Posted on February 15th, 2023.
Fine art is a subjective term that has evolved over time, just as art and artistic styles have evolved. We understand art to be the process of creating something unique which appeals to our visual or auditory senses.
Fine art, also referred to as “high art,” has long been held up as the highest standard of artistic expression.
Fine artists make work that is purely created to be aesthetically pleasing. The aesthetic purpose distinguishes the fine arts from the “low arts” which are traditionally designed for more practical purposes.
However, in a contemporary world where art has become democratized, it’s fair to question whether some art forms should still be considered “higher” than others.
Fine art has two main definitions. The first is fine art which describes a form of creative visual art. It is created and appreciated solely for its aesthetic and intellectual content.
The second is a compliment to the artist, with ‘fine art’ being used to describe work that has required great skill or accomplishment to produce. In both definitions, this fine art is created by fine artists.
In European culture and academic traditions, “fine art” refers to art that is developed foremost to be enjoyed for its aesthetics or beauty. This definition distinguishes fine art from commercial artworks produced for business, or decorative art or applied arts such as ceramics and weaving, which also serve some practical functions.
In modern or contemporary artwork, the line between fine and decorative and commercial arts has become blurred. Some art produced in modern times may be called fine art but employ the techniques found in so-called lower art forms.
Pop Art and Feminist Art are artistic movements that are examples where traditionally decorative or commercial techniques have been turned into fine art.
Andy Warhol’s silkscreens are examples of an artist using commercial design techniques to create work that becomes fine art. While feminist artists, such as Judy Chicago used elements of the decorative arts, such as ceramics, within their artworks.
The use of the term fine art throughout the ages relates not just to skill but also to class structure and the different ranks in society held by various artisans. Many artisans producing decorative arts are accomplished and create fine work that requires great skill. The highly skilled work of these artists could, therefore, be defined as “fine art”.
However, the status or title of decorative artists, such as weavers, ceramics, carpenters, etc., has traditionally been that of “craftsperson,” not “artist.” The so-called high or fine artists were usually painters, sculptors, or architects.
Fine art typically has a smaller and more elitist audience than the low arts. Throughout history, the audience for high art was usually upper class, educated, and wealthy.
Fine art is usually produced in limited quantities, or more often, they are a one-of-a-kind piece. Because fine art is produced in smaller quantities, it is considered rarer and can typically demand higher prices.
Traditionally there were five main types of fine art. These fine arts were paintings, architecture, sculptures, music, and poetry. However, the new list of fine arts has expanded to include additional forms, and there are now seven established forms of fine art.
The performing arts can include theatre and dance, and a contemporary view of the fine arts may consist of some other creative mediums such as film, photography, shadow boxes, mixed media artworks, printmaking, design, sequential art, and conceptual art.
There are countless fine artists across different mediums and centuries. These are just a few examples of visual fine artists.
When it comes to academics, a fine art degree usually focuses on the traditional fine arts. Undergraduate fine Arts degrees teach the fine arts of drawing, sculpting, painting, music, literature, music, dance, architecture, and theatre. Other forms of art may be taught in design programs.
Fine arts degrees educate students who want to become artists and empowers them to choose a specialty aligned to the making of art.
Graduates of a fine art degree program may become fine artists in a traditional sense, or they may enter a commercial art industry.
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