From The Art and Popular Culture Encyclopedia
Fine art refers to arts that are "concerned with beauty or which appealed to taste" (SOED 1991). The term was first attested in 1767, as a translation from the French term beaux arts and designates a limited number of visual art forms, including painting, sculpture, architecture and printmaking. Schools, institutes, and other organizations still use the term to indicate a traditional perspective on the visual arts, often implying an association with classic or academic art. It is a part of "high culture" and is the opposite of popular culture.
The word "fine" does not so much denote the quality of the artwork in question, but the purity of the discipline. This definition tends to exclude visual art forms that could be considered craftwork or applied art, such as textiles. The more recent term visual arts is widely considered to be a more inclusive and descriptive phrase for today's variety of current art practices, and for the multitude of mediums in which high art is now more widely recognized to occur. Ultimately, the term fine in 'fine art' comes from the concept of Final Cause, or purpose, or end, in the philosophy of Aristotle.
An alternative, if flippant, reference to "fine art," is capital "A" art, or, art with a capital "A."
The term is still often used outside of the arts to denote when someone has perfected an activity to a very high level of skill. For example, one might metaphorically say that "Pelé took football to the level of a fine art."
That fine art is seen as being distinct from applied arts is largely the result of an issue raised in Britain by the conflict between the followers of the Arts and Crafts Movement, including William Morris, and the early modernists, including Virginia Woolf and the Bloomsbury Group. The former sought to bring socialist principles to bear on the arts by including the more commonplace crafts of the masses within the realm of the arts, while the modernists sought to keep artistic endeavour exclusive, esoteric, and elitist.
Confusion often occurs when people mistakenly refer to the Fine Arts but mean the Performing Arts (Music, Dance, Drama, etc). However, there is some disagreement here, as, for example, at York University, Fine Arts is a faculty that includes the "traditional" fine arts, design, and the "Performing Arts".
An academic course of study in fine art may include a Master of Fine Arts degree.
Fine art photography refers to photographs that are created to fulfill the creative vision of the artist. Fine art photography stands in contrast to photojournalism and commercial photography. Photojournalism visually communicates stories and ideas, mainly in print and digital media. Fine art photography is created primarily as an expression of the artist’s vision, but has also been important in advancing certain causes. The work of Ansel Adams in Yosemite and Yellowstone provides an example. Adams is one of the most widely recognized fine art photographers of the 20th century, and was an avid promoter of conservation. While his primary focus was on photography as art, his work raised public awareness of the beauty of the Sierra Nevada and helped to build political support for their protection.
Fine arts film is a term that encompasses motion pictures and the field of film as a fine art form. A fine arts movie theater is a venue, usually a building, for viewing such movies. Films are produced by recording images from the world with cameras, or by creating images using animation techniques or special effects. Films are cultural artifacts created by specific cultures, which reflect those cultures, and, in turn, affect them. Film is considered to be an important art form, a source of popular entertainment and a powerful method for educating — or indoctrinating — citizens. The visual elements of cinema give motion pictures a universal power of communication. Some films have become popular worldwide attractions by using dubbing or subtitles that translate the dialogue.
Cinematography is the discipline of making lighting and camera choices when recording photographic images for the cinema. It is closely related to the art of still photography, though many additional issues arise when both the camera and elements of the scene may be in motion.
Independent filmmaking often takes place outside of Hollywood, or other major studio systems. An independent film (or indie film) is a film initially produced without financing or distribution from a major movie studio. Creative, business, and technological reasons have all contributed to the growth of the indie film scene in the late 20th and early 21st century.
- Art history
- Contemporary art
- Hierarchy of the arts
- History of art
- Mathematics and art
- Visual arts