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

Lucas Warthen

Part 1:
Definition of Art:
I looked up “art” on dictionary.com and the first definition I saw I disagreed with. It states that “the quality, production, expression, or realm, according to aesthetic principles, of what is beautiful, appealing, or of more than ordinary significance” and I don’t really agree with the second part of the definition. It might just be me, but it feels very subjective. It feels weird having the words ‘beautiful’ and ‘appealing’ in there, though they are some of the most common adjectives used to describe art of any kind. I can’t really put my thoughts in to words, because it feels weird to me that this definition states that art almost has to be beautiful, and I don’t think that necessarily all art is.

Part 2: What is Art History? Why do we study the history of art? How does it help us understand the world in which we live?
Personally, when I think of Art History I think of pieces that have been in existence for an extremely long time and we still marvel at today (I immediately think of stuff like Notre Dame, Mona Lisa, or the Statue of David). We study art because I believe it is another way of storytelling – there is something behind each piece whether we know it or not. It is fascinating to know why (if there is a why) each piece was created and to look at the circumstances of the time to see the potential influence that had on it as well. I think all of that combined helps us understand the world in which we live because it shows what we value, or what we valued at the time of a certain art’s conception. There is a lot that goes into any art, especially what is valued, whether it is directly at the forefront of the piece or hidden behind layers and layers of hard work.