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Fine art

Related: art - beaux arts - culture - good - author's intention - high culture

Contrast: craft - decorative art - applied art

Mona Lisa (c. 1506-1507) - Leonardo da Vinci

Definition (1)

  • Art produced or intended primarily for beauty rather than utility.
  • Any of the art forms, such as sculpture, painting, or music, used to create such art. Often used in the plural.
  • Something requiring highly developed techniques and skills: the fine art of teaching. --AHD

    Fine art is a term used to refer to fields traditionally considered to be artistic. It is also used to describe "high-quality" works from these fields.

    "Fine art" differs from "useful art" (craft) in that it is purely aesthetic, whereas crafts are made to serve a practical purpose. Example: a sculpture of a teapot that does not actually work is fine art, whereas one that does work is craft.

    The line is blurred when fine decoration is applied to a useful item, such as a quilt, eating utensils, furniture, or decorative architecture such as caryatids. In some cases, a finely decorated useful item may be put on display for its aesthetic value rather than used. In a few cases, classes of items that were formerly useful are now regarded as belonging to the fine arts; for example, tapestries, which used to be used as insulation, are now used purely for decoration in many cultures. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fine_art

    Definition (2)

    The term fine art was first attested in 1767, as a translation from the French term beaux arts. It referred to the arts that were "concerned with beauty or which appealed to taste" (SOED 1991). The term has been used to designate a limited number of visual art forms, including painting, sculpture, and printmaking, and is still used by schools, institutes, and other organizations to indicate a traditional perspective on the visual arts, often implying an association with classic or academic art.

    The word "fine" does not so much denote the quality of the artwork in question, but rather the purity of the discipline. This definition tends to exclude visual art forms that could be considered craftwork or applied art, such as textiles. The more recent term "visual art" is widely considered to be a more inclusive and descriptive phrase for today's variety of current art practices, and for the multitude of mediums in which high art is now more widely recognized to occur.

    The term is still often used outside of the arts to denote when someone has perfected an activity to a very high level of skill. For example, one might say that "Pelé took football to the level of a fine art."

    That fine art is seen as being distinct from applied arts is largely the result of an issue raised in Britain by the conflict between the followers of the Arts and Crafts Movement, including William Morris, and the early modernists, including Virginia Woolf and the Bloomsbury Group. The former sought to bring socialist principles to bear on the arts by including the more commonplace crafts of the masses within the realm of the arts, while the modernists sought to keep artistic endeavour exclusive, esoteric, and elitist. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fine_art

    Definition (3)

    Fine art is visual art considered primarily for its aesthetic or theoretical character, including its meaning and significance independent of practical application, as opposed to commercial art. See also high art (culture). --Robert Belton, accessed Jan 2004


    Hegel classified the arts in the following order:
    1. architecture
    2. sculpture
    3. peinture
    4. musique
    5. danse
    6. poésie
    --http://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Septi%C3%A8me_art [Aug 2005]

    Block magazine on high and low art [...]

    Influenced by cultural studies, the magazine attempted to break down the conventional divisions between "high" and "low" art, emphasizing design arts and mass media such as film, TV programs, posters, and advertisements - works never considered seriously by art historians as objects of study. As the editors of Block explained, it is difficult to bring theories of "low" and "fine" arts into any relationship because the two areas have been institutionally separated in theory as well as practice. Design arts in particular have been considered craft, or "applied" or "low" art. Design's main function has been regarded as "decoration" or "beautification," and considered only in its relationship to "fine" art. Furthermore, design history has been published separately from art historical study. -- Yisoon Kim accessed at http://www.sculpture.pe.kr/block.html

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