A Definition of Art

In today's world, one might feel that we live in a decadent pop age, where the words "art" and "artist" have become commonplace and meaningless. So I felt it necessary to attempt a possible definition of true art, which might inspire others to create better ones.

"Aesthetic quality" will hereby refer to the assessed overall impression of a non/physical object to the human senses, including the mind and soul - as such a mathematical function over all perceivable objects. "Aesthetic change" will refer to a positive/negative change in aesthetic quality. A positive change will be referred to as "creation" and negative change as "destruction". A sequence of such changes will be referred to as a "creative process".

A "true human artwork" is the result of a human creative process, meant to be perceived by one or more of the human senses, created in such a way that it seems to be a well-above average - or even superhuman - feat to a large enough portion of a diverse enough set of human observers, sufficiently representative of the full human population in existence. These human observers must appraise the aesthetic quality of the result deep inside their soul, with their inherent aesthetic sense. A human artwork must also especially evoke the aesthetic appreciation of creators in the same sensory type (eg. hearing), who have achieved other such feats as perceived by other diverse observers and creators. The set of all human artworks is "Human Art". Those creating human artworks, are the "human artists". Human Art is not equivalent to mere human creation, but is a higher and more special form of it. Destruction is not creation but the opposite of it, so nothing achieved via destruction, may become a true artwork.

The above definitions are hereditary in the following sense: Humans are born and die in a way that the population of past and future artists is intertwined. Thus the legacy and knowledge of past artists carries on, develops, and evolves towards higher and higher levels, even if decadence occurs in certain parts of the set of Human Art. Furthermore, members of the current set of human artists, may inspire observers to learn and practise, and through their inherent aesthetic sense, attempt to create human artworks themselves. So the hitherto observer, may recognize her/his potential via being inspired by other artists, utilizing their legacy for self-actualization. It is very much possible that all humans are born with the potential for any artistic ability, which may be awakened by a potent moment of inspiration.

Art can be created by both lower (eg. bee dance or bird mating dance) and higher (eg. alien) species. If the lower/higher species is called A, then the word "human" should be replaced with A in the above definitions, in order to get a corresponding definition for the "Art of species A". From above, it follows that the majority of a species' population must possess an inherent aesthetic appraising ability (eg. to select the best mate). However, a higher species may consider the creation of a (possibly) instinctively creating lower species, as Art. As a consequence, less evolved species such as chimpanzees, birds, or even ants may possess sufficient aesthetic sense to have their own Art, or they create Art partly unknowingly, as appraised by higher species. Species may well be capable of appreciating the art of both lower and higher species, often marveling the former and not fully comprehending the latter.

The highest form of Art, is that of the Creator of All - God - who is the highest species. Therefore the All is the greatest piece of Art ever created.

Since each human contains only a portion of God's supreme aesthetic sense, we only collectively may add up and average our individual aesthetic senses, to approximate that of God statistically. We approach God's aesthetic limit gradually via our collective artistic evolution. Indeed we may have an abstract upper complexity limit in our artistic abilities, beyond which no human(s) can go, either alone or collaboratively. The art beyond that limit may be termed "high art".

This definition of Art above is a practical and approximate one. In fact there is a perfectly accurate - theoretical - definition. "True Art" is any creation of a species which appeals to the aesthetic sense of God. Since any member of any certain species possesses only a certain portion of God's supreme aesthetic sense, they can only collectively and statistically assess and create True Art. Thus True Art is necessarily divine, and only God's Art is perfectly true.

As Michelangelo said:
"The true work of Art, is but a shadow of the Divine Perfection."
So in a sense, what we individual humans perceive as likely "True Art", is appraised with only a small portion - "a shadow" - of God's aesthetic sense.

The above definitions all sprang from the term "creation", so we might say that "true Art" was defined above within the creative realm, and the term "true" should be included before each term. We must also note, that there are indeed analogies for the above definitions within the realm of "destruction". Let us call the art of that realm "untrue art" - not that it is any less valid for us to make than "true art". At the core of those definitions, will be the aesthetic sense of the supreme entity which enjoys destruction - and thus untrue art - the Devil. Just as the Universe is the battleground of God and the Devil, and just as we humans carry both good and evil within us, we have a natural affinity for both true and untrue art, so we have both a portion of God's and the Devil's aesthetic sense within us. Therefore, our art is a mixture of true and untrue art, and we individual humans being both good and evil, create such works by our nature. In fact, even the making of a single artwork, involves lapsing into the true and untrue realms. Low-quality and decadent art may be considered a form of untrue art. Some people balance their aesthetic more towards the true than the untrue, and vice versa. The most untrue form of art is what could be called "low art" (unrelated to "low brow"), at the opposite end of the spectrum to "high art". Few artists - if any - make exclusively true (or untrue) art.

The Artistic Creative Process of an Artwork

[1] The Meaning of Art as Viewed by Various Philosophers
[2] The Definition of Art