppose it, they are bad. Thus in the case of the Greeks, if the religion places the meaning of life in earthly happiness, in beauty and strength, then art transmitting the joy and energy of life would be considered good, but art transmitting despondency would be bad. If the meaning of life is seen in freeing oneself from the yoke of animalism, as in Buddhism, then art which elevates the soul and humbles the flesh is good, whereas art exalting bodily passions would be bad.

But art in our society has been so perverted that not only has bad art come to be considered good, but even the very perception of what art really is, has been lost. In order to find out why, we must distinguish art from counterfeit art.

Real art must be infectious — the receiver of a true artistic impression is so united to the artist that he feels as though the work were his own — as if what it expresses was what he had been longing to express. A real work of art destroys the separation between himself and the artist, and even between himself and all those others who also appreciate this art.

In this freeing of our personality from its isolation, and uniting it with others, lies the great attractive force of art. Not only is infection a sure sign of art, but the degree of infectiousness is the sole measure of excellence in art.

This depends on three things: The individuality of the feeling transmitted. The sincerity of the artist — ie, the the degree of force with which the artist feels the emotion he transmits.

If the viewer feels that the artist works for himself, he is affected, but if he feels that the artist is not infected, but is trying to influence him, the viewer feels a resistance, and is repelled instead. All can be summed up in a word — sincerity. The artist should be impelled by an inner need to express his feeling. Now, just as the evolution of knowledge proceeds by truer and more necessary knowledge displacing previous knowledge, so the evolution of feeling proceeds through art — feelings more kind and needful to humanity replace the older feelings.

That is the purpose of art. In every age there exists an understanding of the meaning of life which represents the highest level which has been attained.

If it appears that in our Society there is no religious perception, this is not because there is none, but because we do not want to see it. And often this is because it exposes the fact that our life is inconsistent with that religious perception.

In our times religion is regarded as a superstition which humanity has outgrown, and yet if humanity is to progress there must be a guide to the direction of that movement. Religions have always furnished that guide throughout history. So there must be some form of religious perception today — and in its widest and most practical application, it is the consciousness that or well-being — materially and spiritually — lies in the growth of brotherhood among men — in their loving harmony with one another.

The chief mistake made by the people of the upper classes at the time of the Renaissance was that they set up in place of religious art, an art which aimed only at giving pleasure.

It is said that the great evil is not that we do not know God, but that we make a god of something lower. Instead of art which feeds the spirit, an empty and often vicious art is set up, which hides from us our need for true art. And true art for our time would demand the union of all people without exception — above all virtues it sets brotherly love to all men. Hegel on the Philosophy of Fine Art. Art can serve many puposes, and even be a pastime, but we want to examine the kind of art that is free in its aim and means.

This is the only true art. Its highest function is only served when it has established itself in a sphere which it shares with religion and philosophy, becoming thereby a mode and form through which the Divine, the profoundest interests of mankind, and spiritual truths of the widest range, are brought home to consciousness and expressed.

It is in works of art that nations have deposited the richest ideas they possess, and often art serves as a key of interpretation to the wisdom and understanding of peoples. Philosophy and religion also do this, but art appeals to the senses and is nearer to Nature and to our sensitive and emotional life. Art is the primary bond of mediation between the external world of the senses and the medium of pure thought and understanding.

It could be objected that art was unworthy, being of the world of appearances and its deceptions. But in the world of Nature appearance is essential to reality. There could be no such thing as truth if it did not actually appear for some person.

And appearance in Nature itself is deceptive. It is only beyond the appearance of everyday life that we shall discover reality in any true sense. At least art does not pretend to be reality, whereas Nature, pretending to be the only reality,is more deceptive. A work of art is not produced by Nature; it is brought into being by the agency of man. It is created essentially for man, and it is addressed to his senses 3. 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.


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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.