What is art?

My friend, Rachelle, wrote about art in her 365 Days of Coaching newsletter today. It reminded me of how difficult it is to define art. And the closer I get to art, the more I know about it, the further away I am from that definition.

I’m probably more inclusive as to what is art than most people–even artists. I like, however, to emphasize that it needs to be a deliberate process by a human being. And I think it’s critical to differentiate nature/beauty/art. They are not all the same thing.

It’s up to us to educate everyone else, especially since most people have not had even the most basic art appreciation course.

Some quotes of note:

"I would like to know if anyone has ever seen a natural
work of art. Nature and art, being two different things, cannot be the same
thing. Through art we express our conception of what nature is
–Pablo Picasso
"What is art? . . . art is the deliberate creation
of aesthetic sensations. Art is a work of a human being, not of nature. It is
not accidental. It produces something that is perceived through the senses and
results in a personal emotional experience."
–G. Ellis Burcaw, Introduction
to Museum Work
, page 66
". . . it is the conscious, deliberate production of an
event or object of beauty (or emotional import) by a human being, employing not
only the skill of the craftsman, but in addition, an element of
creativity–original, inventive, instinctive, genius. An art object is an
aesthetic artifact, deliberately created.

     Art actually lies in the act of creation, not in its
–G. Ellis Burcaw, Introduction to Museum Work, page
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1 comment to What is art?

  • Define Art
    To define art one must define Artist.
    An artist brings into existence, state of occurring, something that was not there before. The artist uses the mind, body, and emotion, to invent, design, process the former, then ultimately creates. The artist’s choice of medium is his/her means to execute the art.
    Art –the root of this word comes from several languages ranging from the 13th to the 16th centuries. Their meanings mostly pertain to skill or learning.
    However, art-in Old English is the word eart, and is a form of the word be. The earliest meaning I have found for the latter is Sanskrit from 4C BCE; bahavati means becoming.
    If you take the elements the artist uses and process them to create, you have art.
    While many think of art as something of beauty, it can be the opposite.
    The CPA that sits at a desk working with numbers puts them together to create a financial statement. That is his art. The same holds true for the engineer who creates a new tool, or the entrepreneur who creates a business. While these examples may not be classified as fine art, it is art none the less.
    Art is creation pure and simple. There would be no art without a human to create it.
    Each and every one of us is an artist. And we are all a work of art.