Essay on What is Art?

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Intro In late Antiquity the arts consisted of the seven artes liberales, the liberal arts: Grammar, Logic, Rhetoric, Geometry, Arithmetic, Astronomy, and Music. Philosophy was the mother of them all. On a lower level stood the technical arts like architecture, agriculture, painting, sculpture and other crafts. "Art" as we concieve of it today was a mere craft. Art in the Middle Ages was "the ape of nature". And what is art today? Can we give a definition? Sir Roger Penrose, one of the foremost scientists of our time, when faced with a similar problem with regard to the definition of quite something else, viz., consciousness, states in his The Emperor's New Mind: "I do not think that it is wise, at this stage…show more content…
None of them are artists, though they all fall short of being so to varying degrees, but they are all painters. And then there are painters who are artists. Where does the difference lie, and why? What does the one lot do which the other lot doesn't? When is painting an art, and why?"[3] The criterion of art What makes a painting a work of art? According to the Institutional Theory of Art, "Painters make paintings, but it takes a representative of the art-world to make a work of art."[4] So, What is art? is not a question to be answered by the lay-man. We need Priests to tell us what the Truth is, i.e., to decide wether a painting is a work of art or not. Besides the "externalist" Institutional Theory of Art answer Wollheim gives two internalist answers: "The criterion of art lies in some directly perceptible property that the painting has." and The act of painting has to be an intentional one, i.e., the painter has to have the intention of making art. The act of painting has to be undertaken in a special way in order to be art.[5] The origins of art In a book with a totally different subject, The Prehistory of the Mind, Steve Mithen defines art as artefacts or images with symbolic meanings as a means of communication. Art, in Mithen's theory, is a product of the cognitive fluidity in the "Modern" (i.e., Homo sapiens sapiens) Human Mind. The three cognitive processes critical to making art were
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