The term art encompasses a wide variety of disciplines. The most commonly known are the Fine Arts, Visual Arts, Decorative Arts, Applied Arts, Crafts, and Performing Art. These disciplines encompass everything from painting to sculpture, from drawing to performance. Despite the broad scope of art, there is a wide variety of forms and techniques within it. In addition to the many mediums, art can be categorized into various subsets.
The definition of art varies over time, but traditionally, art has been regarded as a form of expression, a vehicle for communication, a study of formal elements, and a representation of a movement or era. Martin Heidegger, for instance, defines art as a medium for community. But can art be defined this way? Perhaps. And if it does, we can ask whether art is really worth appreciating.
In Dewey’s theory, art is a form of expression. While a painting is created to make a point, a sculpture may be created for no reason at all. Likewise, the concept of art is polarized: an artist may focus on making something that is functional or beautiful, while an artisan may be more concerned with aesthetics. It’s important to realize that the purpose of art is culturally specific. And it can vary dramatically depending on the medium.
Besides being a form of expression, art is a tool for social activism. By making people feel better about themselves, artists help people to act. While they can’t solve global problems or fight racism or other forms of societal segregation, art can inspire action. Art can even make an elite feel better about themselves. Using images of war and suffering can stir the masses to action. The impact of art is far-reaching. It can also be a catalyst for tolerance, a key goal for society.
Another tool artists use to achieve the right effect is proportion. A painting’s sky shouldn’t cover more than two-thirds of the canvas. Scale, on the other hand, is similar to proportion. If a painting is out of proportion, the objects appear out of place. Artists also have the freedom to exaggerate certain objects, such as landscapes or people. If done correctly, this is the perfect medium for conveying a strong message.
Art inspires creativity and accesses the higher mental processes. Creativity is a form of intelligence. Exposure to art increases creativity and improves knowledge in other fields. Its power has even led to the suppression of artists, who have been killed and threatened for expressing their artistic visions. So, despite the ill effects of the arts on the world, they remain an important source of education. This is especially true in the age of technology.
While some forms of art are more abstract, such as abstract painting, there is still a vast array of forms within the artistic field. In fact, the newest art form, cinema, was only developed over a century ago. As an extension of art, movies involve the visual and audible senses. The visual arts accompany the spoken word to tell stories. There are many forms of art – from painting to architecture to sculpture to photography to music and videography.