ARTH101: Discussion Topic 2, Defining Art


Do you agree with the definition for ‘art’ as it’s explained in the reading above? Why or why not? Can you add to the definition? Is your definition coming from a subjective or objective perspective?

The definition of ‘art’ that is explained in the reading above jumps around a bit with what it’s trying to say. There are two different definitions that are in the reading, one that the majority of people conclude and the actual definition. I do agree with the two definitions that are in the reading, but I wish to add a bit more to it.
Art is something that has been created to be viewed. It’s been made to show off something like a talent or picture or a feature. Anything can be art. In fact, everything is art, because everything is made to be viewed and admired because God created everything as art. My definition is more subjective.


Hello ohoughton~

I agree with you that art is the human factor common ground. I may not agree with someone else’s ideals towards an artistic expression and that is OK. What I enjoy id the discussion that allows another’s view to be present to me. While I still not agree, the discussion has afforded an opportunity to see something I did not see before.

From what I have been reading within our Saylor sphere, most of us, me included, find art subjective. I believe that is what we are supposed to do. Yet, it is the objective that continually stumps me. I know people that can be thus, they are curators and have to be to built effective exhibits. However, and my question, if a viewed work leaves one with objectivity, does this mean that the piece is not understood, is irrelevant, or has no value? I do not believe this is so.

Art is personal and I thank you for your thoughts,



An objective look at a piece of art is the knowledge one has about the piece of art. It may include what is actually seen…colors, lines, shapes, lighting, etc., what is known about media used to create, historical and/or biographical content that sheds light on the meaning or potential meaning of the piece. Subjective is just what the viewer feels. A dancer may be technically outstanding but to the viewer dances without inspiration or conviction, thus the viewer does not feel the intended emotions and doesn’t like the performance. Knowing that the dance was flawless and technically sound is objective, not enjoying the performance is subjective.

What makes something art though? and who decides? I am not certain. Something that is technically proficient? Evokes an emotional response? Shows an original perspective? Gives form to someone’s thoughts or ideas?


Hello npjenniferk~~

I actually knew this, but had not formed the words so precisely as you have done. I thank you so very much. Finally I can lay this question to rest. I believe that the study of art has allowed me to be more objective as I look for different aspects now.

I think, as the saying goes, “beauty is in the eye…” So if a work pleases one then it is art and the person viewing is the one who decides. However, when thinking on a higher plain–meaning art works affording wide recognition? I am not certain either. All of your questions are points of thought.

Thank you for your response.


Art is a reflection of our experiences and views - real and imagined, distorted, disassembled and reassembled. Hidden desires, hopes, dreams, disappointments, reverence for nature, eachother,ourselves. It says what we are afraid to give words to… It allows one to be transported throughout time. It can inspire, teach, lead, oppress. Art speaks a language that all understand.


Hello Alexis~

I agree with your statement, completely. Every genre and era of the arts are reflections of what any one artist is experiencing within their environs. Those of us that enjoy exploring museums, galleries, theaters, auditoriums and a cities architecture are gaining knowledge from those that created.

Enjoy the course!



i agree. Personally, art, to me is imagination. To place a landscape upon a canvas one must first see (imagine) what will look like there and how they would like it to be if not how they remember it. To act, sing, compose, same thing. To draw from memory is to draw from experience, but to draw from within is to draw from the imagination. I don’t necessarily think you have to experience something to make something wonderful. I would like to believe that my opinion is objective but what do I know.


I love your statement “… sees nothing more than colors randomly thrown…” I think it describes perception to a “T”. However, I also believe definition and perception are not the same thing. I think art in it’s self is objective in a way that it isn’t meant to mean any one thing, but perception… it is an individuals perception of a piece that turns the objective into the subjective.

simply opinion-stating,


To me, art is a great way to express ourselves! I think that when you look at a drawing someone did or perhaps, some food that somebody cooked and arranged, you get an idea of that person’s personality, mood or what they like. For example a Christian might make a painting of heaven filled with angels praising God.


Do you agree with the definition for ‘art’ as it’s explained in the reading above? Why or why not? Can you add to the definition? Is your definition coming from a subjective or objective perspective?
I agree with the definition as it is explained in the reading. Art is a very fascinating thing to consider and the definition can be thought of in many different ways. My addition to the definition of art is that art can also be experience and shown through different types of music.


Hey Luke~

Yes, there are many different aspects to art in all genres. I am a musician, and though, a classically trained one, I find meaning in all types of music. Are you a musician? A lover of music? What is your favorite?




Question: Do you agree with the definition for ‘art’ as it’s explained in the reading above? Why or why not? Can you add to the definition? Is your definition coming from a subjective or objective perspective?

I agree to the dictionary definition of art, but only to an extent. I believe, like many others, that art is just way more to what it is. While many take only take a work, such as a painting, at face value, the aesthetic value it provides seeps deeper, and shows many different emotions, ideas and values. It gives the piece a true meaning, and shows itself more and more as a viewer unravels it.

Take for example, the painting Self Portrait at 26 by Albrecht Durer.

It depicts the young artist at 26 years old, at the height of his career, when he became immensely popular. His expression is cocky and smug, proud of his artistic abilities. However, out the arched window is a dark sky, showing that when he leaves and goes out, he must accept his responsibilities.
So yes, I find my definition very subjective.


Hello jordonjglen~

I can agree with your ideals of Durer. The piece that you have "dropped in"does, indeed show a self satisfied, smug individual. Are we not all filled with spunk at 26 years of age? My analogy will be Michelangelo at age 29-ish and his creation of David.

A quote from the artist and I paraphrase, “David is not expressing what he did, but rather what will come because of his actions” Very profound. And presuming for that artist to embrace. How ever true or not. I do not know, I was not there.

Is this this your point? I am curious. I was not moved to tears when I saw this Durer piece as I was when viewing David. Is that a subjective? Yet I viewed David from every angle and found incongruities, that would be objective, no? Regardless, this piece is exemplar. What do you think?

Artistic endeavor and accomplishment are two different things depending upon many factors.

Thank you for your thoughts, they are helpful!!



Hi Karen,

I would not be able to define art the same way every time someone asks me. Art is the expression of one-self, a reproduction of modern times, of the imagination, of the what’s to come. Art also serves as the other angle of things, of events, of today’s customs. My favorite kind of art is the one that challenges you to think about this definition constantly.

When I see art the kind of contemporary art that people dismiss as “bad art” simply because it’s not pretty, not realistic, or not representing anything tangible I ask myself: How did the artist arrive to this? Was it because he had something to say? Or was it a simple expression of their creativity?

I believe a curator said about Agnes Martin’s work: “We expect a complete emotional approach with music, but from art we demand explanation. Why is this so?”. I’m afraid I’m not quoting as it was exactly said, but I hope you understand such critical way of looking at art.


Hi polks95~

I like your approach in the objective. It helps me to define that aspect, which has been elusive. I do not like every piece of art that I experience and like you I wonder what the artist is trying to convey. Therefore, I am being objective and not subjective towards the work.

I am not familiar with this quote, but I do like it immensely. Why do we as viewers feel we need to understand everything that art is. I do not believe that it is possible to do so.

Thank you for responding!!



I also disagree with the idea that art is “in essence a question of agreement.” but in the opposite direction of your disagreement-- I think something can be art even if everyone says that it isn’t. I love what you wrote about the children’s artwork-- i also enjoy seeing art (and writing) by kids. It is very honest and sincere, and so is often the best kind of art.

To me the most accurate definition of art is he dictionary one–“The conscious use of skill and creative imagination especially in the production of aesthetic objects”. I would add to that that it is an effort to understand or to be understood, and an effort to connect. To me one of the most essential things about art is that it connects people to each other, to nature, to the spiritual, to deeper parts of ourselves.


Q: Do you agree with the definition for ‘art’ as it’s explained in the reading above? Why or why not? Can you add to the definition? Is your definition coming from a subjective or objective perspective?
A: Yes I completely agree with this definition. To add to this art is whatever you perceive it to be. It is anything and everything. Art can be perceived as a painting or sculpture but it can also be perceived as the way the colors of the sky changes during a sunset or the way our society works or making love. It is so many things but it’s up to the viewer’s perspective. Art is subjective.


I think expression is the key word, art being an expression of the thoughts or ideas of an individual human or a group of people.
The rest of the definition I do think applies in many cases, but not always; art does not always seek for us to ask questions about its subject (although we may feel inclined to ask these questions ourselves), and it does not necessarily aim to “take the ordinary and make it extraordinary”, although many of what are considered great pieces of art often do.

I do agree with the hint that the idea of art can’t be complete without considering its impact on the observer, which can often be generalised for certain groups but ultimately will be unique for each viewer.


Hello savhardy~

Perception is defined differently for each individual. So, yes. Art is unique to any one person. This could be anything as you state. Yet, it is enjoyable to understand another’s view of art and why it is so for that person. Especially when the “work” is questionable to you yourself. Trying to see how some else sees is being objective, I think. I might find a certain building unattractive, but other will see it as beautiful. I do agree that art is subjective, on a whole. However, understanding it is another aspect. Enjoy the course. It is a lot of fun.



Hello NeonPaul~

Yes! And the expression can be wide or very personal. When I think on this I find I relate towards music rather heavily, but this relates to all arts. An artist will create with a specific in mind, yet one viewer will translate the piece as one thing and the next, another. While, both viewers can both be completely incorrect, insofar, as the artists aim. That any work comes to the viewer as an expression, I believe that the artist was successful.