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Art is a diverse range of human activities in creating visual, auditory or performing artifacts (artworks), expressing the author's imaginative or technical skill, intended to be appreciated for their beauty or emotional power. In their most general form these activities include the production of works of art, the criticism of art, the study of the history of art, and the aesthetic dissemination of art.
The oldest documented forms of art are visual arts, which include creation of images or objects in fields including painting, sculpture, printmaking, photography, and other visual media. Architecture is often included as one of the visual arts; however, like the decorative arts, or advertising, it involves the creation of objects where the practical considerations of use are essential—in a way that they usually are not in a painting, for example. Music, theatre, film, dance, and other performing arts, as well as literature and other media such as interactive media, are included in a broader definition of art or the arts. Until the 17th century, art referred to any skill or mastery and was not differentiated from crafts or sciences. In modern usage after the 17th century, where aesthetic considerations are paramount, the fine arts are separated and distinguished from acquired skills in general, such as the decorative or applied arts.
Art may be characterized in terms of mimesis (its representation of reality), expression, communication of emotion, or other qualities. During the Romantic period, art came to be seen as "a special faculty of the human mind to be classified with religion and science". Though the definition of what constitutes art is disputed and has changed over time, general descriptions mention an idea of imaginative or technical skill stemming from human agency and creation.
The nature of art, and related concepts such as creativity and interpretation, are explored in a branch of philosophy known as aesthetics.
- Shiner, Larry. "The Invention of Art: A Cultural History". Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2003.
Arthur Danto, The Abuse of Beauty: Aesthetics and the Concept of Art. 2003
- Dana Arnold and Margaret Iverson (eds.) Art and Thought. Oxford: Basil Blackwell, 2003
- Michael Ann Holly and Keith Moxey (eds.) Art History Aesthetics Visual Studies. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2002.
- John Whitehead. Grasping for the Wind, 2001
- Noel Carroll, Theories of Art Today, 2000
- Evelyn Hatcher, ed. Art as Culture: An Introduction to the Anthropology of Art, 1999
Catherine de Zegher (ed.). Inside the Visible. MIT Press, 1996
- Nina, Felshin, ed. But is it Art?, 1995
- Stephen Davies, Definitions of Art, 1991
- Oscar Wilde, Intentions, 1891.
- Jean Robertson and Craig McDaniel, "Themes of Contemporary Art, Visual Art after 1980", 2005
- Shiner, Larry. The Invention of Art: A Cultural History. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2003.
- Augros, Robert M., Stanciu, George N. The New Story of Science: mind and the universe, Lake Bluff, Ill.: Regnery Gateway, 1984. (this book has significant material on art and science)
Richard Wollheim, Art and its Objects: An introduction to aesthetics. New York: Harper & Row, 1968. OCLC 1077405
Carl Jung, Man and His Symbols. London: Pan Books, 1978.
Benedetto Croce. Aesthetic as Science of Expression and General Linguistic, 2002
Władysław Tatarkiewicz, A History of Six Ideas: an Essay in Aesthetics, translated from the Polish by Christopher Kasparek, The Hague, Martinus Nijhoff, 1980
Leo Tolstoy, "What Is Art?", 1897
- Kleiner, Gardner, Mamiya and Tansey. Art Through the Ages, Twelfth Edition (2 volumes) Wadsworth, 2004. (vol 1) and (vol 2)
Kristine Stiles and Peter Selz, eds. Theories and Documents of Contemporary Art. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1986
- Florian Dombois, Ute Meta Bauer, Claudia Mareis and Michael Schwab, eds. Intellectual Birdhouse. Artistic Practice as Research. London: Koening Books, 2012.
- Dana Arnold and Margaret Iverson, eds. Art and Thought. London: Blackwell, 2003.
- Antony Briant and Griselda Pollock, eds. Digital and Other Virtualities: Renegotiating the image. London and NY: I.B.Tauris, 2010.
- Carol Armstrong and Catherine de Zegher, eds. Women Artists at the Millennium. Massachusetts: October Books/The MIT Press, 2006.
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