Leo Tolstoy: The Definition Of Art

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What is Art?

"To evoke in oneself a feeling one has experienced, and…then, by means of movements, lines, colors, sounds or forms expressed in words, so to transmit that feeling—this is the activity of art" (Herman, "27 Responses to the Question 'What is Art"'). Russian author and philosopher Leo Tolstoy seems to perfectly sum up what it is the abstract word "art" truly means, or does he? The definition of the word art has been argued about since the word's origin, dating back to the 1800s, the word comes from the Latin "artem" meaning "practical skill; a business, craft"(Online Etymology Dictionary). However, this definition or translation is awfully vague. What I consider a skill or craft may not be either to you. It
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Edgar Degas, a French artist known for his paintings, sculptures, prints, and drawings, for instance, expressed, "Art is not what you see, but what you make others see" (ThoughtCo). Degas expresses that art is not about the artist themselves, but the audience. Artists, according to Degas, should be able to manipulate their audiences, they should be able to make them see what they would like them to, and feel what they would like them to. Robert Motherwell, an American painter, printmaker, and editor, shared his opinion as well, stating, "“Art is an experience, not an object" (Creative Business). Motherwell, similarly to Tolstoy, believes art should create feelings within its consumers, hence creating an experience for them. Motherwell agrees art should not just be something that sits there, but it should be something people see that invokes something within themselves. For the most part, it seems as though painters agree with Tolstoy, art should take an artist's emotions and through a creative and conscious way instill them in whoever witnesses the…show more content…
Dance utilizes movement to express emotion, unlike our previous art forms who express their emotions through a still image. Jenna Garecht of Huffington Post, a dancer and writer, shared her beliefs on the matter writing, "Dance is an art because with dance you are able to tell a story without using your mouth" (Garecht, Huffington Post). Garecht argues that dance is just as much art as painting or photography as it expresses emotions and tells a story like them without using vocals. In this way, dance does in fact fall under Tolstoy's definition of art, through their movement dancers and choreographers tell a story through motion and consciously make their watchers feel the emotions of the story. Judith Mackrell, writer for Encyclopedia Britannica, explored the argument herself and defined dance as, "the movement of the body in a rhythmic way, usually to music and within a given space, for the purpose of expressing an idea or emotion, releasing energy, or simply taking delight in the movement itself" (Mackrell, Britannica). Mackrell's definition of dance is very similar to Tolstoy's definition of art. Tolstoy states that art's purpose is to express an emotion in a conscious way, which is essentially how Mackrell defines dance. In modern day society, a majority of people can agree dance is an art because it makes us

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