Art Vs Art Essay

706 Words 3 Pages
What is art and why is this question important? The question seems more suited to the topic of philosophy than of art, yet that does not mean philosophy has any easy answer to this seemingly simple question. Rather, one of the consequences of studying philosophy is in the realization that the simplest questions are often the most difficult to answer. Philosophy may offer a foundation for our most treasured beliefs but it also shows us how little we actually know. The Delphic oracle declared Socrates the wisest man in Athens, which came as a surprise to him, as he felt that he did not know anything for certain. However, he came to realize that through his questioning of people confident in their own knowledge, the oracle was right. Socrates’ …show more content…
It begs the questions ‘who decides what art is and what is not?’ and ‘what makes great art?’ What is it that a piece of tribal sculpture, a pickled shark and the roof of the Sistine Chapel all have in common? This dissertation will tackle the subject of art theory and attempt to answer these questions. It will explore several of the major philosophical attempts to answer these questions in the twentieth century. Most of the theorists and philosophers I discuss have focused on the visual arts and I have not treated their theories as outdated, but rather as valid contributions to this ongoing debate of art theory. Their ideas are very much tied to the period in which they were written, but that does not make the ideas redundant in any way; they are still relevant to the question of what art is and all of them still have effective contributions to …show more content…
I examine the Impressionists and the role they played in challenging the pre-conceived notions of what art could be at the time. I then move onto the topic of aesthetics and the role beauty has played in the art world. Clive Bell’s significant form theory – the success of a work of art comes from a combination of its lines, colours and shapes – is then explored before I move onto the art as expression theory and look at contributing theorists such as Sigmund Freud and R. G. Collingwood. Chapter two covers important recent theories of art, first by investigating institutional theory and its proponents and critics, as well as the role galleries and museums play on our perception of art. This then leads into the final topic in art theory, which is ‘art as ideas’ or concept art. I look at one of the most influential theorists of the topic, Arthur C Danto, as well as artists like Sol LeWitt and Marcel Duchamp to determine whether an idea can really be art and some of the theories opponents who believe most conceptual art requires no skill, and therefore cannot be called art. In my conclusion I revisit the information in both chapters and begin to resolve the question of what art is, and I also offer my own hypothesis on the

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