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Nadya Restu Telaumbanua

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Definitions of Art

Art has been variously defined as imitation or representation ( Plato 1955) as a medium for

the transmission of feelings (Tolstoy 1995). Morris Weitz (1956) argues that artworks are united

by a web of family resemblances, not by the kind of essence sought by a real definition. Weitz say

that when we look and see, we do not find any property common to all artworks. Something is art

if it meets a sufficient number of art-relevant criteria, none of which necessarily satisfied by all

works of art. (Gaut 2000, Dutton 2006)

(Dickie 1974) analyzes ‘work of art’ as: 1. An artifact, 2. A set of the aspects of which has

had conferred upon it the status of candidate for appreciation by some or persons acting on behalf

of the Artworld. The social character of art revised in 1984: 1. An artist is a person who participates

with understanding in the making of an artwork, 2. A work of art is an artifact of a kind created to

be presented to an Artworld public, 3. A public is a set of persons the members of which are

prepared in some degree to understand an object which is presented to them, 4. The Artworld is

the totality of all Artworld systems, 5. An Artworld system is a framework for the presentation of

a work of art by an artist to an Artworld public.

When it come to the defining relation in which art now stands to art past, most theorist

agree that it can display these various forms: reference, repetition, amplification, or repudiation.

According to Jerrold Levinson (1979, 1989, 1993, 2002) something is art if it is intended for regard

in one of the ways in which prior artworks have correctly ben regarded.
Arthur Danto (1997:195) has suggested that a work of art is to be about something and to

embody its meaning. Something can be art without fullfilling one of art’s functions; for works

produced in central art forms, such as poetry, painting, and music, the intention to fullfill is

sufficient. Art of the present relates to art of the past in terms of the historical connectedness of

the changing functions they serve, or are intended to serve.

Progress in analyzing art’s nature is likely to demand of philosophers closer attention to

the wider social setting in which art is produced and received, and a greater sensitivity to the variety

of such settings, many of which fall outside the ambit of the Artworld of ‘high’ western art.