What Is A Theory Of Art?

1446 WordsNov 11, 20156 Pages
Jen Ransom PHIL 421 11-13-15 Danto offers three criteria that must be met for something to be an artwork. What are these criteria? What is the difficulty with the first two criteria that led him to offer the third and final criteria. What is a theory of art? Why might one think these criteria lead to a circular theory of art? Why would one be wrong in this assessment? Critics have been trying to determine what exactly the definition art is for many years now. Throughout history, identifying what was art and what was not was presumed to be obvious. Therefore, one was able to differentiate between art and ordinary things as easily as one could tell one ordinary object from another. However, in the twentieth century, art began to change and works of art either were, or appeared to be, objects of daily life and use. Arthur Danto questions these works of art by asking: if we were given two things that were meant to represent one another, where one is art and the other is not, how do we determine the differences in status? Danto states that an artistic theory is required to determine what is art. He uses the ‘is’ of artistic identification and the ‘Artworld’ theories to distinguish between two objects that are identical, when one is an artwork and the other is not. He develops different criteria that must be met for something to be considered an artwork: aboutness, embodiment of the aboutness and context/history. When looking at three different people’s creations of
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