Main definitions of art in English

: art1art2



  • 1The expression or application of human creative skill and imagination, typically in a visual form such as painting or sculpture, producing works to be appreciated primarily for their beauty or emotional power.

    ‘the art of the Renaissance’
    ‘great art is concerned with moral imperfections’
    ‘she studied art in Paris’
    • ‘The limits of human invention and art have been exhausted, and there is nothing more to say.’
    • ‘Well what was happening was a demonstration of the power of art to institute communion.’
    • ‘His style is almost synonomous with the idealism of beauty and peace in renaissance art.’
    • ‘A lot of people who know nothing about art say that beauty is in the eye of the beholder.’
    • ‘We are the ones who, upon closing in on a work of art, liberate the powers confined within.’
    • ‘She would also like to teach Catford children to appreciate art and culture.’
    • ‘For Vasari, the stylistic and formal development of art is of primary importance.’
    • ‘Hence a potential, and often open, conflict between art and the powers that be.’
    • ‘Music and art are an expression of the desire for a world free of injustice and war.’
    • ‘There may be more beautiful nudes in the history of art; there are none more erotic or more real.’
    • ‘The works of both artists attest to their belief in the transforming power of art in society.’
    • ‘His passion for art, for beauty and for God was his driving force throughout his life.’
    • ‘It would be nice to claim that it was the eternal pull of art and beauty that brought me to Rome thirteen years ago.’
    • ‘Our appreciation of beauty in a work of art becomes muddled with familiarity.’
    • ‘Blindness need no longer be a barrier for people who want to appreciate art.’
    • ‘As he sees it, the beauty of art and the beauty of maths are two sides of the same coin.’
    • ‘If the show can be taken as a barometer of visual art in this country, there is much to be excited about.’
    • ‘In the last 15 years Scotland has been a leading light in the field of public art and public sculpture.’
    • ‘The countervailing forces are an absolute faith in her achievements and in the redeeming power of art.’
    • ‘Since then, Irish art has come to be appreciated almost to the same degree as Irish literature.’
    fine art, artwork, creative activity
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 Works produced by human creative skill and imagination.
      ‘his collection of modern art’
      as modifier ‘an art critic’
      ‘an exhibition of Mexican art’
      • ‘Formerly a vast and imposing power station, the building is now a vast and imposing modern art gallery.’
      • ‘Belfast is another major city well worth travelling to for contemporary and modern art.’
      • ‘The most economical way to sum it all up is with that favourite word of art critics: eclectic.’
      • ‘The artists, who were all painters, had joined together to find somewhere to show modern art.’
      • ‘Once seen as avant-garde, these thirtysomethings are now at the core of the modern art world.’
      • ‘What was striking about this year's fair was the appearance of more modern and contemporary art.’
      • ‘She was the muse and lover of the French poet and art critic Guillaume Apollinaire.’
      • ‘Built after the First World War it's renowned for its Rodin, but more modern art also has a place.’
      • ‘It has also been reported that some institutions may even lend against a work of art to buy more art!’
      • ‘None the less it is possible for a student to buy art that will hopefully appreciate in value.’
      • ‘It was originally built as a picture gallery for a large private art collection, with a glass roof.’
      • ‘Also, perhaps surprisingly, there is even a shortage of art, or at least of art that can be reproduced.’
      • ‘I like a lot of modern art but I am annoyed that so much gets paid for it.’
      • ‘The Earl certainly had a fine eye for art and appreciated both the beauty and rarity of the items he collected.’
      • ‘When he died in 1784 he was chiefly known as a sentimental playwright and art critic.’
      • ‘The Niland Gallery has one of the finest collections of modern Irish art in the world.’
      • ‘There was lots of blond wood, geometric modern art on the walls, and new dishes on the menu that tickled our fancies.’
      • ‘According to another, the British are preternaturally blind to the merits of modern art.’
      • ‘During the fifty plus years of his working life he saw the reputation and value of the modern art he admired rise.’
      • ‘So the labels and the catalogue are of greater importance here than in an exhibition of more modern art.’
      fine art, artwork, creative activity
      View synonyms
    2. 1.2 Creative activity resulting in the production of paintings, drawings, or sculpture.
      ‘she's good at art’
      • ‘He first became interested in art while doing lino cuts and motion drawings in school.’
      • ‘Its activities include the provision of lunches and a wide range of leisure activities from art to yoga.’
      • ‘She had a real flair for art and did some brilliant drawings and paintings while she was here.’
      • ‘For all his inspiration, the artist still had to work at his art, and find people to buy it.’
      • ‘If an artist can stay humble and focus only on his art, he rises way beyond his talent and his craft.’
      • ‘This also makes them ideal for artists or art students seeking inspiration or affirmation.’
      • ‘This is undoubtedly an age of globalised art, in which artists routinely show in other countries.’
      • ‘Much of his work in stimulating art activities in the borough was carried out modestly and behind the scenes.’
      • ‘This event features a range of activities across art, music, dance and film-making.’
      • ‘We use art, poetry and prose so that visitors can feel and experience the beauty of nature.’
      • ‘The festival art competition will involve youngsters creating paintings or drawings.’
      • ‘There is already table tennis but centre workers would like more activities, such as art projects.’
      • ‘The pupils enjoyed stories, art activities and games and on Tuesday they enjoyed a Chinese meal.’
      • ‘Like Warhol, he began as a commercial artist and his art has its roots in advertising.’
      • ‘Unlike other prizes, the Turner does not attempt to award various categories of art or artists.’
      • ‘Its sub groups included clubs for activities like drama, art and crafts, and country dancing.’
      • ‘The context for the development of Sam Doyle's career is as interesting as the artist and his art.’
      • ‘This kind of art does little to inspire women to claim their independence, it is depressive.’
      • ‘After art school Moira taught art for a couple of years at the secondary school in Blackminster.’
      • ‘There are limits to what art can accomplish and to what it should presume to do.’
      • ‘Thirty of the dustmen are now being sent to modern art classes to try to ensure that the same mistake never happens again.’
  • 2the artsThe various branches of creative activity, such as painting, music, literature, and dance.

    ‘the visual arts’
    in singular ‘the art of photography’
    • ‘This is also true of newspaper critics who cover the arts, films, music, and books.’
    • ‘A key part of the project will be to explore and promote the relationship between science, technology and the arts.’
    • ‘Boys are less likely than girls to read and take part in music and the arts.’
    • ‘In any community, music and the arts are not seen as stable professions.’
    • ‘The charity will also concentrate on funding the arts through sponsorship of music, ballet, opera and film.’
    • ‘In the arts, literary and artistic canons are no longer restricted to the work of men.’
    • ‘Iqaluit is a step closer to having its own year-round centre for showcasing the arts and culture.’
    • ‘There'll be another free download next week - and more coverage of the best music and all the arts.’
    • ‘He said more time should be spent on music, the arts and reading to allow pupils to think in a less regimented way.’
    • ‘Of all the arts, music is the most often and most rigorously examined.’
    • ‘The focus of the magazine is basically on urban culture, spanning music, fashion and the arts.’
    • ‘The arts develop because of aptitude, talent, genius, hard work and serendipity.’
    • ‘The character loves the movies, loves the arts, loves music and it was a great way to incorporate that to make an original idea.’
    • ‘Outside medicine she loved the arts and literature and particularly classical music and opera.’
    • ‘Out of all the arts, it is dance which fetishises youth to the greatest degree.’
    • ‘His experience in brokering has influenced his way of viewing the arts, the art works and artists.’
    • ‘Writers would also like to see more subsidy for Scottish publishers, and for the arts and literature in general.’
    • ‘He was a talented man whose ability covered his politics, his academic work, the arts and music.’
    • ‘It is happening across the globe and in a hundred different corners of the arts and culture.’
    • ‘Ingram first became involved with music and the arts through the dance program at SFU.’
  • 3artsSubjects of study primarily concerned with the processes and products of human creativity and social life, such as languages, literature, and history (as contrasted with scientific or technical subjects)

    ‘the belief that the arts and sciences were incompatible’
    ‘the Faculty of Arts’
    • ‘I think my sensibilities were running more towards arts and humanities than math and science.’
    • ‘At school, she will excel at the arts subjects, and will also develop a love of literature.’
    • ‘We are here to write an essay and a poem for our arts and social sciences course.’
    • ‘So to do that I would use the example of my job, which is to run a writing course in an arts college.’
    • ‘There was a course covering all aspects of study including arts, science and mathematics.’
    • ‘He was her first and only boyfriend, just into his second year at Durham, where he was studying general arts.’
    • ‘It shocking to see how ignorant and dismissive of the arts scientists can be.’
    • ‘It strongly encourages research in the arts and in political studies in particular.’
    • ‘For their sixth option, they can take an arts courses or an extra science, language or humanity.’
    • ‘It thus encompasses in a unique way the arts, social sciences, and natural sciences.’
    • ‘These will focus on the teaching of technology, modern languages, arts and science.’
    • ‘The theme is York's environment, which takes in science, geography, history and arts topics.’
    • ‘Schoolteachers today are struggling to find time to fit arts subjects into a crowded national curriculum.’
    • ‘I am intending to study media and arts and fear for my future because of this lack of vision.’
    • ‘This should be a vital component in an arts and humanities education today.’
    • ‘It was after she had studied business and arts at college in Bangkok that McIntosh came to wider public prominence.’
    • ‘It was a similar story at Strathclyde University when I rang about its arts and social sciences course.’
    • ‘Looking ahead, construction will be completed on the new arts and humanities building by October.’
  • 4A skill at doing a specified thing, typically one acquired through practice.

    ‘the art of conversation’
    • ‘Tugay bossed the midfield after delivering a masterclass in the art of pass and move.’
    • ‘Used correctly, e-mail is a great asset but it's no substitute for the art of conversation.’
    • ‘At home, my wife, with her talent in designing, soon mastered the art of baking cakes.’
    • ‘He was often fingered as the source of government leaks and is skilful in the art of invisibility in times of trouble.’
    • ‘How important was the ability to practice the art of seduction for a modern spy?’
    • ‘We must thank the broadcasters for their renewed effort to revive the art of conversation.’
    • ‘When your schedule is as packed as mine you have to master the art of multitasking to get things done.’
    • ‘Lively conversation and anecdotes will abound as the duo discuss the art of writing for theatre.’
    • ‘Baby massage is an art, explained Archana Master as she gently massaged baby James.’
    • ‘This is part of the art of being a practitioner and can greatly influence the ability to heal the patient.’
    • ‘It's ironic, but it's mobile telephones that have killed the art of conversation.’
    • ‘Undisciplined as the narrative may appear, it is handled with the art which conceals art.’
    • ‘We all know card tricks are about the speed of the hand beating the eye but Daniel is an expert in the art.’
    • ‘Having been born with the gift of laughter, let us seriously learn the art of laughing.’
    • ‘No one knows for certain in what epoch the Arabs began to practice the art of balladry.’
    • ‘This used to be an art practised by waiters in posh restaurants right in front of the diner, and it was a joy to watch.’
    • ‘He has mastered the art of the interview, meaning very little is disclosed.’
    • ‘He reasons that if he is to take the job seriously he must master the art of getting good performances from actors.’
    • ‘If he's too late he'll sit and wait: for Max has mastered the art of queuing up.’
    • ‘It's quite an art actually; it's amazing the speed that some of these line managers can work at.’
    skill, craft, technique
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  • art for art's sake

    • Used to convey the idea that the chief or only aim of a work of art is the self-expression of the individual artist who creates it.

      • ‘It's an odd looking movie that embraces the idea of art for art's sake.’
      • ‘In a school setting, it's never art for art's sake.’
      • ‘These artists see the value of their productions as art for art's sake as well as revelations of the truth and presentation of possibilities for their listeners.’
      • ‘The great thing about being in Calgary, as opposed to L.A., is that you kind of do art for art's sake, and comedy for comedy's sake.’
      • ‘He understood best how to play the emotions, but his contemporaries are impatient with an aesthetic of art for art's sake.’
      • ‘The bourgeois or decadent notions of disinterested investigation, scepticism, art for art's sake and so on, had no place in Soviet Russia or, for that matter, Nazi Germany.’
      • ‘Ruskin's pre-Raphaelitism, for example, which stressed the moral purpose of art, contrasted Pater's aestheticism, which promoted the idea of art for art's sake.’
      • ‘What needs to be stressed is that neither Khlebnikov nor his fellow Futurist poets were making the case for art for art's sake, for a poetry divorced from its larger cultural import.’
      • ‘English cultural commentators have recently speculated that this hostility is more widespread, and that there is a deep historical and cultural resistance to the very idea of art for art's sake in Scotland.’
      • ‘Having criticized art for art's sake for being potentially reactionary, they then focus on the counterproposal they offer to socialist realism and Stalinism.’
  • art is long, life is short

    • proverb There is so much knowledge (or skill) to acquire that a lifetime is not sufficient.

      • ‘They can be summed up in such Latin expressions as: ars longa, vita brevis (art is long, life is short) ora pro scriptore (pray for the scribe) finis coronat opus (the end crowns the work) errare humanum est (to err is human) scriptori vita (long life to the scribe).’
      • ‘Goethe said that art is long, life is short.’
  • art of war

    • The strategy, tactics, and techniques of combat.

      • ‘The American Army came to favor the science of war over the art of war, resulting in a stiff adherence to principles and rules.’
      • ‘Eisenhower had read military history, including the works of the Prussian military intellectual Carl von Clausewitz, and had studied the art of war under the supervision of the leading American strategists.’
      • ‘We all need instruction; for the art of war, the primary forms of instruction are training, personal study, and hard-won experience.’
      • ‘They openly deprecated the principles of military science and art of war.’
      • ‘As one component of the art of war, tactics are but part of the whole; the complex, costly, and messy business of war must be seen in the round.’


Middle English: via Old French from Latin ars, art-.




Main definitions of art in English

: art1art2


  • archaic or dialect 2nd person singular present of be