What is Art?
art, n., “the quality,
production, expression, or realm of what is beautiful, or of more
than ordinary significance.” Next to, politics, religion and sex,
there is no subject that is more personal or likely to arouse
controversy than the answer to the question: What is art?
Since prehistoric man
first painted the images of his next meal on cave walls, art has
been evolving and evoking a response from others. Once an artist
creates a work of art, whether it is painting or sculpture, the
questions soon arise: What is it? Who is it? Where is it? What
does it mean? And just as a psychiatrist’s inkblots will look
different to each individual, so too, will a work of art.
After all, beauty and
meaning truly are in the eye of the beholder. However, as the
sheer mass of art created by Man (and woman) has grown over the
centuries there was a natural desire to place order to the vast
amount of artistic production. Early art historians attempted
to organize art by assigning categories and sub-categories to
the art produced by the many years of artistic output. The results
of these well-intentioned efforts can be overwhelming to most
The great thing about
art is that you can enjoy it without having any specific knowledge
about what movement a painting is from, when it was painted, or
even who painted it. So why learn about art? For a different perspective,
for context, but mainly to answer the stream of questions that
flood into your head when you see a piece of art that moves you.
In the coming weeks
and months, Art a GoGo will bring you a series of articles dedicated
to becoming familiar with the world of art. Remember, learning
about art doesn’t have to be like sitting through a flossing lecture
by your dental hygienist--it can be fun and entertaining, as well!