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Posted: Apr 17, 2017
In European academic traditions, fine art is art developed primarily for aesthetics or beauty, distinguishing it from applied art that also has to serve some practical function, such as pottery or most metalwork.
Historically, the five main fine arts were painting, sculpture, architecture, music and poetry, with performing arts including theatre and dance. Today, the fine arts commonly include additional forms, such as film, photography, video production/editing, design, sequential art, conceptual art, and printmaking. However, in some institutes of learning or in museums, fine art and frequently the term fine arts (pl.) as well, are associated exclusively with visual art forms.
One definition of fine art is "a visual art considered to have been created primarily for aesthetic and intellectual purposes and judged for its beauty and meaningfulness, specifically, painting, sculpture, drawing, watercolor, graphics, and architecture." In that sense, there are conceptual differences between the fine arts and the applied arts. As originally conceived, and as understood for much of the modern era, the perception of aesthetic qualities required a refined judgment usually referred to as having good taste, which differentiated fine art from popular art and entertainment.
The word "fine" does not so much denote the quality of the artwork in question, but the purity of the discipline according to traditional Western European canons. This definition originally excluded the applied or decorative arts, and the products of what were regarded as crafts. In contemporary practice these distinctions and restrictions have become essentially meaningless, as the concept or intention of the artist is given primacy, regardless of the means through which this is expressed.
According to some writers the concept of a distinct category of fine art is an invention of the early modern period in the West. Larry Shiner in his The Invention of Art: A Cultural History2003. locates the invention in the 18th century: "There was a traditional "system of the arts" in the West before the eighteenth century. (Other traditional cultures still have a similar system.) In that system, an artist or artisan was a skilled maker or practitioner, a work of art was the useful product of skilled work, and the appreciation of the arts was integrally connected with their role in the rest of life. "Art," in other words, meant approximately the same thing as the Greek word technic, or in English "skill", a sense that has survived in phrases like "the art of war," "the art of love," and "the art of medicine." Similar ideas have been expressed by Paul Oskar Kris teller, Pierre Bourdieu, and Terry Eagleton (e.g. The Ideology of the Aesthetic), though the point of invention is often placed earlier, in the Italian Renaissance.
The separation of arts and crafts that often exists in Europe and the US is not shared by all other cultures. In Japanese aesthetics the activities of everyday life are depicted by integrating not only art with craft but man-made with nature. Traditional Chinese art distinguished within Chinese painting between the mostly landscape literati painting of scholar gentlemen and the artisans of the schools of court painting and sculpture. A high status was also given to many things that would be seen as craft objects in the West, in particular ceramics, jade carving, weaving, and embroidery. Latin American art was dominated by European colonialism until the 20th-century, when indigenous art began to reassert itself inspired by the Constructivist Movement, which reunited arts with crafts based upon socialist principles.
Visual artsTwo-dimensional works: Painting and drawing:
Drawing is a form of visual expression and is one of the major forms of the visual arts. Common instruments include graphite pencils, pen and ink, inked brushes, wax color pencils, crayons, charcoals, chalk, pastels, markers, stylus, or various metals like silverpoint. There are a number of subcategories of drawing, including cartooning. Certain drawing methods or approaches, such as "doodling" and other informal kinds of drawing such as drawing in the fog a shower leaves on a bathroom mirror, or the surrealist method of "entopic graph mania", in which dots are made at the sites of impurities in a blank sheet of paper, and lines are then made between the dots, may or may not be considered to be part of "drawing" as a "fine art."Mosaics:
Mosaics are images formed with small pieces of stone or glass, called tesserae. They can be decorative or functional. An artist who designs and makes mosaics is called a mosaic artist or a mosaics.Printmaking:
Printmaking is the process of making artworks by printing, normally on paper. Except in the case of monetizing, the process is capable of producing multiples of the same piece, which is called a print. Each print is considered an original, as opposed to a copy. The reasoning behind this is that the print is not a reproduction of another work of art in a different medium — for instance, a painting — but rather an image designed from inception as a print. An individual print is also referred to as an impression. Prints are created from a single original surface, known technically as a matrix. Common types of matrices include: plates of metal, usually copper or zinc for engraving or etching; stone, used for lithography; blocks of wood for woodcuts, linoleum for linocuts and fabric in the case of screen-printing. But there are many other kinds, discussed below. Multiple nearly identical prints can be called an edition. In modern times each print is often signed and numbered forming a "limited edition." Prints may also be published in book form, as artist's books. A single print could be the product of one or multiple techniques.Calligraphy:
Calligraphy is a type of visual art. It is often called the art of fancy lettering A contemporary definition of calligraphic practice is "the art of giving form to signs in an expressive, harmonious and skillful manner". Modern calligraphy ranges from functional hand-lettered inscriptions and designs to fine-art pieces where the abstract expression of the handwritten mark may or may not compromise the legibility of the letters. Classical calligraphy differs from typography and non-classical hand-lettering, though a calligrapher may create all of these; characters are historically disciplined yet fluid and spontaneous, improvised at the moment of writingPhotography:
Fine art photography refers to photographs that are created to fulfill the creative vision of the artist. Fine art photography stands in contrast to photojournalism and commercial photography. Photojournalism visually communicates stories and ideas, mainly in print and digital media. Fine art photography is created primarily as an expression of the artist’s vision, but has also been important in advancing certain causes. The work of Ansell Adams in Yosemite and Yellowstone provides an example. Adams is one of the most widely recognized fine art photographers of the 20th century and was an avid promoter of conservation. While his primary focus was on photography as art, his work raised public awareness of the beauty of the Sierra Nevada and helped to build political support for their protection.
Architecture is frequently considered a fine art, especially if its aesthetic components are spotlighted — in contrast to structural-engineering or construction-management components. Architectural works are perceived as cultural and political symbols and works of art. Historical civilizations often are known primarily through their architectural achievements. Such buildings as the pyramids of Egypt and the Roman Coliseum are cultural symbols, and are important links in public consciousness, even when scholars have discovered much about past civilizations through other means. Cities, regions and cultures continue to identify themselves with, and are known by, their architectural monuments.Pottery:
One field where "fine" remains a valid technical term is pottery, especially in archaeology. "Fine wares" are high-quality pottery, often painted, mounded or otherwise decorated, and in many periods distinguished from "coarse" wares, which are basic utilitarian pots used by the mass of the population, or in the kitchen rather than for more formal purposes.
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