Fine Arts

What are the Fine Arts?

The Fine Arts refer to the main forms of artistic realization or aesthetic representation historically cultivated by humanity and considered “pure” forms of art that use different techniques, materials, and procedures. Each of the seven, however, encompasses a multitude of recognized practices, styles, and trends.

These arts are traditionally part of the lasting and transcendental elements of humanity: those considered worthy of a central place in high culture, both as documents or testimonials of an era, a way of feeling, or as symbols that concern a specific conception of the world and of existence.

Traditionally, six forms of Fine Arts are recognized: painting, music, literature, dance, and sculpture. Later the cinema (the seventh art), the architecture and the graphic narrative or sequential art (the ninth art) were added.

It must be said that the concept of Fine Arts is linked to the idea of the museum and historical art, and not so much of contemporary art, which has put in check or questioning that concept. Nowadays, art is viewed from different perspectives, given that the traditional notion of Fine Arts has often been accused of being ethnocentric (privileging the European conception of art) and culturally exclusive.

History of Fine Arts

The ancient Greeks studied the artistic representation (especially Aristotle) and understood it in two opposable categories: the superior and the minor. The first was higher, poetically powerful and transcendental, while the latter was more vulgar and simple. This distinction was supposed from the senses used to perceive beauty (sight and hearing were the superior senses).

However, the term Fine Arts were used properly from the eighteenth century to group the artistic practices valued at the time and try to unify the many theories about beauty, style or taste. Declamation and oratory were included among them, but they were replaced in time.

How are the Fine Arts classified?

The classic division of Fine Arts is established from the materials you use and the way you use them, as follows:

Architecture. Use the various construction materials to make homes, buildings and urban spaces that are beautiful and functional, aesthetic and livable at the same time.
Dance. It uses the human body and the musical rhythm as a form of expression of artistic content.
Sculpture. Use the stone, clay or various solid materials to achieve three-dimensional artistic representations, whether figurative or abstract.
Painting. It uses pigments obtained from various natural and artificial sources, to aesthetically represent reality through color and shapes on canvases and other surfaces.
Music. Through diverse instruments constructed by the human being, it seeks to reach beauty through rhythms, melodies, and harmonically orchestrated sounds to elicit an aesthetic experience in listening.
Literature. Using language as raw material, he composes stories, theatrical representations or poetic descriptions that can then be read and enjoyed aesthetically.
Film. Using complex technical instruments, it captures light, sound and time itself in sequences of simulated or real events that make up a story, a discourse or an audiovisual representation of reality.

Characteristics of Fine Arts

The Fine Arts are diverse among themselves, but they suppose a uniform set of characteristics:

They aspire to beauty. In any way and through the techniques and materials that are, but the Fine Arts seek to communicate a specific experience of the beautiful, the harmonious, the transcendent or the profound.
They are universal. In principle, works of art should be appreciable by all mankind, regardless of the particularities of their origin, religion or sex.
They are durable. Works of art should last over time and be able to communicate their content to future generations, whether in museums, reproductions or specialized media for this.