(The Attributes of Painting, Sculpture and Architecture, by Anne Vallayer-Coster, Louvre.)
Art is a human activity, the product of this activity or the idea that it is created in fact to speak deliberately to the senses, emotions, intuitions and intellect. We can say that art is characteristic of the man, and that this activity has no clearly defined function.
Indeed, the definitions of this concept vary widely according to times and places, and none of them is universally accepted. Thus, for Marcel Mauss, “a work of art, by definition, is the object recognized as such by a group.” That is why the artistic productions collections can be classified and valued differently in different cultures, authors and institutions.
In Europe, since the late eighteenth century, the term covers mainly products called the “fine arts” such as sculpture, painting, architecture, graphic arts, and also music, dance, poetry and literature. Since this is added, among others, film, theater, photography, comics, television, video game, or digital art or fashion. The classification of the arts is not, however, universal and to seek unanimous classification seems impossible or anachronistic.
This conception of art as an autonomous activity such as production of the artists of objects that we find beautiful after a taste preference, dates from the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. But it is often assumed that modern and contemporary art have abandoned the notion of beauty or timeless style for what appears to be, very generally, the principles of transgression or breaking.
(Upper part of the mihrab of the Great Mosque of Kairouan (Tunisia), an example of Islamic art from the ninth century. https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Mihrab,_Great_Mosque_of_Kairouan.jpg?uselang=fr)
The twenty-first century saw both the proliferation of the concept of art (absorbing ancient civilizations, integrating different media and forcing to speak of “arts”, all with productions in exponential global expansion) and at the same time to go beyond the civilization of the whole screen, which mixes everything. Such a phenomenon encourage to benchmarks and not to implement the Western notion of “art” in all of that has an aesthetic aiming on every continent, which could pass for a neo-colonialism. To do this, it is important to establish the chronology and geography of production in a general history of human production.
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