Thursday, November 15, 2007

Fine or Finished Art

Fine Art was seen by our Victorian predecessors as the application of skill and taste following more or less rigid aesthetic principles. They knew that they liked! This variety of art aimed at the production of what those folk considered a thing of beauty. They spurned the decorative arts, noting that the tattooes of their savage ancestors were "decorative". The fine arts were were also termed design arts, The principles thought necessary successful design were considered to be: balance, contrast, dominance, gradation, harmony, repetition and unity.

The arts of design were originally: painting, drawing, architecture and sculpture. These bastions of conservatism were assaulted in Victorian times by other wanabees, and in some circles, poetry, dancing, music and theatre were admitted to the fold, but there were objections, since these arts used loose interpretations of the word design.

Wikipedia argues that "Something is not generally considered "art" when it stimulates only the senses or only the mind..." According to this same source, the ultimate source of the concept of "fine" or "finished" art derives at its base from the philosophy of the Greek philosopher Aristotle. He proposed the idea that the "Final Cause" of any work of man as the entire purpose for its existence, and hence arose the odd notion of art created "for art's sake". A related idea is that "pleasure is the final cause of beauty and thus is not a means to another end, but an end in itself." Deep!!!

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