While any original creative expression that appeals to the senses can be called a work of art, not all of them are actually considered fine art. To fall under this definition, there are some key factors that should be taken into account when creating an art piece. Keep reading to understand what differentiates this unique style from others.
We know without a doubt that fine art is a synonym of cool art—a fine art painting gives us joy and we get that feeling just by looking at it. We don’t even need to know much about the artist to be able to enjoy their work. Is that just magic, or is there a reason behind it? Let’s explore the whys of this phenomenon.
Back to basics: what is fine art?
Fine art is defined, first and foremost, as a form of creative visual art. This category is currently applied to the following types of visual artwork: painting, architecture, sculpture, music, poetry, photography, film and performing arts, which include theater and dance. It is worth mentioning that a contemporary approach to fine art would also add mixed media, design, and printing pieces to the list.
The most popular form of fine art is painting. Fine art paintings are one of the coolest art pieces to own, as they not only take a certain degree of skill to be produced, but they also confer some type of emotion that, if executed well enough, can come through the canvas. In other words, a well-done fine art painting can (and most likely will) get to you and make you feel something.
A run through fine art history
Let’s not forget that, just as any other artistic style, fine art is a subjective term that has developed and evolved throughout the ages. Back in time, when art as a craft started to grow into an actual profession, people eventually became aware of the need to coin more specific definitions that could classify works of art and differentiate them from one another.
This opened the door to social class distinctions within art, and so the term “high” or “fine” art was born to describe artwork that required a great deal of virtuosity and was pleasant to the eyes, as opposed to what was perceived as “low art”—crafted pieces done by artisans for more practical uses.
This assumption did, in fact, become quite limited as centuries went by, but the terminology stuck and paved the way for fine art to become what it is today. Subsequently, art as a job acquired frameworks that we use nowadays to determine whether an art piece falls under this category. And since art as a whole is an ever-changing discipline, the definition of fine art continues to evolve.
What makes fine art “fine”?
To better understand what it takes to produce fine art, we should start by determining the purpose or motivation behind the work. Fine art paintings aim to be aesthetically pleasing. The intention of fine art is to fill the viewer with delight and wonder; therefore, the pieces are created and appreciated for their aesthetic and intellectual content.
They are considered ”art for the sake of art,” while other works of art such as illustrations or graphics are usually intended for something more than showing the artist’s creative input. This distinction makes fine art different from commercial art produced for business purposes, or decorative pieces of applied art such as ceramics, weavings, or wooden furniture, to name a few.
This is also a consequence of social segregation within art during ancient times, when visual artists such as painters, sculptors and architects were placed high in the ranks, and craft artists like potters or carpenters were traditionally left out of the fine arts category.
Another key factor that has shaped the concept of fine art is its audience. At first, fine art was produced in limited quantities, displayed at exclusive venues, and commercialized at expensive rates; therefore, it was considered to be destined for elite circles only. Nowadays, the spectrum of what is considered fine art is extremely broad and always expanding as new technologies and forms of creation emerge, challenging societies to sharpen their skills and senses.
This leads us to the last, yet most important, requirement for a piece to be considered fine art: its originality. A work of fine art, regardless of its medium or targeted audience, must be a one-of-a-kind piece; it should feel unique and momentous.
Andy Warhol’s silkscreens displayed at Museum Palazzo Cipolla.
Think about fine art icons like Rembrandt, Claude Monet or Henri Matisse; they had different styles, belonged to different artistic movements and even lived in different times, yet their work is considered fine art because their approach was original. Andy Warhol used a technique from commercial art to create the silkscreens that are now some of the most famous pieces of fine art, and several artists have utilized mediums that were originally attributed to decorative art (like ceramics or wool) for fine artwork; what made the difference is that they applied their resources in an original way.
As we can see, the boundaries of fine art have shifted over the course of history. Fine art is still appreciated, displayed and curated today, and it comes in many forms besides paintings—a book, a song or a play can also be considered works of fine art, as their intention is to produce an emotion we enjoy feeling; and we feel it because the artwork is unique and impactful.
Here at The Art Dome we want you to experience the thrill of art at its best. Stay tuned for more insights and news about the sensational world of fine art.