What is Fine Art?

Church landscape painting
Van Gogh’s Church At Auvers, France by Teresa Bernard

Fine art is a visual expression or application of human creativity involving technical know-how (skill) and thinking of new things (imagination). Artists who create fine works of art do so primarily for aesthetic reasons, and they usually specialize in a specific type of art, such as painting or sculpture.

It is helpful to note that the word “fine” does not indicate the quality of the artwork but rather the discipline’s purity. In other words, creations considered as fine art include calligraphy, drawings, paintings, printmaking, and sculpture. It excludes applied art, decorative arts, and crafts. (See What are the Classifications of Art? for more information.)

Types of Fine Art

    • Drawings—chalk, charcoal, color wax pencil, crayon, graphite pencil, inked brush, marker, pen and ink, pastel, stylus, or various metals like silverpoint
    • Paintings—acrylic, aerosol paint, enamel, fresco, gouache, hot wax, inks, oils, pastel, tempera, or watercolor (For more information on the various styles of paintings see Know Your Art Painting Styles: 7 Most Popular)
    • Printmaking—engraving, etching, foil imaging, Giclée print, lithography, monoprint, monotype, screen-printing, stencil, or woodcut
    • Sculpture—clay, glass, metal, plastic, stone, or wood
    • Calligraphy—the art of beautiful handwriting or fancy lettering (See Calligraphy for more information.)

Fine Art Skills

The creation of fine artworks requires knowledge in art theory, design techniques, and adequate usage of the tools of the trade necessary for composition, design, and the creation of fine works of art. The skills required can be developed in a variety of ways. These include, but are not limited to:

    • Apprenticeships under other accomplished fine artists
    • Attending college courses at all levels
    • Attending workshops and classes conducted by other artists
    • Joining artists’ collectives
    • Studying the Old Masters and other works of art by modern-day artists

Creative Imagination

Creative thinking is the ability to form a mental image of new ideas or something that has not yet been thought of or beforehand experienced. It involves:

    • picturing within one’s mind familiar objects or concepts in a new light,
    • digging down beneath the surface to find previously unnoticed patterns, and
    • finding connections between seemingly unrelated attributes.

Additional Reading

What Is Art Appreciation?

Related Articles

Classification Of Fine Art Paintings By Genre

Know Your Art Painting Styles: 7 Most Popular

What Are The Classifications of Art?

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UPDATED: 26 October 2020

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