The Concept of Art


When teaching art history, it’s important to be clear about what a work of art is. Art is an activity that requires the use of creativity to convey something meaningful, often with the intention of evoking a certain emotion in the viewer. The creation of art is a form of human expression that is universal across cultures and time. The creation of a work of art can be a very personal, emotional experience for the artist as well as the viewer.

The term art has a broad definition and encompasses many activities and creations, including music, poetry, dance, film, sculpture, and painting. There are a number of theories about what constitutes art, and a great deal of debate about the subject continues to this day.

Some argue that art is simply any activity or creation done with an intention to appeal to the senses or emotions of the audience, while others define it more specifically as an intentional arrangement of elements that communicates a meaning. The concept of art is explored in a branch of philosophy known as aesthetics.

While the concept of art is highly subjective, there are some general characteristics that most art historians agree upon. These include the following:

1. A work of art is created for a specific purpose.

Creating art has been a common practice since humans began to create symbols on cave walls. The initial goals of art have changed over the centuries, but they have remained the same: to express an idea or feeling. Modern art continues to be a medium for people to express themselves and connect with other cultures.

2. A work of art is a product of a particular culture and time period.

The majority of art historians focus on a specific culture and time period when researching and writing. This is because most art was created to communicate a specific point of view or idea, so it is helpful for an art historian to focus on that type of art when studying a particular period of history.

3. A work of art is a reflection of its social and economic environment at the time it was created.

In addition to reflecting social and economic conditions in the time when a work of art was created, art also reflects the ideas and values that were prevalent at the time. For this reason, a great deal of debate about the concept of art centers around the political and philosophical beliefs of the time when a work of art was being created.

4. A work of art is a representation of a specific historical event or time period.

Art can help students learn about a particular historical topic in an exciting way. Using art to teach a topic allows students to gain a deeper understanding of the topic and develop their critical thinking skills.

5. A work of art reveals its underlying themes and messages through its formal qualities.

The underlying themes and messages of a work of art can be found through its formal qualities, such as line, shape, color, value, and texture. By analyzing these aspects of a piece of artwork, you can determine what the artist was trying to convey and how successful they were in accomplishing their goal.