Art is a diverse range of human activities and the products of those activities; this article focuses primarily on the visual arts, which includes the creation of images or objects in fields including painting, sculpture, printmaking, photography, and other visual media. Architecture is often included as one of the visual arts; however, like the decorative arts, it involves the creation of objects where the practical considerations of use are essential—in a way that they are usually not for a painting, for example. Music, theatre, film, dance, and other performing arts, as well as literature, and other media such as interactive media are included in a broader definition of art or the arts. Until the 17th century, art referred to any skill or mastery and was not differentiated from crafts or sciences, but in modern usage the fine arts, where aesthetic considerations are paramount, are distinguished from acquired skills in general, and the decorative or applied arts.
Many definitions of art have been proposed by philosophers and others who have characterized art in terms of mimesis, expression, communication of emotion, or other values. During the Romantic period, art came to be seen as "a special faculty of the human mind to be classified with religion and science". Though art's definition is disputed and has changed over time, general descriptions mention an idea of human agency and creation through imaginative or technical skill.
The nature of art, and related concepts such as creativity and interpretation, are explored in a branch of philosophy known as aesthetics.
Famous quotes containing the word art:
“Whatever events in progress shall disgust men with cities, and infuse into them the passion for country life, and country pleasures, will render a service to the whole face of this continent, and will further the most poetic of all the occupations of real life, the bringing out by art the native but hidden graces of the landscape.”
—Ralph Waldo Emerson (18031882)
“It is the art of mankind to polish the world, and every one who works is scrubbing in some part.”
—Henry David Thoreau (18171862)
“American thinking, when it concerns itself with beautiful letters as when it concerns itself with religious dogma or political theory, is extraordinarily timid and superficial ... [I]t evades the genuinely serious problems of art and life as if they were stringently taboo ... [T]he outward virtues it undoubtedly shows are always the virtues, not of profundity, not of courage, not of originality, but merely those of an emasculated and often very trashy dilettantism.”
—H.L. (Henry Lewis)