What is Fine Art Anyways? Opinion

By Jake Edgar|March 11, 2018Opinions, Student Writing|2 comments

What is Fine Art Anyways?





the expression or application of human creative skill and imagination, typically in a visual form such as painting or sculpture, producing works to be appreciated primarily for their beauty or emotional power.

A problem arises when we consider the notion that some art is better than others. Namely, that anything that is created for the sake of itself, as most art is (this of course is oversimplifying),  has no essential purpose. So how can one purposeless thing be better than another?

The verdict tends to go to whichever piece of art, whether it be a novel or a painting, those of power within the spectrum of academia and criticism say is the most profound.





(of a person or statement) having or showing great knowledge or insight.

The line of logic that suggests profound art is better art seems sound enough at first, but it leaves the artist themself out of the conversation completely. The history of the individual and the events in their life that led them to creative impulse is as diverse as humanity itself. With profundity the given goal of art, what does the artist get out of the process? The usual response would be catharsis.




the process of releasing, and thereby providing relief from, strong or repressed emotions.

When I make art, which tends to be in the form of poetry or story writing, catharsis is a big deal, and I would argue that the take away from a work, for the artist themself needs to be weighed into the conversation more heavily.

For example:

You are an individual with no education past high school. You began working in the tenth grade and never take much enjoyment from reading books. You write poetry in your free time and enjoy rhyme schemes. They are like little puzzles to you. The poems themselves would be dismissed as rubbish by academics, but your daughter (four years old) finds the rhymes to be soothing in a way that song cannot even match.

My point is that the audience and the artist are the only factors that, in actuality, determine whether or not a piece of art is fine or not. We should spend less time worrying about whether the art we create is good, and more time finding the right audiences for it.

There is always someone to be moved.


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  1. Thank you for sharing Chris! I look forward to reading your suggestion.

  2. Art can be much more than cathartic profundity, and many would argue that it serves other purposes.
    The concepts of Aesthetic Arrest – being stopped in your thoughts by wholeness, harmony and radiance, is much more than emotion.
    The most moving public monuments, like the Vietnam Memorial in DC, Picasso’s Guernica, and the Burghers of Calais by Rodin, present Aesthetic Distance, and can offer the viewer a way to experience human paradox, unlike almost anything else.
    See this nice take on James Joyce’s writings on proper and improper art.

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