ARTH101: Discussion Topic 2, Defining Art


Hello Sitwayenjay

Art is all about perspective and expression. Many artistic endeavors are the artists interpretation of nature is saying to them specifically; their immediate surroundings. Whether that be abstract or of a more conventional sense.

As artists come to the need to express this is born from their soul and what needs to get outside of them and into the world. What one artists sees and feels is needed to be created is has individual as that person is. Any one artists creation is a symbol of what surrounds that person in any given time.

I agree that “artistic” is sometimes an baseness of knowledge because said artist may not have the knowledge or talent to create a perfect circle, however they can certainly give my mind the illusion that they have.

Without art education is our main stream of education means not having a rounded education at all. what is the point of dampening a creative mind or a persons need to exploration? Art provides the avenue to make substantial who we are and why.


Hi DTdeBruijn

If I am not mistaken, you believe that art needs to secure boundaries that keep within an ideal of what art is?

I can agree to a point and from our earlier transmission. Art is not something that should allow ideals to cross over into situations that create harm for others. Art is be about how one connects with ones environment, be that a social, environmental, political or religiously.

I have found many pieces of art, pieces that I find offending for whatever reason. Though I believe that I am open enough to understand the base from which a work is created. I do not always agree. But I am not that person either.

I defer to this explicit article:

Your thoughts?


Well, I think that there is actually nothing that can be done to restrict art. Art is free, and cannot be bound. All we can do is try to create something that is positive, a useful addition to society. But what happens with it after it’s been released to the public, is beyond our control. Like for example, the hindus that deviced the swastika wouldn’t have probably liked it to end up on the nazi flag in WW II, thousands of years later. What we individually think about a piece of art is irrelevant, because it exists in itself, and is an object open for use by anyone or any group, and thus can make a difference in the world, for good or bad. There will always be art that will hurt people, and there’s nothing that can be done about it. Except maybe creating something that opposes it. But then it has to catch on to the public. And that is something that has to do more with advertising and promoting it. A whole different field altogether. My appeal would be: People always like to express everything, like people that talk without thinking. But does everything need to be said? That is the question artists, including myself, should ask themselves. With creation power comes responsability. I could say that, but did mankind ever listen? Hahaha! :smile:


It’s good the definition of art, specially when says that it’s definition is changing through time. As art is one of the things that are almost completely under control of the people who makes it, almost because experimental art is about an unexpected result but its result is within the boundaries of possibilities of the artist imagination and what comes out of it is joy; different from technology when there is a goal and anything that derails from that goal is a fail.
But I personally think of art about the combination of technique, aesthetic and a story (there’s is always happening inside the piece or with the piece) or a theme, something to relate to and gives us the feelings that the piece wants make you feel.

Finally i have question, ¿Does representative art is made with imagination, for example a portrait painting, an unplanned photography as nature or documentary photography, or sculpting of a model?

Any how, i might be wrong in a month.


Hi Elpeiado~

Art has to change with each era because the artists that create it are coming from different sociological infrastructures, geophysical environments, available materials and the like. As art and science come together, technologies are more prominent. I volunteer at a gallery that has a show at present that is photographic. The art is all about Photoshop, which is an application that allows the artist to layer images to create a complete artistic ideal. It is lovely and seamless. Not to mention very beautiful and fairy-tale like.

As for your question; it is a good one. I am not certain if representative art is based within imagination. Anyone care to expand here? My Mother was a portrait artist and her works are like photographs, but sine I knew her and her comfort zone, she had to have a photo to create from. They are spot on, but was she engaging imagination? I do not believe so. It was her intellect and “eye”. I think that if the piece is some what out of the ordinary—meaning a take on a situation, position, expression—then that artist has engaged their brain, looking for something that is not readily there to begin with.



Hey DTdeBruijn~

I believe that you are correct that art is unrestricted. It has to be because it is about expression and exploration. Your reference to the swastika becoming the symbol for Nazi Germany is an excellent example. (It brings to mind Einsteins comment about the discovery of splitting the atom). There are many examples of turning things to the end of a rather large difference. The swastika was created at first to be a symbol of luck and creation.

I do not believe that everything has to be “said”. However, for the sake of understanding, things should be expressed. Good or Bad. It is how we as individuals see or hear it and then applied to life is where this can go awry. yes, the media plays a huge role in spreading through the world. And who knows who will get information and how that will effect a mind set. It is scary, really.



Hello Karen,

I believe that many times some techniques need imagination by itselfs.I’m not sure though if this happens in painting and if the artist makes realistic pieces.I can tell that I have seen that kind of imagination in sculpture,etching,and it will sound strange that maybe some complicated copies need imagination to produce them and especially for the amateur but with talent and the unexperienced(it’s about invention).The instructed artist’s can work on this mechanically?

For this part of the discussion I think that also realism needs skills and of course it is Art.I always noticing in shops and galleries people saying 'look at this painting it’s that person,or look how real is it’
Many people including me have already tried or took a class to increase that kind of skills but vain.
It is a gift.Even patience is.

That means and proves my above explanation that realism is Art also,and many painters feeling that they lost their job,not now with photoshop but probably a few decades ago.I need to think about it because I like that applications.Is it a decline or a great invention for the future?


Hello Karen.

Art doesn’t HAS to change, art and technology defines the culture, and culture feedbacks the new art acceptances and how technology develops, like a cycle. Now we are “walking” to something new, as we are becoming part of a new massive global culture, that brings the question ¿who is in charge of deciding what is good and bad, and will it be fair? or ¿should we keep making art from our roots that will divide and define us (in that case i see a hard time for the US) and who will be our audience? But that may be too philosophical and subjective.

About the representative art, later i got to the same thought when considered “David” sculpture from Miguel Angel, as the pose is very strong, and i couldn’t see that coming from a creative accident, it was clearly a decision made inside the imagination. Maybe the issue is that the word art isn’t as big as most of the people expect, art is that little or big plus that the creator puts on the piece to overcome reality, for example in a photography the composition is a decision made by the author, and it could make the subject seem more/less important from what it really was at the moment in the reality, or emphasise the feelings that is trying to transmit.

Finally, you shouldn’t say “The art is all about Photoshop” you aren’t even considering all the visual arts, all the painting nor even all the digital illustration possibilities. Most important you are thinking of art just about the visuals forgetting of the other forms of art, such as music, theatre, literature, dance, gastronomy, etc. Actually now video games are considered a new art form

I hope i cleared how i see it, and didn’t confused anybody.


Hello elpelado,

As we geard toward to define and understand art,we shouldn’t feel any confusion,but it would be a disadvantage to stay only in art and leave a blank within that philosophical part you have mentioned,which is the key to uncover the puzzler.
I will agree with both perspectives and that is how I perceive art so far according to current discussions,firstly that magazine covers,school books including horticulture,covers of music cd’s are using only digital art than a produce of copies based on a real painting or traditional illustrations we used to have.
Regarding Video Games,they became the mother of arts including everything such is literature(LOTRO) and it’s important to note here that the hundred’s or maybe thousand’s of games still using realistic landscapes and parts of our everyday life.


Hello Petdavis

Well i said it may be too philosophical because it is kind of predicting and defining the human behaviour globally, which is why i see that as an subjective too, because your answer will be a result of what you have experienced, your life style, and how your culture deal with some topics, some could be tabus while others could be totally normal. Personally i don’t see my self able to answer that.
Also we might already be living that era i which we are still trying to define and divide us through our roots, and that is why there are different cultures and stereotypes.

As for the games i agree with you on that games are including a lots of art forms, and that they’re becoming the mother of arts; but i wouldn’t say LOTRO is a good reference as it is an adaptation more from the movies than from the books, you should try games as “The Las Of Us”, “Beyond two Souls” or “BioShock Infinite”, and take a look to the artwork, scenes, characters personality and form, music, the storyline, and the experience, of the last segment you played.

Hoped to be helpful.


I think defining art is very complicated and hopefully something we re-visit for the rest of our lives.
When I first took an art history class, I thought of art as the height of the Italian Renaissance, but the more time I spent studying it, the more I began to disagree with my opinion. While the work of this time was beautiful and simple, it wasn’t really Art. I came to define art as something which challenges the way you think and feel, something which challenges your ideas about what it means to be human.
I feel like we as a culture really struggle with this, we call every musician an “artist” even if they reuse the same three cords every other pop star does. I think that when we like something, and it makes us feel good, we want to define it as “art”. However, just because something is pretty or passionate, doesn’t mean that it is Art, I would call that design. Design is a medium which is used to appeal to and reflect the emotion of the viewer (in my opinion). It is often used in advertising or in public places. It is something which is aesthetically pleasing which the viewer enjoys. Design is just as important in society as Art, but just because you like something, doesn’t mean it has to be Art. In fact, I think its possible to dislike something and have it be Art (example being Piss Christ).
I agree with some of the posters here that the definition in the text is a little broad, but I think it has some very useful and poignant pieces like: “asks questions” and “Connects us to the past reflects on the present and anticipates the future”


That makes things more clearer so you were very helpful

You have rode my mind,I was curious to find out about other games and maybe I couldn’t find an example by using only the search engine.Thanks a lot for your feedback!



I thought the half of Art history to be considered as 'Italian" while exploring Saylor’s Art History content.The first level introductions to Western Art both refering mostly in Italy,even if we consider that a big part of Modern Art was also Futurism.ARTH202 the half of the course and maybe more has to do with Rome.ARTH206-ARTH207 also analyzing great Italian artworks and the ARTH409 content is Roman Architecture.Inside ARTH401 you learning how the Italian Christian artwork influenced by Byzantine Art.
As I made a research in other college’s disciplines and core programs on the web, I came across with many familiar and sometimes same course titles,and most of them with sorter history periods,for example Baroque Art to Rococo.
Eventually someone I know who is a graduate in Cinema studies,told me that Saylor’s Art History is one of the best programs he ever seen with highlighting the course ART301 being the most important part of the whole area of study.


My congratulations for the people who has written in this thread. I learned a lot of things about what is art. Some questions that could enrichment it.
To make an universal definition from art is very difficult. Art have a subjective part.
Art is contextual, it depends of society and people who interprete.
Along the time, art has played different functions. First art was magical, then religious, after a way to change society and now is business and provocation.
Art as destruction. We must be careful wiht this meaning or the nuclear bomb should be the highest expresion of art.
Art is human. A beautiful sunset only is art if a human catch it.
Art and skills. Now people can do art whitout high level of skills with technology. Before was impossible.


Hello elpelado-

No, art does not have to change. However, it it does not evolve with humans, like everything that does not change, it becomes stagnate and is therefore short lived. As you mention technology is a defining factor and is changing art in its applications. So art is indeed changing. As the world enters into a new chapter of global culture there are new aspects to take in in order to understand the societal structures, available materials and political ideals of The world.

I do not believe that anyone is in charge of deciding what is good or bad art–outside of art critics. Yet this does not assuage a definition of what art is to any one individual. I think that art that is created from a base of an ethnicity is beautiful. Whether that be historic or moderne. The audience for any art is the human that sees it.

“David” is a favorite and was a thrill to see. I believe that the creation of the piece was a moment of brilliance in structure of human strength. I love the quote that was in the wall text that stated the sculpture was to reflect the after math of what had taken place, not the he had won the fight. Very philosophical.

Do not get me wrong. The photo exhibit that I had mentioned is beautiful and filled with artistic expression, it is the curator that mentioned this particular artist is all about photoshop and I get what this means because the photos are over played many times through photoshop application to attain this artists visual ideal…

Actually, I do not think of art as only visual. I am a singer, musician, dancer and writer. I am a pretty good cook too. Smile

No confusion here.

Thank you.


Hello CymryR~

I agree with you that art is something we will re-visit for a life time. Like you, I thought that art was defined by an era. However, I found through the study of art history as well as epistemology, that art like your minds evolves. How we represent art is reflective of what is around us daily. Be that of any genre. The renaissance was art of that time, but it does not fit with todays standards as it reflects that time. Yes, art is geared to help us to think about the time we live in regardless of “date”. What is fascinating about art history is that it allows us to visit an era through many artistic visions that affords to us not living in that time to understand what was happening.

Not everything that is labeled art is art to me, but that does not negate the importance of a piece or what it means to another.

You mention design and want to ask you what you think of the new building in Melbourne that is designed from Beyonce’s body? I think it is an interesting architecture. Is it art?



Hello perebac~

Am curious about your questions that would enrich this experience. Please elaborate.

I do not believe that an universal definition is possible because humans do not react that way. We are individuals, no? As I delve deeper into this course, I am still flummoxed with the ideal of objectivity towards art. That means to be not “seeing” the piece. I may not like something, but is that not a reaction? Therefore a viable for the artist?

I agree that art is an illustration of of societal infrastructure created via an art application. That can be any thing from painting, sculpting, music, singing, poetry or prose.

I believe that art started to be a respiration of the magical , then morphed to a more religious view and evolved to the industrial era. Our art today seems to reflect a deeper aspect as art and science merge into an ideal.

Yes, Einsteins quote “what have e done?” in regards to the splitting to the atom should not be an expression of art. It is the ultimate bad side of what we create.

Art should be peaceful and reflective to help us to be better
What do you think?



I ask questions, but I don’t know and I don’t have the correct answers. Only are my reflexions. People who have all the answers, for me, are an illuminated, and they are a danger for the world, although those illuminated also was the people who makes advance the mankind.

Using Marxist terminology we could say that art is an expression or superstructure that objective responds to the relations that appear in the infrastructure and social relations of power and domination. In other words easier to understand, art depends on the context in which it is located, it is therefore a reflection of society in which it is created.
According to this argument art can not be universal since it depends on the society in which it is created. But then, were we excited because even with the Levantine cave paintings? There must be something beyond our understanding?

Beauty can be art or not. For example Goya does not seek beauty in this work, but we consider it a great work of art.

Are mathematics art? Moreover there are many beautiful things beyond the “art”, for example the mathematical formula of Euler ei • π + 1 = 0 is really spectacular, is made by man and is a form of expression and communication, but a little people considered it as “art”.

Un artista llamado Habacuc cogió a un perro de la calle, lo ató con una cuerda en una exposición de arte y lo dejo sin comida ni bebida esperando que muriera de hambre. Él lo defendió con la explicación de que su obra fue un homenaje a una mujer que fue muerta tras haber sido atacada por dos perros rottweiler. ¿Es ético? ¿Es estético? ¿Busca la belleza? ¿Es arte?


I do floral arrangements for my deceased family members, i use certain flowers to express my feelings toward these people I loved most. I give daisies to my grandmother, I give baby’s breath to my husband…to me the definition of art is silent thought and language expressed inits own way to make something ordinary into something real beautiful.


Yes, I do agree with the definition of Art. When I think of the word art, I think of many different things. Art is common ground between all different cultures. It describes feelings, emotions, cultures, and time periods all through a painting or sculpture. All art is emotionally driven. Art, for those viewing it, can be very thought provoking. When you look at art it is your job to examine the piece, and see what the artist was feeling or might have been thinking while making the piece of art. My position is subjective because my definition of art is my own personal opinion of what I think art is.