Home Forums What is Art? Art History? What is Art? What is Art History? Reply To: What is Art? What is Art History?

Maggie May

Part 1:
Paul Gaugin said that “art is either a revolution or plagiarism”. While I understand the point being made and the dramatic language being used to convey it, I also think this definition of what art is neglects all that falls between the lines of plagiarism and “revolution”. I wouldn’t call all paintings revolutionary, by definition, but I think they all serve a specific purpose while still remaining art.
Degas said that “art is not what you see, but what you make others see”. This definition focuses on art as a means of creating dialogue and sharing ideas within a community. I think is true. I think for a lot of people they are motivated to create art as a way to express themselves, an idea, or something which might otherwise be difficult to truly communicate. Creating art is a practice which takes you outside of yourself and forces you to create something which will in turn create dialogue, something tangible and visual.
Part 2:
Art history is the study of the history of the visual arts and how they developed and progressed over time through many different cultures and societies. As I said earlier, I believe art can be a powerful means of communication. I believe through studying the art of different time periods and societies, we can come to a better understanding and a deeper knowledge of that history. I also believe that an understanding of art history is vital to truly understanding contemporary or modern art. If we don’t know how we got here, it’s difficult to know exactly where we are.