Part 1: What is art?
Agree- “Art is the expression or application of human creative skill and imagination, typically in a visual form such as painting or sculpture, producing works to be appreciated primarily for their beauty or emotional power.”
I agree with this definition of art. Art is a tools that can be used to press the limits of human expression.
Disagree- “Art is not, as the metaphysicians say, the manifestation of some mysterious idea of beauty or God; it is not, as the aesthetical physiologists say, a game in which man lets off his excess of stored-up energy; it is not the expression of man’s emotions by external signs; it is not the production of pleasing objects; and, above all, it is not pleasure; but it is a means of union among men, joining them together in the same feelings, and indispensable for the life and progress toward well-being of individuals and of humanity.” Leo Tolstoy
I do not agree with Tolstoy’s understanding of art. Art IS a manifestation of a mysterious idea of beauty. It is a way that we let off our energy, and it IS a way to express our emotions and perspectives. At the same time, art connects us to each other– it helps us to see our humanity and appreciate beauty. Tolstoy’s perspective is far too narrow.
Part 2: What is art history and why do we study it? How does it help us to understand the world in which we live?
In art history we take a close look at the art of those who have come before us– is asks the why behind the art. Art history considers the context of the work of art as well as it impacts on the culture from which it came. We study it because it gives us insight into the minds and perspective of the culture from which it came. Is causes our appreciation for humanity to grow. Studying art helps us to understand the world around us because it forces us to see the world through glasses that we are not accustom to. We are also able to learn and develop as artists as we look back at the risks that artists before us have taken. This understanding broadens our skill and taste and opens our eyes to the role that art has played in many poeple’s lives.