Friday, December 30, 2005


The word "art" derives from the Latin ars, which can be translated "to arrange". Taking the broadest view, art is a generic term for the product of creative human activity. Whenever a person makes something primarily for aesthetic reasons, he or she is certainly creating a work of art. Another definition of art is anything made for the purpose of being experienced as art. There are many other uses of the word art, but all are related to its Latin root.

There is substantial disagreement about a precise definition of ?arts?. The plural form, arts, indicates that a broad sense of the word art should be used. The arts generally refers to myriad types of art. Types of activity considered to be an art vary from culture to culture and over the course of time. In academia, the arts are usually grouped with the humanities . There is significant overlap between what is included with the arts and what is included in the humanities, however neither is entirely a subset of the other.

The earliest surviving art works are paintings on the walls of caves and carved bone. It is likely that early humans also sang and created other kinds of music. Since art is the product of creative human activity, it could be said that much human knowledge sprang from the pursuit of art. Artists work under the influence of other artists of the past and present. In a sense, there is a continuum of artistic expression stretching from the distant past to the present day.

The concept of what art is has continuously changed over human history. There are ongoing swings between inclusiveness and exclusiveness in what is and is not considered art. Likewise there is a balance between utility and aesthetic expression in even the most utilitarian pursuits. For example a rug is sometimes simply a floor covering with an entirely practical purpose. But since their invention, artistic designs have been woven into them.




1 comment:

Mandy said...

I love that last part.