In European academic traditions, fine art is art developed primarily
for aesthetics or beauty, distinguishing it from applied art, which
also has to serve some practical function, such as pottery or most
Historically, the five main fine arts were painting, sculpture,
architecture, music, and poetry, with performing arts including
theatre and dance. Today, the fine arts commonly include additional
forms, such as film, photography, video production/editing, design,
sequential art, conceptual art, and printmaking.
One definition of fine art is "a visual art considered to have been
created primarily for aesthetic and intellectual purposes and judged
for its beauty and meaningfulness, specifically, painting, sculpture,
drawing, watercolor, graphics, and architecture." In that sense,
there are conceptual differences between the fine arts and the applied
arts. As originally conceived, and as understood for much of the
modern era, the perception of aesthetic qualities required a refined
judgment usually referred to as having good taste, which
differentiated fine art from popular art and entertainment.
The word "fine" does not so much denote the quality of the artwork in
question, but the purity of the discipline according to traditional
Western European canons. This definition originally
excluded the applied or decorative arts, and the products of what were
regarded as crafts. In contemporary practice these distinctions and
restrictions have become essentially meaningless, as the concept or
intention of the artist is given primacy, regardless of the means
through which this is expressed.
2 Cultural perspectives
3 Visual arts
3.1 Two-dimensional works
Painting and drawing
3.2 Three-dimensional works
3.2.4 Conceptual art
5 Performing Arts
7 Academic study
7.4 South America
7.5 United States
9 Further reading
History of art
According to some writers the concept of a distinct category of fine
art is an invention of the early modern period in the West. Larry
Shiner in his The Invention of Art: A Cultural History (2003) locates
the invention in the 18th century: "There was a traditional “system
of the arts” in the West before the eighteenth century. (Other
traditional cultures still have a similar system.) In that system, an
artist or artisan was a skilled maker or practitioner, a work of art
was the useful product of skilled work, and the appreciation of the
arts was integrally connected with their role in the rest of life.
“Art,” in other words, meant approximately the same thing as the
Greek word techne, or in English “skill”, a sense that has
survived in phrases like “the art of war,” “the art of love,”
and “the art of medicine.” Similar ideas have been expressed by
Paul Oskar Kristeller, Pierre Bourdieu, and
Terry Eagleton (e.g. The
Ideology of the Aesthetic), though the point of invention is often
placed earlier, in the Italian Renaissance.
The separation of arts and crafts that often exists in Europe and the
US is not shared by all other cultures. In
Japanese aesthetics the
activities of everyday life are depicted by integrating not only art
with craft but man-made with nature. Traditional Chinese art
Chinese painting between the mostly landscape
literati painting of scholar gentlemen and the artisans of the schools
of court painting and sculpture. A high status was also given to many
things that would be seen as craft objects in the West, in particular
ceramics, jade carving, weaving, and embroidery. Latin American art
was dominated by European colonialism until the 20th-century, when
indigenous art began to reassert itself inspired by the Constructivist
Movement, which reunited arts with crafts based upon socialist
Painting and drawing
Painting and Drawing
Drawing is a form of visual expression and is one of the major forms
of the visual arts. Common instruments include: graphite pencils, pen
and ink, inked brushes, wax color pencils, crayons, charcoals, chalk,
pastels, markers, stylus, or various metals like silverpoint. There
are a number of subcategories of drawing, including cartooning and
creating comics. There remains debate whether the following is
considered a part of “drawing” as “fine art”: "doodling",
drawing in the fog a shower and leaving an imprint on the bathroom
mirror, or the surrealist method of "entopic graphomania", in which
dots are made at the sites of impurities in a blank sheet of paper,
and the lines are then made between the dots.
Main article: Mosaic
Christ Pantocrator from Hagia Sophia
Mosaics are images formed with small pieces of stone or glass, called
tesserae. They can be decorative or functional. An artist who designs
and makes mosaics is called a mosaic artist or a mosaicist.
Main article: Printmaking
Melencolia I, 1514, Dürer
Printmaking is the process of making artworks by printing, normally on
paper. Except in the case of monotyping, the process is capable of
producing multiples of the same piece, which is called a print. Each
print is considered an original, as opposed to a copy. The reasoning
behind this is that the print is not a reproduction of another work of
art in a different medium — for instance, a painting — but rather
an image designed from inception as a print. An individual print is
also referred to as an impression. Prints are created from a single
original surface, known technically as a matrix. Common types of
matrices include: plates of metal, usually copper or zinc for
engraving or etching; stone, used for lithography; blocks of wood for
woodcuts, linoleum for linocuts and fabric in the case of
screen-printing. But there are many other kinds, discussed below.
Multiple nearly identical prints can be called an edition. In modern
times each print is often signed and numbered forming a "limited
edition." Prints may also be published in book form, as artist's
books. A single print could be the product of one or multiple
Main article: Calligraphy
Folio from a Koran (8–9th century),
Calligraphy is a type of visual art. It is often called the art of
fancy lettering  A contemporary definition of calligraphic practice
is "the art of giving form to signs in an expressive, harmonious and
skillful manner". Modern calligraphy ranges from functional
hand-lettered inscriptions and designs to fine-art pieces where the
abstract expression of the handwritten mark may or may not compromise
the legibility of the letters. Classical calligraphy differs from
typography and non-classical hand-lettering, though a calligrapher may
create all of these; characters are historically disciplined yet fluid
and spontaneous, improvised at the moment of writing 
Main article: Fine-art photography
Ansel Adams' The Tetons and the Snake River, 1942
Fine art photography refers to photographs that are created to fulfill
the creative vision of the artist.
Fine art photography stands in
contrast to photojournalism and commercial photography.
Photojournalism visually communicates stories and ideas, mainly in
print and digital media.
Fine art photography is created primarily as
an expression of the artist’s vision, but has also been important in
advancing certain causes. The work of
Ansel Adams in
Yellowstone provides an example. Adams is one of the most widely
recognized fine art photographers of the 20th century and was an avid
promoter of conservation. While his primary focus was on photography
as art, his work raised public awareness of the beauty of the Sierra
Nevada and helped to build political support for their protection.
Main article: Architecture
Architecture is frequently considered a fine art, especially if its
aesthetic components are spotlighted — in contrast to
structural-engineering or construction-management components.
Architectural works are perceived as cultural and political symbols
and works of art. Historical civilizations often are known primarily
through their architectural achievements. Such buildings as the
pyramids of Egypt and the Roman
Colosseum are cultural symbols, and
are important links in public consciousness, even when scholars have
discovered much about past civilizations through other means. Cities,
regions and cultures continue to identify themselves with, and are
known by, their architectural monuments.
One field where "fine" remains a valid technical term is pottery,
especially in archaeology. "Fine wares" are high-quality pottery,
often painted, moulded or otherwise decorated, and in many periods
distinguished from "coarse" wares, which are basic utilitarian pots
used by the mass of the population, or in the kitchen rather than for
more formal purposes.
Main article: Sculpture
Ife Terracotta, Nigeria, 12th–14th century
Sculpture is three-dimensional artwork created by shaping hard or
plastic material, commonly stone (either rock or marble), metal, or
wood. Some sculptures are created directly by carving; others are
assembled, built up and fired, welded, molded, or cast. Because
sculpture involves the use of materials that can be moulded or
modulated, it is considered one of the plastic arts. The majority of
public art is sculpture. Many sculptures together in a garden setting
may be referred to as a sculpture garden.
Main article: Conceptual art
An Oak Tree
An Oak Tree by Michael Craig-Martin, 1973
Conceptual art is art in which the concept(s) or idea(s) involved in
the work take precedence over traditional aesthetic and material
concerns. The inception of the term in the 1960s referred to a strict
and focused practice of idea-based art that often defied traditional
visual criteria associated with the visual arts in its presentation as
text. However, through its association with the Young British Artists
Turner Prize during the 1990s, its popular usage, particularly
in the UK, developed as a synonym for all contemporary art that does
not practice the traditional skills of painting and sculpture.
Vasily Mate, Portrait of
Alexander Pushkin (1899)
Main article: Poetry
Poetry (the term derives from a variant of the Greek term, poiesis,
"making") is a form of literature that uses aesthetic and rhythmic
qualities of language—such as sound symbolism, phonaesthetics and
metre—to evoke meanings in addition to, or in place of, the prosaic
Main article: Dance
Dance is an art form that generally refers to movement of the body,
usually rhythmic, and to music, used as a form of expression,
social interaction or presented in a spiritual or performance setting.
Dance is also used to describe methods of nonverbal communication (see
body language) between humans or animals (bee dance, patterns of
behaviour such as a mating dance), motion in inanimate objects (the
leaves danced in the wind), and certain musical genres. In sports,
gymnastics, figure skating and synchronized swimming are dance
disciplines while the Katas of the martial arts are often compared to
Main article: Theatre
The Royal Opera House, London
Modern Western theatre is dominated by realism, including drama and
comedy. Another popular Western form is musical theatre. Classical
forms of theatre, including Greek and Roman drama, classic English
Shakespeare and Marlowe included), and French theater (Molière
included), are still performed today. In addition, performances of
classic Eastern forms such as
Kabuki can be found in the West,
although with less frequency.
Fine arts film is a term that encompasses motion pictures and the
field of film as a fine art form. A fine arts movie theater is a
venue, usually a building, for viewing such movies. Films are produced
by recording images from the world with cameras, or by creating images
using animation techniques or special effects. Films are cultural
artifacts created by specific cultures, which reflect those cultures,
and, in turn, affect them.
Film is considered to be an important art
form, a source of popular entertainment and a powerful method for
educating — or indoctrinating — citizens. The visual elements of
cinema give motion pictures a universal power of communication. Some
films have become popular worldwide attractions by using dubbing or
subtitles that translate the dialogue.
Cinematography is the discipline of making lighting and camera choices
when recording photographic images for the cinema. It is closely
related to the art of still photography, though many additional issues
arise when both the camera and elements of the scene may be in motion.
Independent filmmaking often takes place outside of Hollywood, or
other major studio systems. An independent film (or indie film) is a
film initially produced without financing or distribution from a major
movie studio. Creative, business, and technological reasons have all
contributed to the growth of the indie film scene in the late 20th and
early 21st century.
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Avant-garde music is frequently considered both a performing art and a
Electronic Media —perhaps the newest medium for fine art, since it
utilizes modern technologies such as computers from production to
presentation. Includes, amongst others, video, digital photography,
digital printmaking and interactive pieces.
Textiles, including quilt art and "wearable" or "pre-wearable"
creations, frequently reach the category of fine art objects,
sometimes like part of an art display.
Western art (or Classical) music is a performing art frequently
considered to be fine art.
See also: List of art schools
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Art Schools, Colleges and Universities in Africa
Kyoto City University of Arts, Japan Offers graduate degrees in
Painting, Printmaking, Concept and Media Planning, Sculpture, and
Design (Visual, Environmental, and Product), Crafts (Ceramics, Dying
and Weaving, and Urushi Lacquering); also the Science of
Tokyo University of the Arts The art school offers graduate degrees in
Painting (Japanese and Oil), Sculpture, Crafts, Design, Architecture,
Art History. The music and film schools
Korean National University Music, Drama, Dance, Film, Traditional Arts
Dance and Performing Arts), Design, Architecture, Art
Theory, Visual Arts Dept. of Fine Arts (painting, sculpture,
photography, 3D laser holography, Video, interactivity, pottery and
Guangzhou Academy of Fine Arts
Guangzhou Academy of Fine Arts is a Chinese national university
based in Guangzhou which provides Fine Arts and
Master and bachelor's degrees .
Academy of Fine Arts, Kolkata
Academy of Fine Arts, Kolkata is a Fine
Art college in the Indian city
of Kolkata, West Bengal.
Lebanese Academy of Fine Arts
Lebanese Academy of Fine Arts is a prestigious fine arts college
originally founded in 1937 by a group of young classical musicians in
Beirut, in 1988 it was merged with University of Balamand. ALBA is
considered a Pioneering Institute in the region with exceptional
educational expertise and world renown lecturers and instructors. 
Main article: List of art universities and colleges in Europe
Brazil: The Institute for the Arts in Brazilia has departments for
theater, visual arts, industrial design, and music.
United States an academic course of study in fine art may
Bachelor of Arts in Fine Art, or a Bachelor of Fine Arts,
Master of Fine Arts degree — traditionally the terminal
degree in the field.
Doctor of Fine Arts degrees —earned, as opposed
to honorary degrees— have begun to emerge at some US academic
institutions, however. Major schools of art in the US:
Yale University, New Haven, CT - MFA in Painting, printmaking,
sculpture, photography, and graphic design. An interdisciplinary
degree in film is also offered. The BA in art includes the same areas
of study, plus drawing.
Rhode Island School of Design, Providence, RI - MFA in Ceramics,
Glass, Jewelry + Metalsmithing, Painting, Photography, Printmaking,
Sculpture, Textiles; BFA in Film/Animation/Video, Illustration
School of the
Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois - MFA in
Studio, MFA in Writing
University of California Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA - MFA in
Ceramics, Interdisciplinary Studio, New Genres,
Painting and Drawing,
Photography, and Sculpture
California Institute of the Arts, Valencia, CA
Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, PA
Cranbrook Academy of Art, Bloomfield Hills, MI
Maryland Institute College of Art, Baltimore, MD
Fordham University, New York, NY - An innovative partnership between
Alvin Ailey American
Dance Theater and Fordham University, the
Bachelor of Fine Arts (B.F.A) degree combines the finest
in dance and liberal arts education in a 4-year program. Students
complete a diverse curriculum while attending both institutions
Columbia University, New York, NY - The School of the Arts at Columbia
University offers MFA degrees in Film,
Theatre Arts, Visual Arts and
Writing, an MA degree in
Film Studies, a joint JD/MFA degree in
Theatre Management & Producing, and a PhD degree in Theatre
History, Literature and Theory.
Juilliard School, New York, NY - is a performing arts conservatory
established in 1905 it educates and trains undergraduate and graduate
students in dance, drama, and music. It is widely regarded as one of
the world's leading music schools, with some of the most prestigious
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Ideas from Larry Shiner's The Invention of Art: A Cultural History".
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Developments. Rochester: Cary Graphic Arts Press.
^ The Tower Bridge, the
Eiffel Tower and the
representative of the buildings used on advertising brochures.
Conceptual art Tate online glossary tate.org.uk. Retrieved August 7,
^ "Poetry". Merriam-Webster. Merriam-Webster, Inc. 2013.
^ Britannica Concise Encyclopedia. "britannica". britannica. Retrieved
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California Institute of the Arts
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burgeoning cultural capital of New York to become an internationally
recognized synonym for the pinnacle of artistic achievement.
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Drama Schools in the World". The Hollywood Reporter.
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ALBA (2018). .
Visual arts and the art world
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