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What is art?

The dictionary definition of art says that it is “the conscious use of skill and creative imagination especially in the production of aesthetic objects” (Merriam-Webster)

But the thing about art is that it’s so diverse that there are as many ways to understand it as there are people. That’s why there are scholars who give their own special definition of the word, such the one penned by this famous Russian novelist, which goes:

“Art is the activity by which a person, having experienced an emotion, intentionally transmits it to others” – Leo Tolstoy

During his life, Tolstoy was known to write based on his life experiences, such as his most famous work, “War and Peace” that used much of his experience during the Crimean War. And whether or not his definition of art is the best, the point is that people look at art based on how they have experienced it.

What is Art?

There are many common definitions of art. Few to quote:

  • Art is any creative work of a human being
  • Art is a form of expressing oneself
  • Art resides in the quality of doing; process is not magic
  • Art is the act of making something visually entertaining
  • Art is that activity which manifests beauty
  • Art is mastery, an ideal way of doing things
  • Art is not a thing — it is a way (Elbert Hubbard)
  • Art is the most intense mode of individualism that the world has known
  • Art is a discovery and development of elementary principles of nature into beautiful forms suitable for human use (Frank Lloyd Wright)

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