Fine art  

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Mona Lisa, or La Gioconda. (La Joconde), is a 16th century oil painting by Leonardo da Vinci, and is one of the most famous paintings in the world. It has acquired an iconic status in popular culture. In 1963, pop artist Andy Warhol started making colorful serigraph prints of the Mona Lisa. Warhol thus consecrated her as a modern icon, similar to Marilyn Monroe or Elvis Presley. At the same time, his use of a stencil process and crude colors implies a criticism of the debasement of aesthetic values in a society of mass production and mass consumption. Today the Mona Lisa is frequently reproduced, finding its way on to everything from carpets to mouse pads.
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Mona Lisa, or La Gioconda. (La Joconde), is a 16th century oil painting by Leonardo da Vinci, and is one of the most famous paintings in the world. It has acquired an iconic status in popular culture. In 1963, pop artist Andy Warhol started making colorful serigraph prints of the Mona Lisa. Warhol thus consecrated her as a modern icon, similar to Marilyn Monroe or Elvis Presley. At the same time, his use of a stencil process and crude colors implies a criticism of the debasement of aesthetic values in a society of mass production and mass consumption. Today the Mona Lisa is frequently reproduced, finding its way on to everything from carpets to mouse pads.

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The Birth of Venus (detail), a 1486 painting by Sandro Botticelli
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The Birth of Venus (detail), a 1486 painting by Sandro Botticelli

Fine art refers to arts that are "concerned with beauty or which appealed to taste" (SOED 1991). The term was first attested in 1767, as a translation from the French term beaux arts and designates a limited number of visual art forms, including painting, sculpture, architecture and printmaking. Schools, institutes, and other organizations still use the term to indicate a traditional perspective on the visual arts, often implying an association with classic or academic art.

The word "fine" does not so much denote the quality of the artwork in question, but the purity of the discipline. This definition tends to exclude visual art forms that could be considered craftwork or applied art, such as textiles. The more recent term visual arts is widely considered to be a more inclusive and descriptive phrase for today's variety of current art practices, and for the multitude of mediums in which high art is now more widely recognized to occur. Ultimately, the term fine in 'fine art' comes from the concept of Final Cause, or purpose, or end, in the philosophy of Aristotle.

An alternative, if flippant, reference to "fine art," is capital "A" art, or, art with a capital "A."

The term is still often used outside of the arts to denote when someone has perfected an activity to a very high level of skill. For example, one might metaphorically say that "Pelé took football to the level of a fine art."

That fine art is seen as being distinct from applied arts is largely the result of an issue raised in Britain by the conflict between the followers of the Arts and Crafts Movement, including William Morris, and the early modernists, including Virginia Woolf and the Bloomsbury Group. The former sought to bring socialist principles to bear on the arts by including the more commonplace crafts of the masses within the realm of the arts, while the modernists sought to keep artistic endeavour exclusive, esoteric, and elitist.

Confusion often occurs when people mistakenly refer to the Fine Arts but mean the Performing Arts (Music, Dance, Drama, etc). However, there is some disagreement here, as, for example, at York University, Fine Arts is a faculty that includes the "traditional" fine arts, design, and the "Performing Arts".

An academic course of study in fine art may include a Master of Fine Arts degree.

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Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Fine art" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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