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This article is about the general concept of art. For the group of creative disciplines, see The arts. For other uses, see Art (disambiguation).

Art is a diverse range of human activities and the products of those activities, usually involving imaginative or technical skill. In their most general form these activities include the production of works of art, the criticism of art, the study of the history of art, and the aesthetic dissemination of art. 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 usually are not in 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. In modern usage after the 17th century, where aesthetic considerations are paramount, the fine arts are separated and distinguished from acquired skills in general, such as the decorative or applied arts.

Art may be characterized in terms of mimesis (its representation of reality), expression, communication of emotion, or other qualities. 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 imaginative or technical skill stemming from human agency and creation.

The nature of art, and related concepts such as creativity and interpretation, are explored in a branch of philosophy known as aesthetics.

^ "Art, n. 1". OED Online. December 2011. Oxford University Press. http://www.oed.com. (Accessed 26 February 2012.); "Definition of art". Oxford Dictionaries. Retrieved 1 January 2013. ^ Gombrich, Ernst. (2005). "Press statement on The Story of Art". The Gombrich Archive. Archived from the original on 6 October 2008. Retrieved 18 November 2008. ^ Stephen Davies (1991). Definition of Art. Cornell University Press. ISBN 978-0-8014-9794-0. ^ Robert Stecker (1997). Artworks: Definition, Meaning, Value. Pennsylvania State University Press. ISBN 978-0-271-01596-5. ^ Noël Carroll, ed. (2000). Theories of Art Today. University of Wisconsin Press. ISBN 978-0-299-16354-9. ^ What Is Art?^ "art". Encyclopedia Britannica. ^ Kennick, William ed, and W. E. Kennick, Art and philosophy : readings in aesthetics New York: St. Martin's Press, 1979, pp. xi–xiii. ISBN 0-312-05391-6.

Creative art and fine art[edit]