Art has a powerful influence on human societies. It drives civilisation, supports the establishment, and prevents subversive messages from being silenced. It is a major catalyst for political change and mirrors changes in morality. Its role in human societies cannot be underestimated. Art speaks beyond the language and time barriers that separate individuals. It can appeal to human curiosity and urge new questions. It can also foster greater tolerance. However, this power does come with a price.
As such, there are various ways to define art. Some definitions are based on contingent cultural and historical features, while others focus on its universality and continuity with other aesthetic phenomena. Still others attempt to define art according to its abiding characteristics. However, no definition of art can encompass all of its aspects. It is therefore necessary to make an informed choice when defining art. The question of what constitutes art is an ongoing debate and is difficult to answer definitively.
Artists have long used art as a way to express their opinions and promote social change. During the Age of Enlightenment, art began to be used for political commentary. In fact, today, political cartoons can be found in virtually every major newspaper. In addition, a number of artists have a political function, including Chinese artist Ai Weiwei, American artist Banksy, and French painter Jean-Michel Basquiat.
Contemporary sculptors can use just about anything to create sculptures. They can even use digital 3D software to create their works. The concept of sculpture has expanded dramatically over the centuries. For instance, contemporary sculptor Gal Yosef uses 3D software to create his works. Marcel Duchamp’s Fountain, which consisted of a readymade porcelain urinal, changed public perception of art. Sculpture has been redefined in a way that reflects its changing function in society.
While the classical definition of art takes its function and intended purpose as the definitives, aesthetic definitions link the meaning of art to its aesthetic qualities. Different aesthetic definitions incorporate different perspectives on aesthetics. The classic definitions are often based on representational, expressive, or formal properties. Aesthetic definitions emphasize the significance of beauty and value. In the end, aesthetic definitions have a profound influence on human civilization. There are two major schools of thought, but both are grounded in the same basic philosophical beliefs.
Architecture is another form of art. Whether it is a palace or an apartment building, architecture is a form of art. Humans have been creating structures for thousands of years. Although most people may associate architecture with only a few iconic buildings, the art of architecture encompasses many different genres and eras. Ancient examples include the Great Pyramids, Rome’s Colosseum, the Taj Mahal, and the Hagia Sophia. Contemporary examples include the Louvre, the Sydney Opera House, the Burj Khalifa, and the Guggenheim Museum.