Art, artwork, art piece, art object, or a work of fine art is an aesthetic creation of aesthetic, intellectual, aesthetic, and visual value. In general, the term artwork is used in association with paintings, sculptures, photography, printmaking, and other visual media. It can also be used in order to describe an object that is of artistic significance.
Art has been described as a form of communication. This is because art forms are highly creative endeavors and involve the application of one’s personal aesthetic sense. An artistic product is usually seen to have an emotional and/or psychological meaning. The type of artwork therefore reflects the values and attitudes of the creator. Aesthetic appreciation of artwork involves understanding both the role of the artist and the audience. There is a strong link between the artistic sensibility and the ability to express one’s emotions and ideas through the means of the visual medium.
Art history traces the development of various art movements and artistic styles. In the early years of the visual arts, the movement towards realism and the attempt to give more significance to the audience resulted in the rejection of impressionism and Cubism. The art object was no longer an aesthetic delight but an attempt at the actualization of societal ideals. Realism eventually won out of Cubism and expressionism but the influence of the art movements on contemporary art is still evident today.
Expressionism marked the arrival of a new style of artistic production in the late nineteen twenties. It was characterized by an affinity for the artistic expressions derived from everyday objects. Though it rejected the Cubist art object and focused instead on the visual aspects of things, it generated an intense popularity among artists. Expressionism’s widespread popularity was a significant milestone in the history of the visual arts.
An example of this movement is the art of Frank Stella, who started to paint pictures as a way of expressing basic human emotions. Though his paintings had formal composition and were well executed, what distinguishes Stella’s work from others is the figurative approach towards art. He makes use of non-representational means of expression and focuses on the actual physical experience of the subjects rather than just portraying abstractions. Another famous abstract painter, Jasper Johns, achieved a similar success in his art through his use of non-representational style in his art. Unlike Stella who painted using formal and complex compositions, Johns focused on the natural beauty of things and created paintings that had a close resemblance to nature.
There are still those who claim that art and visual arts have a clear difference despite the fact that the two fields have different meanings and goals. With regards to aesthetics, we can say that they both have to do with the satisfaction of aesthetic values. For the art lover, the beauty is not only the visual aspect but also involves the satisfaction of aesthetic values such as truth and justice. Similarly, for the artist, beauty involves the satisfaction of values such as truth and justice. Thus, when we talk about aesthetics and art appreciation, they are basically the same things but people tend to use different terms as a matter of convenience.
Some people may be hard-core aestheticians while other may consider any works of art to be art. In some instances, the difference between an artwork and other works of art is that the latter are intended to communicate some sort of message or a philosophical thought. But this can only be ascertained through the work itself, for example, in paintings, sculptures, and other works of visual arts. In this case, the message or the philosophical underpinnings of the work can be evaluated through the viewer’s own appraisal. And this process may be more objective than subjective, depending on how the viewer evaluates the work.
Art is not necessarily a matter of practical skills in painting but can also be related to the philosophical or emotional side of a person’s personality. It may even be about the person’s profession such as a sculptor. And like other forms of artwork, visual arts can be appreciated regardless of their mode of creation, be it pottery, photography, sculpture, or music. And as long as there are people who appreciate them, we can say that visual arts have become an important part of our lives.