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What is art?

There is no universally accepted definition of art. Although commonly used to describe something of
beauty, or a skill which produces an aesthetic result, there is no clear line in principle between a unique
piece of handmade sculpture, and a mass-produced but visually attractive item.

“Art is created when an artist creates a beautiful object, or produces a stimulating experience that is
considered by his audience to have artistic merit.” This is simply a "working" definition: broad enough to
encompass most forms of contemporary art, but narrow enough to exclude "events" whose "artistic"
content falls below accepted levels. Pre-printed Notes

Definition of Art is Limited by Era and Culture

Another thing to be aware of, is the fact that art reflects and belongs to the period and culture from
which it is spawned.

Cultural differences also act as natural borders. After all, Western draughtsmanship is light years away
from Chinese calligraphy; and what Western artform compares with the art of origami paper folding
from Japan? Religion is a major cultural variable that alters the shape of the artistic envelope. The
Baroque style was strongly influenced by the Catholic Counter-Reformation, while Islamic art (like
Orthodox Christianity), forbids certain types of artistic iconography.

Classical Meaning of Art

The original classical definition - derived from the Latin word "ars" (meaning "skill" or "craft") - is a
useful starting point. This broad approach leads to art being defined as: "the product of a body of
knowledge, most often using a set of skills." Thus Renaissance painters and sculptors were viewed
merely as highly skilled artisans (interior-decorators?). No wonder Leonardo Da Vinci and Michelangelo
went to such efforts to elevate the status of artists (and by implication art itself) onto a more intellectual

Post-Renaissance Meaning of Art

The emergence of the great European academies of art reflected the gradual upgrading of the subject.
New and enlightened branches of philosophy also contributed to this change of image. By the mid-18th
century, the mere demonstration of technical skills was insufficient to qualify as art - it now needed an
"aesthetic" component - it had to be seen as something "beautiful."

At the same time, the concept of "utilitarianism" (functionality or usefulness) was used to distinguish
the more noble "fine arts" (art for art's sake), like painting and sculpture, from the lesser forms of
"applied art", such as crafts and commercial design work, and the ornamental "decorative arts", like
textile design and interior design.

Meaning of Art During the Early 20th Century

Then came Cubism (1907-14), which rocked the fine arts establishment to its foundations. Not simply
because Picasso introduced a non-naturalistic branch of painting and sculpture, but because it shattered
the monotheistic Renaissance approach to how art related to the world around it. Thus, Cubism's main
contribution was to act as a sort of catalyst for a host of new movements which greatly expanded the
theory and practice of art, such as: Suprematism, Constructivism, Dada, Neo-Plasticism, Surrealism and
Conceptualism, as well as various realist styles, such as Social and Socialist Realism. In practice, this
proliferation of new styles and artistic techniques led to a new broadening of the meaning and definition
of art. In its escape from its "Renaissance straitjacket", and all the associated rules concerning
"objectivity" (eg. on perspective, useable materials, content, composition, and so on), fine art now
boasted a significant element of "subjectivity". Artists suddenly found themselves with far greater
freedom to create paintings and sculpture according to their own subjective values. In fact, one might
say that from this point "art" started to become "indefinable".


Beautiful Sensation

Experience Artwork

Artist Audience

Definitions of Art by some artists

Art may be characterized in terms of mimesis (its representation of reality), narrative (storytelling),
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".

- 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.

Art is a discovery and development of elementary principles of nature into beautiful forms suitable for
human use.

- Frank Lloyd Wright, writing in 1957, as cited in Frank Lloyd Wright on Architecture, Nature, and the
Human Spirit: A Collection of Quotations

Important criteria of Art

- Integrity –

- Proportion/Consonance –

- Radiance/Clarity –

•Amorsolo observed people planting rice as their daily activity.


•he imagined himself engaging in those activities, and telling how hard it is to be a farmer.


•he painted the "Planting Rice" painting to showendurance, hardwork and lifestyle of Filipinos.


Five Functions of ART

There are five common functions of ART: Personal, Physical, Social, Educational, and Political.

1. Personal Function – to express personal feelings.

2. Social Function – to enforce and enhance the shared sense of identity of those in family, community,
or civilization. (this includes festive occasions, parades, dances, uniforms, holidays and events.

3. Spiritual Function – to express spiritual beliefs about the destiny of life controlled by the force of a
higher power.

4. Educational – symbols and signs to illustrate knowledge not given in words.

5. Political – to reinforce and enhance a sense of identity and ideological connection specific political
views, parties and/or people.


Evolution of art through history

Egyptian Art (c. 3000 BCE – 350 BCE)

“Man fears time, time fears the pyramids,” wrote the Greek historian Herodotus about

Ancient Egypt. Concerned with immortality, Egyptian culture was centered on death and the afterlife.
The Ancient Egyptians made art for their gods and goddesses, monarchs, and the dead for their journey
to the afterlife. The Egyptians wanted to ensure that their family members and loved ones were
provided for in the afterlife.Tombs in Egypt were elaborately decorated with hieroglyphics carved and
painted onto the walls. Statues, pottery, jewelry, and paintings were also used to decorate the insides of

Greek Art (c. 900 BCE – 30 BCE)

Greek art and ideas are so interwoven in Western culture that we often do not realize they were
conceived almost 3,000 years ago. Nude figures, idealized human forms, and classical architecture
originated in ancient Greece. However, the Greeks gave credit where credit was due when borrowing
ideas and skills from earlier civilizations, including the Egyptians. Myths, athletic competitions,
symposiums, idealized nude figures, funerals, and religious ceremonies were depicted in ancient Greek
art as a way of celebrating humanity.

Roman Art (c. 500 BCE – 400 CE)

With the rise of Rome, the Western world saw the largest empire yet. The multicultural society of the

Roman Empire is, of all the ancient civilizations, the one that most resembles today’s world. Some
similarities can be seen in our global perspective, roadways, and the United States’ judicial system.
Roman art and architecture spread throughout Europe, Africa, and the Middle East. The Romans initially
imitated the Greeks in many genres of art, but eventually they developed their own distinctive style. For
example, Roman sculpture focused on the realistic aspects of a person’s appearance, whereas the
earlier Greeks had focused on the idealized human form.

Chinese Art (c. 202 BCE – 220 CE)

The Han Dynasty was a golden age for China, and the prosperity enjoyed during this time was reflected
in Chinese technology and art. The Han Dynasty ran successfully for more than four centuries and was
comparable in power and size to the Roman Empire. Important technologies, such as papermaking and
the beginnings of the Silk Road, characterized The Han Dynasty. The fortifications that would later be
the Great Wall were also built.

Art proliferates in stable and prosperous societies like the one established by the Han Dynasty. Chinese
people used low relief sculptures and paint to decorate tombs. Stone panels, such as these seen here
were used to mark tomb entrances.

Indian Art (Unspecified date)

The art of India is influenced by religion and philosophy. India is a country in which three of the world’s
major religions, Hinduism, Buddhism, and Islam, are practiced, which influences the art of the region.
This Hindu sculpture depicts the god Shiva and his companion or consort, Parvati, dancing. Shiva, a
major deity in Hindu religion, is the god of both destruction and rejuvenation. When Shiva and Parvati
are shown together, they symbolize the blessing of marital happiness and unity. How does dancing still
hold significance and meaning in our lives today?

Romanesque (c. 1000 CE – 1200 CE)

During the Middle Ages, art focused on glorifying God, and architecture reigned as the most important
art form. Since architecture at this time used Roman elements, it was given the name Romanesque.
Romanesque churches were laid out in the shape of a cross, the exterior was relatively plain, and the
inside was dark since there were few windows.

Romanesque art portrayed figures differently from the classical styles used in Roman art. While classical
figures depicted the human form realistically, Romanesque figures and clothing were more stylized.
Christ displays characteristics of a Romanesque figure with his feet pointed downward and his arms and
legs arranged angularly. Sculpture in-the-round, or sculpture that could be seen from all sides, appeared
in the Romanesque period for the first time since the end of the Roman Empire.

Gothic Art (c. 1100 CE – 1300 CE)

Gothic art grew out of Romanesque art. Art still held an important teaching purpose, but clergy wanted
to make God’s glory more tangible. New ideas and money from the community led to architectural
changes in the building of churches, such as adding height and windows to the structures. The wide
open and brightly lit spaces of these buildings became symbols of the divine.

Renaissance (c. 1400 CE – 1600 CE)

As the Middle Ages drew to a close, Christianity still remained an important part of Renaissance life. The
male nude was a common motif most often used in religious context, but the focus on subjects in art
turned from the heavenly to the human. The Renaissance began with a shift of power from the old
aristocratic families towards the wealthier middle class, whose wealth allowed their pursuit of beauty
and religiosity through art.

At this time, art was considered a craft learned in workshops and studios where apprentices trained to
paint in the style of a master. They learned to use linear perspective, a mathematical technique used to
create an illusion of receding space on painting surfaces, giving art more dimensions.

Baroque (c. 1600 CE – 1700 CE)

The Baroque style is described as emotional, realistic, and dynamic. Baroque painters saw a canvas as a
stage where they painted dramatically.

Baroque paintings are full of movement, exuberant colors, and dramatic contrast of light and dark.
Artists worked hard to manipulate their medium to achieve a realistic effect in their art. Subjects were
viewed as participants or actors chosen by the artist on a stage that extended beyond the canvas.

The Protestant Reformation led to more secular art as seen in the Baroque era portraits and landscapes,
but the Counter Reformation, led by the Roman Catholic Church, utilized art as a way to inspire renewed
faith. Art commissioned by the Church portrayed grievously tortured heretics paying for their sins and
the passionate lives of saints living in heavenly bliss.

Rococo (c. 1700 CE – 1776 CE)

Unlike the serious, heavy-looking Baroque style, Rococo was a decorative, elaborate art most often seen
in French architecture and sculpture. Painting was often considered frivolous-looking and characterized
by fluidity, curving lines, and lustrous colors. Favorite subjects for Rococo artists were the courtly
lifestyles and playful love lives of the aristocracy. Drouais, the most prominent portraitist of his time,
was the private artist of King Louis XV of France and a favorite of the king’s mistress.

Neo-Classicism (c. 1780 CE – 1820 CE)

Neoclassicism changed art techniques as well. Though they continued contrasting light and dark colors
in a way similar to Baroque artists, Neoclassicists stopped using vibrant color and busy compositions.
Instead, they focused on line and symmetry, using formulas of set proportions and exact perspective.
These techniques generated a more uniform, ideal work of art.
Romanticism (c. 1800 CE – 1850 CE)

In a world where discovery fueled an emphasis on rationality, Romanticists rejected such Enlightenment
ideas to focus on emotional experiences. Instead of looking to the past for universal themes, as in
Neoclassicism, Romantic artists looked at the world around them. PHINMA Education Network In
general, Romantic art focused on contemporary events rather than ancient ones. Industrialization
changed the city environment and gave some men a new sense of control. Romanticists, however,
sought to remind their audiences of nature’s enduring and unpredictable power. They often replaced
human subjects with nature as the focus of their art, constructing beautiful, powerful, and occasionally
alarming scenes from their own countryside.

Realism (c. 1850 CE -1900 CE)

Consider what the word “real” means to you. Many works of art not classified as Realist look very
realistic, yet only some of this art is labeled as such.

Impressionism (c. 1860 CE – 1886 CE)

If you were an artist and your art was the only means of capturing a scene, what would you do if
someone else developed a faster, more accurate way to do this? Photography was invented at the end
of the 1820s, and by the 1860s photographs were in high demand.

In France, a group of artists reacted to photography and other technological advancements in a way that
revolutionized the painter’s technique. Impressionists left their studios to paint scenes en plein air, or in
the outdoors. If photography had successfully captured an image in time, then Impressionists sought to
capture something else: light’s effect on the figures and scenery around them.

By applying paint directly to the canvas in short, heavy brushstrokes of color, Impressionists expressed
how light and movement changed the optical impression of a scene. The colors combined to form an
image recognizable to the eye while individually expressing light’s movement over the setting.
Impressionists often also painted the same view more than once a day to capture the way light changed
as the sun moved across the sky.

Fauvism (c. 1904 CE – 1908 CE)

The first of the avant-garde movements to apply new, innovative concepts to art, Fauvism took the
colors used by Impressionists and intensified them. Their paint came straight from the tube and was
undiluted. Colors were unrealistic; a Fauve painting might include blue trees or a yellow sky. The Fauves
used these colors to express their emotions about their subjects.

Some critics scorned this new style, and one even called the artists “Fauves” or “wild beasts.” This style
was at its height from 1905 to 1908, when many artists turned to Cubism’s logic to escape the unruly
emotions of the Fauves. For most artists, Fauvism was an experimental learning tool. Many of the
Fauves, including André Lhote, painted in other styles as well.

Cubism (c. 1908 CE – 1914 CE)

Moving away from the emotion of Fauvism, Cubists sought to logically abstract their surroundings.
Influenced by the style and distortion of African art, Pablo Picasso and Georges Braque began working in
the Cubist style around 1906, and the style remained popular among artists for several decades. Cubists
broke their subjects into geometric forms and used multiple vantage points to emphasize the two-
dimensionality of the canvas.

Of the two types of Cubism, Analytic was much more abstract, reducing figures to unidentifiable shapes
and relying an almost monochromatic color scheme. Synthetic Cubism also used multiple vantage
points. However, subjects were more recognizable, though simplified, and color was returned. Artists
did not limit themselves to just paintings and drawings, and Cubist sculpture emerged, following the
same principles. The influences of Cubism were far-reaching, affecting much of art in the 1900s.
PHINMA Education Network Teacher/Facilitator’s Guide NAME: Surrealism (c. 1921 CE -1942 CE)

Dreams and subconscious thoughts fascinated artists of the Surrealist movement. Surrealism originated
in the early 1920s as a literary movement based on the writings of poet André Breton. Influenced by the
psychological theories and dream studies of psychoanalyst Sigmund Freud, Surrealists sought to release
all inhibitions and express the subconscious in dreamscapes.

Visual artists took two different routes when depicting the theories of Breton and Freud.

Some artists, like Stella Snead, used realistic techniques to mimic hallucinatory dreams. Others, such as
Joán Miró, attempted to banish all conscious control in order to explore the unconscious. Surrealist art
such as Miró’s appears whimsical due to its improvised nature. The horrors of World Wars I and II and
the Great Depression of the 1930’s impacted both Miró and Snead, even though the paintings shown
here were made decades after these events. By emphasizing the subconscious in their art, these artists
may have found and provided a diversion from these and other difficult times.

Abstract Expressionism (c. 1946 CE – 1960 CE)

Shortly after World War II, New York City became the center of attention in the art world. The hard
times of the Depression and the war led artists such as

Norman Bluhm, a former fighter pilot, away from traditional ideas and the artistic styles associated with
them. The Surrealist themes of the subconscious and various Post-Impressionist movements made an
impact on these American painters.

Artists used two different routes to express their concerns with human irrationality and vulnerability:
Action Painting and Color Fields. Action Paintings, such as those by Norman Bluhm, involved dynamic
movement on the artist’s part. Art critic Harold Rosenberg compared the canvas of an Action Painting to
an arena in which a movement takes place. Rather than reproduce an actual or imagined object, Action
Painters expressed the feeling of a particular moment. Artists used paint to record their impassioned
movements. “What was to go on the canvas,” Rosenberg observed in an essay entitled “The American
Action Painters” published in 1952, “was not a picture but an event.”

Pop Art (c. 1950s CE - 1960s CE)

“Popular; Transient; Expendable; Low Cost; Mass Produced; Young; Witty; Sexy; Gimmicky; Glamorous;
and Big Business,” wrote artist Richard Hamilton in a letter dated January 26, 1957, outlining his
definition of Pop Art.
This quote from one of the movement’s forerunners aptly describes Pop Art. Satirical observers of
contemporary culture,. Although their individual styles and techniques varied, together their art
revealed American values and obsessions during the 1960s.

The movement rose to popularity unlike any other movement. The trendy look and familiar subject
matter made Pop Art easy to like. Artists used contemporary images, such as food product labels and
celebrity photographs, and mass-production techniques to voice political and social commentary. They
were interested in advertising, consumer products, television, magazines, and comics.

Neo-Expressionism (c. 1980s CE)

By the end of the 1970s a movement emerged that threw out the cool ideas of Minimalism and
embraced the impassioned emotions of Expressionism (a German art movement of the early 1900s).
Neo-Expressionism resurrected what Minimalism attempted to kill. In an essay cataloging her work at
the Danforth Museum in 2005, Joan Snyder, artist of Lady Labyrinth, proclaimed, “At the height of the
Pop and Minimal movements, we were making…art that was personal, autobiographical, expressionistic,
narrative and political.” While Minimalism attempted to strip away personal feelings, autobiographical
content became a hot subject .


Pre-printed Notes

Are there good art and bad art?

Objectivism and Subjectivism

Objectivism is the idea that value can be applied to art, in other words, some arts are good and some
arts are bad. Objectivists have a fairly strict definition of what constitutes art, regarding it as something
that has been produced after a demanding process. First, art is generally a preserve of an individual who
has received training. This person – the artist – then develops a concept, applies his or her technical
skills, and produces an end-product. This product can be judged according to how well-conceived it is, its
level of originality, and technical skills employed to create it. To judge whether a work of art is any good,
ask the following questions:

Does it express successfully what it’s intending to express?

Does it show confident brush strokes?

Did it utilize the elements such as balance and harmony?

Is its function clear and evident, rather than vague and indistinct?

Subjectivism sees art rather differently. Subjectivists argue that a broader definition of art is necessary,
and a training is not a necessity. For strict subjectivists, almost everything can be regarded as art, as the
most important element in the process of artistic expression is the role of the viewer or the audience. In
other words, if we feel something as we look at a bag of rubbish arranged in a gallery, it is art.

Does it amaze you in a different way each time you look at it?

Does its visual impact of mysterious, pure power increase every day?

Is it unforgettable?


The elements of art are visual tools that the artist uses to create a composition. These are:

1. Line

2. Shape

3. Color

4. Value

5. Form

6. Texture

7. Space

Pre-printed Notes

1. Line – An element of art defined by a point moving in space. Line may be two-or three-dimensional,
descriptive, implied, or abstract.

2. Shape – An element of art that is two-dimensional, flat, or limited to height and width.

3. Color – An element of art made up of three properties: hue, value, and intensity.

a. Hue: name of color

b. Value: hue’s lightness and darkness (a color’s value changes when white or black is added)

c. Intensity: quality of brightness and purity (high intensity= color is strong and bright; low intensity=
color is faint and dull)
4. Value – The lightness or darkness of tones or colors. White is the lightest value; black is the darkest.
The value halfway between these extremes is called middle gray.

5. Form – An element of art that is three-dimensional and encloses volume; includes height, width AND
depth (as in a cube, a sphere, a pyramid, or a cylinder). Form may also be free flowing.

6. Texture – An element of art that refers to the way things feel, or look as if they might feel if touched.

7. Space – An element of art by which positive and negative areas are defined or a sense of depth
achieved in a work of art .


The principles of art represents how the artist uses the elements of art to create an effect to help
convey the artist’s intent.

7 principles of art and design

1. Balance

a. Symmetry

b. Asymmetry

c. Radial Symmetry

2. Contrast

3. Emphasis

4. Movement

5. Gradation

6. Rhythm

7. Harmony

8. Unity/Variety

Pre-printed Notes

1. Balance – A principle of design that indicates movement, created by the careful placement of
repeated elements in a work of art to cause a visual tempo or beat.

a. Symmetry – it is when an image has equal visual weights on both sides.

b. Asymmetry – it is when the composition or image has unequal visual weight from each side.

2. Emphasis – A way of combining elements to stress the differences between those elements.

3. Movement – A principle of design used to create the look and feeling of action and to guide the
viewer’s eye throughout the work of art.

4. Gradation – A way of combining elements by using a series of gradual changes in those elements.
(large shapes to small shapes, dark hue to light hue, etc)

5. Rhythm – A principle of design that indicates movement, created by the careful placement of
repeated elements in a work of art to cause a visual tempo or beat.

6. Harmony – A way of combining similar elements in an artwork to accent their similarities (achieved
through use of repetitions and subtle gradual changes)

7. Unity/Variety – A principle of design concerned with diversity or contrast. Variety is achieved by using
different shapes, sizes, and/or colors in a work of art.


National Artists

The Order of National Artists (Orden ng Pambansang Alagad ng Sining) is the highest national
recognition given to Filipino individuals who have made significant contributions to the development of
Philippine arts; namely, Music, Dance, Theater, Visual Arts, Literature, Film, Broadcast Arts, and
Architecture and Allied Arts. The order is jointly administered by the National Commission for Culture
and the Arts (NCCA) and the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP) and conferred by the President of
the Philippines upon recommendation by both institutions. PHINMA Education Network
Teacher/Facilitator’s Guide NAME: ________________________________________________ Art
Appreciation (ART 001) Course and year level_____________ [Day/Session #8]

Pre-printed Notes

Criteria to be a National Artist

Nominations for National Artist of the Philippines are based on a broad criteria, as set forth by the
Cultural Center of the Philippines and the National Commission on Culture and the Arts:

1. Living artists who have been Filipino citizens for the last ten years prior to nomination as well as those
who have died after the establishment of the award in 1972 but were Filipino citizens at the time of
their death;
2. Artists who have helped build a Filipino sense of nationhood through the content and form of their

3. Artists who have distinguished themselves by pioneering in a mode of creative expression or style,
making an impact on succeeding generations of artists;

4. Artists who have created a significant body of works and/or have consistently displayed excellence in
the practice of their art form, enriching artistic expression or style; and

5. Artists who enjoy broad acceptance through prestigious national and/or international recognition,
awards in prestigious national and/or international events, critical acclaim and/or reviews of their
works, and/or respect and esteem from peers within an artistic discipline.

Nominations are then submitted to the National Artist Secretariat that is created by the National Artist
Award Committee; experts from the different art fields then sit on a First Deliberation to prepare the
short list of nominees. A Second Deliberation, which is a joint meeting of the Commissioners of the
NCCA and the Board of Trustees of the CCP, decides on the final nominees. The list is then forwarded to
the President of the Philippines, who, by Presidential Proclamation, proclaims the final nominees as
members of the Order of National Artists.

List of National Artists of the Date of Award Category

Philippines Awardee

1. Fernando Amorsolo (++) 1972 Painting

2. Francisca R. Aquino (+) 1973 Dance

3. Carlos V. Francisco (++) 1973 Painting

4. Amado V. Hernandez (++) 1973 Literature

5. Antonio J. Molina (+) 1973 Music

6. Juan F. Nakpil (+) 1973 Architecture

7. Guillermo E. Tolentino (+) 1973 Sculpture

8. Jose Garcia Villa (+) 1973 Literature

9. Napoleon V. Abueva 1976 Sculpture

10. Lamberto V. Avellana (+) 1976 Theater and Film

11. Leonor O. Goquingco (+) 1976 Dance

12. Nick Joaquin (+) 1976 Literature


Art Curators

Art curators have an eye and passion for staging artwork in a way that creates interest in an art

To be an art curator requires multi-tasking as the job entails being responsible for a museum's
collection, selecting art to be displayed in a museum, organizing art exhibitions in galleries or public
spaces, researching artists, plus writing catalogue essays.

Art museum curators work with art collections and exhibitions in an art museum.

Art Collectors

“Someone who has a passion for art could become a collector. One has to live with art to understand it
and eventually it becomes a part of your personality. The collection grows with the person. You should
only collect what you like and judge what the work stands for. There are still no artists who have the
caliber of the masters of the yesteryears. Our younger generations need to be exposed to artwork.” –