What Is Art?


Art is a tricky thing to define, since it encompasses such a wide range of activities and concepts. It can be used for decorative or representational purposes, as an expression of emotions and ideas, or simply as a tool to communicate with other people in a way that is different from the written word. It is also a culturally specific activity, and can be interpreted in different ways by different people.

In general, art is any created work which has a symbolic meaning or value to the creator and the viewer. This can be a painting, sculpture, drawing or even a piece of architecture. It can be religious or secular, decorative or representative, and it may have a deeper meaning or purpose which the creator intended for it. It can be anything that stimulates imagination and creativity, and which is calculated for some kind of effect, whether in terms of popularity or criticism, or perhaps both.

Some examples of artwork can be found in ancient Egyptian mummy cases, Greek statues and Byzantine mosaics. For a long time, much early art was religious in nature. But as civilizations progressed, and societies became more and more secular, artists began to explore other themes. Images of people and everyday events started to make their appearance, and art took on a more realistic form. Artworks such as the Renaissance triptych The Garden of Earthly Delights by Hieronymus Bosch – which is literally overflowing with figures, fantastic constructions and caricatures of reality – show that art can transcend religion in order to explore deeper ideas.

Throughout history, there have been many cultures which have recognized the power of art. It has been used to inspire, uplift and give hope during difficult times, and to encourage courage in those who need it. In fact, it has even been used as a political tool – censored and banned by belligerent governments and ruthless dictators, who understand how much influence and control a single piece of art can have on a society.

There have also been many periods of artistic evolution, as a result of the need to innovate and find new meaning in art. This was especially evident during the era of Modernism, when the search for originality led to movements such as Cubism and Futurism.

Art is important because it allows us to experience something beyond the material world – it allows us to grasp aspects of the human world which are intangible and ineffacable. It is an essential part of our cultural heritage, and it provides a window into other cultures, helping to educate and enrich us. It is also a way to appreciate the beauty of the world around us, and to understand that we are all part of a bigger whole. This is why we should all support our local museums and galleries – they are a wonderful resource which helps to preserve and promote the arts. After all, without the skills, effort and passion poured into every work of art, it wouldn’t be worth a glance.