The Meaning of the Word Art

In this paper I investigate how works of fine art differ from products of craft. I argue that historical and institutional definitions are incomplete becausethey fail to explain what is common to everything we call art. I then consider the way in which Francis J. Kovach and Jacques Maritain define art. I argue thatKovach’s four-fold division fails on logical grounds. Maritain’s division, however, makes the distinction between fine and useful art a matter of degree, not a division into separate species. This does reflect our use of the word art, and means that, when we call something a work of fine art, we are not designating it as part of a species. Rather we signify that it possesses a particular attribute which, in some way, belongs to every product of human making, but is more clearly present, or more attended to, in works of fine art
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DOI 10.5840/acpaproc20108421
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