What is “fine art?” Some may find it difficult to accept some works of art as being defined as “fine art.” Some may not consider photography and film falling into this category of “fine art,” but they are now classified as such.
So, how is “fine art” defined? It is what the artist, patrons, and critics say it is. It is what their taste and concept of “fine art” is. So much alleged art has been produced over the years that modern and contemporary “fine art” is now vastly different from what was regarded as “fine art” in the past. There was a time when the now “fine artists” such as the impressionists, cubists, and other modern artists were not accepted and were refused gallery space. Yet today, their work is embraced. Compare this judgment of “fine art” with the past “fine art” of Monet and Raphael.
In this day and age, it can take persuasion by the artist to get the public to accept the seriousness of their art. It can also become the task of the art critic and investors to enlighten the public on the importance of their work. It is through this process that art can arrive at being classified as “fine art.”
Despite the opinions of the artists, critics, and investors, there is the general public’s idea of “fine art.” The question of what is “beauty” is heavily considered. As it is said, “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.” What is beautiful to one may not be to another, and especially when considering the standards of 21st-century American beauty. Consider the art of the past, Rembrandt and Rubens, whose art may reflect the image of a not so attractive commissioned client. We may not see the beauty in their subjects based on today’s norms. But they are still great works of art. Therefore, when considering “beauty” within “fine art” there are differing concepts held during differing periods of time.
We all have diverse tastes in art, as well as in beauty. Every piece of art has something particular to say to us and something distinctive to say about the artist. When visiting galleries and art museums we can benefit from the selection chosen by those professionals. We may not enjoy all that we see but we can learn to recognize the qualities that determined it important and came to make it “fine art.”