What is Art?
Art refers to a diverse range of human activities, creations, and expressions that are appealing or attractive to the senses or have some significance to the mind of an individual. The word “art” may be used to cover all or any of the arts, including music, literature and other forms. It is most often used to refer specifically to the visual arts, including media such as painting, sculpture, and printmaking. However it can also be applied to forms of art that stimulate the other senses, such as music, an auditory art. Aesthetics is the branch of philosophy which considers art.
Art lacks a satisfactory definition. It is easier to describe it as the way something is done — “the use of skill and imagination in the creation of aesthetic objects, environments, or experiences that can be shared with others” (Encyclopedia Britanica) – rather than what it is. Generally art is a (product of) human activity, made with the intention of stimulating the human senses as well as the human mind; by transmitting emotions and/or ideas. Beyond this description, there is no general agreed-upon definition of art. Art is also able to illustrate abstract thought and its expressions can elicit previously hidden emotions in its audience.
As John Keats famously wrote (in the Spring of 1819) in his
“Ode on a Grecian Urn”:
When old age shall this generation waste,
Thou shalt remain, in midst of other woe
Than ours, a friend to man, to whom thou say’st
‘Beauty is truth, truth beauty’ – that is all
Ye know on earth, and all ye need to know.