Fine Art: Definition & Meaning
The term "fine art" refers to an art form practised mainly for its aesthetic value and its beauty ("art for art's sake") rather than its functional value. Fine art is rooted in drawing and design-based works such as painting, printmaking, and sculpture. It is often contrasted with "applied art" and "crafts" which are both traditionally seen as utilitarian activities. Other non-design-based activities regarded as fine arts, include photography and architecture, although the latter is best understood as an applied art.
Difference Between Fine Art and Decorative Arts/Crafts
Until the English Arts & Crafts Movement of the late 19th century, there was a rigid distinction between fine art (purely aesthetic) and decorative art (functional). During the 20th century, with the introduction of the category of visual art, this arbitrary distinction has become blurred, and certain crafts or decorative arts (notably ceramics) are now considered to be fine art.
What Does Fine Art Include?
Definitions of fine art are obliged to change with the time, but most encompass the following activities:
- charcoal - Charcoal is one of the oldest drawing media and is commonly used by artists even today, in stick or compressed powder form. The sticks are usually made from twigs of willow (or linden wood) which are subjected to a slow-burning process that reduces the wood to carbon.
- chalk - Chalk is one of the oldest drawing media similar to pastels in texture and appearance, and has been used by draughtsmen and painters ever since prehistoric times.
- pastel - In fine art, the term 'pastels' refers to sticks of colour made from powdered pigment bound with resin or gum. The name derives from the word pastello (Italian), meaning little bread roll.
- pencil - The common pencil (the word derives from the latin 'peniculus' meaning brush), used by draughtsmen around the world, is the most immediate and sensitive of the drawing media, being as capable of producing a quick sketch or a finely worked drawing. Pencil marks vary according to the hardness of the graphite lead in the shaft. The harder the lead (and the sharper the tip) the finer the line. Pencils are a dry medium, in contrast to pens which apply liquids.
- pen and ink - In fine art, the term 'pen and ink' denotes a drawing technique involving the use of black and other coloured inks which are applied to a support (generally paper) with either a dip pen or a reservoir pen.
- book illustration - An illustration is a drawing, painting or printed work of art which explains, clarifies, illuminates, visually represents, or merely decorates a written text, which may be of a literary or commercial nature. Historically, book illustration and magazine/newspaper illustrations have been the predominant forms of this type of visual art, although illustrators have also used their graphic skills in the fields of poster art, advertisements, comic books, animation art, greeting cards, cartoon-strips.
- caricature - A caricature is a drawing of a real person which distorts or exaggerates certain features, but still retains a likeness: in other words an exaggerated piece of portrait art.
- graphic art - The term 'graphic art' (a derivation from the German Graphik, originating from graphikos, the Greek for drawing) commonly denotes those forms of visual expression that depend for their effect on line and tone (disegno), not colour (colorito).
- encaustic painting - In fine art, the word "encaustic" describes both the paint and painting technique which uses hot beeswax to bind colour pigments and to facilitate their application to a surface.
- tempera painting - Tempera (also called egg tempera) was a method of painting that superceded the encaustic painting method, only to be itself replaced by oil painting. Its name stems from the Latin word temperare, meaning 'to mix in proportion'. Unlike encaustic paints which contain beeswax to bind the colour pigments, or oil paints which use oils, tempera employs an emulsion of water, egg yolks or whole eggs (occasionally with a little glue, honey or milk).
- ink and wash - In fine art, the term 'Ink and wash painting' denotes an Oriental or East Asian method of painting. It is also referred to as 'brush painting'. The Chinese refer to it as mo-shui, while the Japanese call it suibokuga or sumi-e, and the Koreans know it as Soomookwa. The traditional painting medium for ink and wash is black ink, typically applied with long-haired brushes (from animals like goat, wolf, badger, rabbit, boar, or sheep) onto paper or silk.
- oil painting - In its simplest form, oil paint is a mixture of three things: pigment, binder and thinner. Pigment is the colour element, while the binder (the oil) is the liquid vehicle or carrier which holds the ground-up pigment to be applied to the canvas or whatever support is to be painted. A thinner is usually added to the viscous pigment-oil mixture to make it easier to apply with a brush.
- watercolour painting - In fine art painting, the term 'Watercolour' denotes a painting medium in which colour pigments are bound in water-soluble agents. Originally, these binders were animal glues or certain sugars, but nowadays the standard substance is gum arabic.
- gouache - Gouache is a fine art term which describes a type of paint consisting of pigment combined (like watercolours) with gum arabic. Unlike watercolour painting, however, gouache contains chalk to make it opaque and more reflective. Artists can use additives (eg. acrylic, honey or starch) to make it dry more slowly. It is thinned with water (or liquid glue to retain tonality) before being applied (with hog-hair or sable brushes) to white or tinted paper, card or silk.
- acrylics - Acrylics appeared in the 1940s and have been adopted by many modern painters, in all painting genres, for their fast drying qualities and permanence. Because, while oil paint remains the dominant medium, its slow-drying and lack of permanence (museum curators do not consider an oil painting to be fully dry for over 50 years) can be exceptionally frustrating for professional artists.
- woodcuts - Woodcut, the oldest technique used in fine art printmaking, is a form of relief printing. The artist's design or drawing is made on a piece of wood (usually beechwood), and the untouched areas are then cut away with gouges, leaving the raised image which is then inked.
- engraving - Engraving involves the incision of a design onto a metal surface (usually copper), by making grooves using a steel tool with a square or diamond-shaped end, called a burin. This produces a high quality line with a clean edge. Other tools - like mezzotint rockers, roulets and burnishers - are employed by the printmaker to create additional textured effects.
- etching - Invented by the German artist Daniel Hopfer (c.1470-1536), etching - along with engraving, mezzotint and aquatint - is one of the intaglio methods of fine art printing.
- lithography - The term lithograph or lithography comes from Greek, meaning 'writing with stone'. It was invented in 1798 by German Alois Senefelder (1771-1834), as a way of printing text, in particular his own plays.
- silk screen-printing - a printing technique that uses a woven mesh to support an ink-blocking stencil to receive a desired image.
Other Fine Arts
- Manuscript Illumination
The following types of fine art have their own projects:
- "Artists (Painters)"
- "Famous Sculptors"
- "Famous Architects"
If other types have a call for their own project, then there will be one added.
- Sir Max Beerbohm (1872–1956)
- George Cruikshank (1792–1878)
- Honore Daumier (1808–79)
- Mort Drucker (b.1929)
- Jose Miguel Covarrubias Duclaud (1904-57)
- Alex Gard (1900–48)
- William Gropper (1897-1977)
- Al Hirschfeld (1903-2003)
- David Levine (b.1926)
- "Thomas Nast"
- Gerald Anthony Scarfe (b.1936)
- Ralph Steadman (b.1936)
Famous Contemporary Caricaturists
- Sam Viviano (b.1953)
- Steve Brodner (b.1954)
- Robert Risko (b.1956)
- Jan Op De Beeck (b.1958)
- Sebastian Kruger (b.1963)
- Hermann Mejia (b.1973)
- Ed Steckley (b.1973)
- French artist Jean Clouet (1472-1541)
- Leonardo Da Vinci (1452-1519)
- Raphael (1483-1520)
- Michelangelo Buonarroti (1475-1564)
- Rembrandt (1606-1669)
- Thomas Gainsborough (1727-88)
The 5 Most Talented 3D Sidewalk Artists
- Edgar Mueller
- Eduardo Rolero
- Julian Beever
- Manfred Stader
- Kurt Wenner
To see examples of their awesome work check out "Bored Panda"
- Rosalba Carriera (1675-1757)
- Maurice Quentin de Latour (1704-88)
- Jean Chardin (1699-1779)
- Jean-Etienne Liotard (1702-89)
- Jean-Baptiste Perronneau (c.1715-83)
- Alexandre Roslin (1718-93)
Famous Artists Who Produced Pencil Drawings
- Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres (1780–1867)
- John Constable (1776-1837)
- Pablo Picasso (1881-1973)
- John Singer Sargent (1856–1925)
- Sarah Purser HRHA (1848-1943)
- Walter Frederick Osborne (1859–1903)
- Patrick Leonard HRHA (1918-2005)
- Jack Butler Yeats (1871-1957)
- Jules Cheret (1836-1932)
- Toulouse-Lautrec (1864-1901)
- Alphonse Mucha (1860-1939)
- Theophile Steinlen (1859-1923)
- Eugene Grasset (1845-1917)
- Albert Guillaume (1873-1942)
- Pierre Bonnard (1867-1947)
- Edouard Vuillard (1868-1940)
- Leonetto Cappiello (1875-1942)
The following artists produced works in several different categories.
- "James McNeill Whistler" (1834–1903) - Lithograph, etching, charcoal, pastel, gouache, watercolor, oil. He is most known for "Whistler's Mother".