What Is Art?


Art is the act or process of arranging elements in a way that appeals to the senses, emotions or world view. It encompasses a variety of human activities and creations, including music, literature, film, sculpture and paintings.

The Origins of the Word

The word “art” is a Greek one, and has evolved over time to mean different things. From ancient times until the 18th century, it mainly meant the copying of objects that were considered beautiful and meaningful. This was because art is an imitation of a subject, a way to represent it.

Plato’s Definition of Art

The Greek philosopher Plato first developed the idea of “mimesis,” which is the copying of an object, to describe a work of art. This was the primary definition of art for many centuries and is still used today.

Plotinus’s Definition of Art

The founder of Roman Neoplatonism, Plotinus thought that art should be viewed as more spiritual than mundane. He argued that art can be a reflection of a higher, mystical beauty and thus is an important means for people to commune with that greater spirituality.

He also argued that art can be more than mere representations of the material world, as Plato was arguing. Rather, Plotinus believed that art can be a conduit to the higher world of ideas.

What Makes Art So Special

Throughout history, people have created different types of art for a number of reasons. For example, some artists wanted to express their emotions through their art, while others created it as a way of exploring the world around them.

For example, during the Renaissance period in Italy, painters admired nature and aimed to imitate its beauty by painting realistic scenes and motifs. This led to the rise of romanticism and individualism.

Another example is the Romantic era when artists embraced the idea that they could express themselves through their art. These artists were looking to create pieces of art that would not only be beautiful, but also convey their personal experiences in a unique and powerful manner.

Some of the most famous artists of the Renaissance included Michelangelo, Raphael, Durer, Rubens, Rembrandt and Goya. This book focuses on those artists and provides background information on their lives and works, as well as a short biography and several black-and-white reproductions of their artwork.

The book is arranged chronologically across geographic lines, and overarching themes and movements are examined to give students a larger perspective on art history. It is a great resource for those interested in studying the major artistic movements of the past and their impact on the development of art.

Teaching Art in the Classroom

Despite its reputation as a dry and boring discipline, art is one of the most engaging subjects to teach students. With a positive approach and a lot of enthusiasm, teachers can engage the minds of their students in ways that are sure to spark interest and wonder.

The best art teachers have a passion for the subject and use their knowledge of it to encourage students to engage with it and develop a love for it. They build trust with their students, cultivate a studio culture for discovery and make sure they have an active participation in the classroom. The end result is a classroom full of passionate students who can see the world in new and exciting ways through the art they are studying!