Essay on The Meaning of Art

Art is defined as “The expression or application of human creative skill and imagination, typically in a visual form such as painting or sculpture, producing works to be appreciated primarily for their beauty or emotional power” (“Oxford Dictionary” ). It is also used to describe “the various branches of creative activity, such as music, literature, and dance” (Oxford Dictionary” ). Over the course of time, art has been used to express cultural differences, socioeconomic views, religious themes, and even political ideals.Art has been in existence, in one form or another, for thousands of years. No matter what the time period, art is the expression of society and is reflective of the events that occur in that period. Generally, the dominant social class (whether it is economic, political, or religious) defines the style of art for that time period. We can study art and very often are able to determine the time period in which it was created. The identifying aspects of art are referred to as “style”, and it is the style of the piece of art that allows us to identify it. Additionally, by studying and learning about art from different time periods, we can learn more about the culture of that period. We can better understand the social life, political trends, and religious beliefs of those people living in that day (Wold, Martin, Miller, and Cykley ).

Besides the effects that are imposed by the dominant social class for the particular time period, previous generations of art can leave their mark on each successive time period as well (Wold, Martin, Miller, and Cykley ). The great artists of the past influence the work of future artists. Intentionally or not, every artist draws inspiration from previous artist. Just as…

… art is only enhanced by knowledge and understanding of the qualities that define great art (De Rynck ).

Works Cited

Adajian, T.. N.p.. Web. 22 November 2013. .

De Rynck, Patrick. How to Read a Painting: Lessons from the Old Masters. New York, NY: ABRAMS, 2004. Print.Farthing, Stephen. Art: From Cave Painting to Street Art. New York, NY: Universe Publishing, 2010. Print.”Oxford Dictionary.” . Oxford University Press. Web. 26 Nov 2013. .

Wold, Milo, Gary Martin, James Miller, and Edmund Cykley. An Introduction to Music and Art in the Western World. 10th. Boston, Massachusetts: McGraw Hill, 1996. Print.

Wolf, Justin. The Art Story- Your Guide to Modern Art. N.p.. Web. 28 November 2013. .