Art and Its Classification: The Accepted Definitions


The study of art is a broad area. Art is generally defined as an expression of one’s self. There is no one universal definition of Art. Art can be defined in many ways. These definitions include:

* It’s a way to express one’s thoughts through painting, drawing and sculpting.
* Any activity that gives order and structure to ideas in order to create a new creation.
* It is an integral part of your life.
* It’s the production of items using visual tools like lines, colours, textures, etc. Design principles are used to meet both the functional and aesthetic needs of society and individuals.
* It refers only to human creativity.
It is a way to express yourself.

Two types of art can be broadly classified. These are I) Liberal Arts, and iii) Creative Arts.

Liberal Arts are studies that aim to impart general knowledge and intellectual skills, such as literature and government. Because it is a humanistic discipline, it addresses issues of social living and is often called humanities.

iii) Creative Arts are arts that use creative skills to produce artefacts that can be used in daily life. Creative arts are manual skills that can be used by its students, and they offer self-occupational and practical skills. Visual art is the main focus of the study.

When the term “art” is used in the context of visual art education, it means that we are referring to the creative arts. It can be divided into two major branches: a) Visual arts, and b) Performing Arts.

Visual Arts

This includes all artistic or creative products that can be viewed with the senses of sight (optical eye), touch (skin) or both. Visual art is any product that you can touch, see, and feel. Let’s use a drawing on a piece of paper to illustrate this. Drawing is visual art because one can see it with the eyes and touch it. However, the same drawing can also trigger emotions in the viewer.

Because of their tangible nature, visual arts are sometimes called Plastic or solid art. It can be divided into two categories. These are Industrial arts and Fine arts.

* Fine Arts can be used as decoration for the interiors and exteriors in homes, offices, or other buildings. They are intentionally created to appeal to the viewers’ aesthetic needs. This is why the artistic qualities of these works are highlighted or given a lot of emphasis when they are created. These arts can play other functions, but their primary purpose is decoration. These arts include painting, graphic design, picture making, and sculpture.

* Industrial arts, also called applied arts, are arts that emphasize the uses or functions of an artistic product and not its aesthetic value. They serve to fulfill the functional needs of an individual and help them perform their daily duties. They can be used as art forms. You can find examples in Textiles and Leatherwork, Ceramics, Pottery and Jewellery.

Performing Arts

They are perceived through the senses of sight and movement (kinesthetic sense). They can be performed or played. They are often seen in a continuous stream of time. You can find examples in music, dance, and drama. Verbal arts, which is performing arts that uses words and body gestures to communicate their message, are an aspect of performing arts. These include poetry, incantations and recitations.

Visual arts are distinguished from performing arts by unique characteristics. Let’s start with the visual arts.

1. These art appeals to our sight and can be felt through our touch.

2. Visual art is possible.

3. Examples are painting, sculpture, textiles etc.

4. It can be felt and seen, making it tangible.

5. It does not limit itself to the passage of time.

These are, on the other hand the distinctive features of performing arts.

1. These art forms are perceived by our kinesthetic senses and sense of touch.

2. Performing art can be described as performing/playing.

3. Music, poetry, drama, and dance are just a few examples.

4. It is intangible because it cannot be touched.

5. It is visible in streams of time.

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