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What is Art?

Art is a diverse range of human activities in creating visual, auditory or performing artifacts (artworks), expressing the author's imaginative, conceptual ideas, or technical skill, intended to be appreciated for their beauty or emotional power. Other activities related to the production of works of art include the criticism of art, the study of the history of art, and the aesthetic dissemination of art.

The three classical branches of art are painting, sculpture and architecture. Music, theatre, film, dance, and other performing arts, as well as literature and other media such as interactive media, are included in a broader definition of the arts. Until the 17th century, art referred to any skill or mastery and was not differentiated from crafts or sciences. In modern usage after the 17th century, where aesthetic considerations are paramount, the fine arts are separated and distinguished from acquired skills in general, such as the decorative or applied arts.


The word art may refer to several things: (i) a study of a creative skill, (ii) a process of using the creative skill, (iii) a product of the creative skill, or (iv) the audience's experience with the creative skill. The creative arts (art as discipline) are a collection of disciplines which produce artworks (art as objects) that are compelled by a personal drive (art as activity) and convey a message, mood, or symbolism for the perceiver to interpret (art as experience). Art is something that stimulates an individual's thoughts, emotions, beliefs, or ideas through the senses. Works of art can be explicitly made for this purpose or interpreted on the basis of images or objects. For some scholars, such as Kant, the sciences and the arts could be distinguished by taking science as representing the domain of knowledge and the arts as representing the domain of the freedom of artistic expression.

The functions of art include:[1] 1) Cognitive function Works of art let us know about what the author knew, and about what the surrounding of the author were like. 2) Aesthetic function Works of art are more or less harmonic and bring pleasure, a sensation of beauty. 3) Prognostic function Some artists draw what they see the future like, and some of them are right, but most are not... 4) Recreation function Art makes us think about it, not about reality; we have a rest. 5) Value function What did the artist value? What aims did he like/dislike in human activity? This usually is clearly seen in artists' works. 6) Didactic function What message, criticism or political change did the artist wish to achieve?

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