Philosophy; What Is Art? Essay

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Leo Tolstoy once said, “In order to define art, it is necessary to cease to consider it as a means to pleasure and to consider it as one of the conditions of human life.” The human condition involves the experiences of being human is social, cultural, and personal context. The studies of the arts help to understand the nature of human condition achieved by the “producer” and the “consumer” in a public setting. A successful work of art allows the viewer to enter a relationship with the artist. That said the viewer understands the artist’s intentions and emotions placed into the art piece. Although the arts are in a constant state of change, the question still remains; is art subjective or objective? Is art a private or internal experience; sensations, beliefs, feelings, emotions, opinions? Or is art a public or external experience; publicly-observable things, events, knowledge? In Denis Dutton’s book The Art Instinct, Dutton provides a list defining art. The list identifies the most common and understandable features in art: direct pleasure, skill and virtuosity, novelty and creativity, representation, and art traditions and institutions. Direct pleasure Aesthetic pleasure or aesthetic enjoyment is the emotional element in our response to works of art and natural beauty. It can vary from pleasure in its mildest form to extreme enthusiasm. But it is a point of dispute whether this pleasure arises from apprehending the formal character of the object, its content, or both. It is also unclear how many subjective elements contribute to this process. Other major issues concern the relation between aesthetic pleasure and the aesthetic attitude and the distinction, if there is one between aesthetic pleasure in response to nature and to art. Skill and Virtuosity Dutton explains that skill and virtuosity must present in art. “The making of the object or the

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