WHAT IS ART?
We call lots of things art today. We use the term visual arts to describe the arts we can see. Painting, sculpture, and architecture have long been the major visual arts in Europe and North America. Today, we include photography, furniture, pottery, jewelry, and many other arts and crafts among the visual arts.
Sometimes we speak of the fine arts—other forms of expression that appeal to our sense of beauty and form. This broader category includes literature, music, and dance, in addition to the visual arts.
PAINTING, SCULPTURE, AND ARCHITECTURE
Painting, sculpture, and architecture have all been around for a long time. We tend to consider them the most important forms of ...view middle of the document...
The desire to make art is universal. People make art everywhere, and they seem to have been doing it for as long as they’ve been around.
One of the main reasons for making art is pleasure. We enjoy making art and we enjoy looking at it. We find beauty in art, and that gives us pleasure. We also admire the skill and imagination that go into making art.
Art has served other purposes, too. Think about portraits—pictures of people. Before there were cameras, a portrait was how people remembered someone who wasn’t there.
Portraits of rulers made them look powerful to impress their subjects. History paintings reminded people of victories in battle and other important events. Sculptures also commemorated rulers and victories.
Before many people could read, art instructed and educated. For example, stained glass windows in churches were meant to teach people stories in the Bible. Many paintings from the past show religious scenes.
NEW IDEAS ABOUT ART
Our ideas about art changed during the 1900s. Technology expanded our notions of art. Photographs and film are new kinds of...