This article is about the general concept of art. For people named Art, see Arthur. For other uses, see Art (disambiguation).
Clockwise from upper left: a self-portrait from Vincent van Gogh, an African Chokwe statue, detail from the Birth of Venus by Sandro Botticelli and a Japanese Shisa lion
Art is a diverse range of human activities and the products of those activities; this article focuses primarily on the visual arts, which includes the creation of images or objects in fields including painting, sculpture, printmaking, photography, and other visual media. Architecture is often included as one of the visual arts; however, like the decorative arts, it involves the creation of objects where the practical considerations of use are essential—in a way that they are usually not for a painting, for example. Music, theatre, film, dance, and other performing arts, as well as literature, and other media such as interactive media are included in a broader definition of art or the arts. Until the 17th century, art referred to any skill or mastery and was not differentiated from crafts or sciences, but in modern usage the fine arts, where aesthetic considerations are paramount, are distinguished from acquired skills in general, and the decorative or applied arts.
Art has been characterized in terms of mimesis, expression, communication of emotion, or other values. During the Romantic period, art came to be seen as "a special faculty of the human mind to be classified with religion and science". Though the definition of what constitutes art is disputed and has changed over time, general descriptions mention an idea of human agency and creation through imaginative or technical skill.
The nature of art, and related concepts such as creativity and interpretation, are explored in a branch of philosophy known as aesthetics.[8