Fine Art/definition


What is a definition of art? this is for a graduate paper, i am compliling a list of definitions. please feel free to pass question around.thank you
keith hight

Hello Keith, wish I had a couple of days to tell you half the answers to your question, it is a huge one!

Studying art history will certainly give you a broad spectrum of knowledge at whatever level you wish to pursue it, however, it is not a matter of just reading up on it, and passing a couple of exams.
You must aim to gleen first hand information from every corner imaginable, every source that comes your way in order to appreciate the subject. It will grow within you in time. You must travel and see for yourself every example of mankinds talent you can.

I attended a very interesting seminar in Malta a couple of years back, where the eminent professor of Art History from the University of Valetta  there, attempted to explain what the 'Art and the Arts' meant.

He gave an excellent example by illustration.

Imagine that an alien came to earth and posed the same question to the human race.
To give him any knowledge what so ever...You would have to take him by the hand and lead him through the city pointing for instance, to the magnificence of a cathedral and its wondrous architecture, explaining to him the genius of a mankind who could create this from stone and wood.
"Here are the arts," you would say.

You would show him the jugglers, musicians and performance artists standing motionless on boxes outside the main doors of the cathedral, each person using their own talents and interpretations for the enjoyment of others."Again, here are the arts," you would say.

In the city library you would show him thousands upon thousands of volumes written in every language and on every subject there is. ‘Here too are the arts" you would explain.
You would then read to him from Shakespeare and Tennyson……………..

Inside the cathedral, you would point out the magnificent paintings and frescos, statues and objects and chalices "Here are the arts," you would say.

In a shop across the street where there are so many examples of mans talents for useful design...domestic furniture, cut glass, clothing, jewelry, footwear...the list is endless. You would point these out and say, "Here are the arts."

In a theatre, you would show him actors interpreting dramatic scenes written by man, dancers of the ballet moving towards a visual interprtation of the music and then show him, musicians, singers and orchestras..... "Here are the arts," you would say.

He would scratch his head and wish he'd never asked!

Such is the breadth of the field itself, that it would be clearly impossible to cover every aspect of it here. Undoubtedly, you will find a niche to fall into, following your own interests and development of skills and knowledge as you progress.

In trying to point you in the right direction in respect of Romanticism in 19th C. architecture, it again is a huge topic and one which has to be narrowed.

Are you referring to European Architecture here, if you are then French poet. Charles Baudelaire (1821-67), said:
"To say the word Romanticism is to say modern art -- that is, intimacy, spirituality, color, aspiration towards the infinite, expressed by every means available to the arts."

The 18th century interest in sentiment and emotion led to an interest in extremes of sensibility in the romantic art of the following century.
In French architecture for instance, the neoclassicism of the late 18th century was perpetuated by monumental forms serving the political ambitions of the Second Empire of Napoleon III.
Later, an eclectic style based on both classical and baroque architecture emerged in the work of architects trained at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts.
Beaux-Arts buildings such as Jean Louis Charles Garnier's spectacular Paris Opera, played an important role in Baron Haussmann's modernization of the city during the Second Empire. Properties of new industrial materials and construction techniques were investigated by such pioneers as Henri Labrouste and Alexandre Gustave Eiffel, whose Eiffel Tower (1889) has become a symbol of Paris.

Good luck.

Studies in art, architecture, and design. *
Pevsner, Nikolaus, Sir, 1902-1983.
London, Thames & Hudson, 1968.

Romanticism and Art (The World of Art)
by William Vaughan,

National romanticism and modern architecture in Germany and the Scandinavian countries *
Lane, Barbara Miller.
Cambridge : Cambridge University Press, 2000.

Art and the national dream : the search for vernacular expression in turn-of-the-century design *
Bowe, Nicola Gordon.
Publisher: Blackrock, Co. Dublin, Ireland : Irish Academic Press, c1993.

Cosmos : from Romanticism to the avant-garde *
Clair, Jean, 1940-
Montreal, Quebec : Munich ; London : Montreal Museum of Fine Arts ; Prestel, 1999.

History of art *
Janson, H. W. (Horst Woldemar), 1913-
6th ed. London : Thames & Hudson, 2001.

History of art *

Name: Janson, H. W. (Horst Woldemar), 1913-
Publisher: 5th ed. / revised and expanded by Anthony F. Janson. London : Thames and Hudson, 1995.  

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David Freeman


Art Historian, Fine Art Consultant and author. British School and Barbizon School expert. Biographer of; Ch. Jean Georget - Édouard Frére - Thos Faed - Henry Barraud - Alexander Franz Loemans and many more. Happy to help in any academic or advisory capacity.


David Freeman is a British Art Historian, a fine author and educationalist with 35 years of experience in the world of fine art to his credit.
He is also an International Fine Art Consultant and the busiest appraiser in North America. David is also the Executive Director and founder of the The Freemanart Consultancy.
Working from bases on both sides of the Atlantic Canada, Germany, the UK and Spain, David tours extensively with the Roadshow.

His personal specialisms include:
The Investigation and Identification of Art Fraud and Counterfeit works.

Much of his time is spent Authenticating Paintings and works of art, concentrating on Forensic and Academic Research and Provenance verification for clients throughout the world

Mr Freeman lectures Internationally to Conferences and at University level throughout North America and has appeared many times on the television.
David Freeman writes extensively on his specialised subject as well as formulating artist biographies.
More information:
Freemanart Web site;
He is currently writing a book on the life of eminent Canadian Artist Conyers Barker called, the Horizontal Boy. Hosts the new TV series Treasures that Talk and writing the script of a new Documentary series, Secret Britain.

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