What is Art?

Painting is poetry that is seen rather than felt, 

and poetry is a painting that is felt rather than seen. 

Leonardo da Vinci

Shashi Bhatt
Shashi Bhatt
Abstract photography

Art is a form of human expression that encompasses a wide range of mediums, including painting, sculpture, artifact, photography, and performance art. Art can be a means of self-expression, communication, or social commentary, and can be used to convey emotions, and ideas, or tell stories.

From a philosophical perspective, art can be seen as a way of exploring nature and human existence. It can be used as a tool for self-discovery, as well as a means of understanding and interpreting the world around us.

Art is also a representation of the human condition. As per Indian artist M.F. Husain, art should be a representation of society, and the artist’s personal experiences and should be accessible to all. The philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer believed that art is an expression of the will, the inner drive that motivates human behavior, and helps us to understand the fundamental nature of human existence. Similarly, the philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche believed that art is a means of self-overcoming, a way of transcending our limitations and reaching a higher level of consciousness. Another philosopher Martin Heidegger believed that art is a way of revealing the essence of things, of uncovering the deeper truths and meaning of our existence. Similarly, the philosopher Swami Vivekananda quoted that Art must be in touch with nature — and wherever that touch is gone, Art degenerates — yet it must be above nature. 

As per one of the most important contemporary artists in India, Nalini Malani, art should be engaged with the world, and be a medium for commenting on political, social, and feminist issues. 

Art can bring a wide range of benefits to an individual. Studies have shown that engaging in art, whether it be creating or viewing, can reduce stress and promote relaxation, improve cognitive function and social connections, increase self-esteem and self-awareness, and bring aesthetic enjoyment. Art can be used to enrich and improve one’s life, both emotionally and intellectually, and it has been shown to have positive effects on mental health and well-being. Additionally, it may also have therapeutic value for healing, personal growth, and self-discovery.

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