Reading Comprehension - What is Art?

Develop your reading skills. Read the following text about summer and do the comprehension questions

What is art?

Art-portrait-collage 2

Art refers to a diverse range of human activities in creating visual, auditory or performing artifacts. These artworks express the author's imaginative or technical skill. Art is intended to be appreciated for its beauty or emotional power. In their most general form these activities include the production of works of art, the criticism of art, the study of the history of art, and the aesthetic dissemination of art.

Functions of arts

Art has had a great number of different functions throughout its history, making its purpose difficult to abstract or quantify to any single concept. This does not imply that the purpose of Art is "vague", but that it has had many unique, different reasons for being created.

Art can have a personal function, it is an expression of basic human instinct for harmony, balance, rhythm. Art at this level is not an action or an object, but an internal appreciation of balance and harmony (beauty), and therefore an aspect of being human beyond utility. Art also provides a way to experience one's self in relation to the universe. This experience may often come unmotivated, as one appreciates art, music or poetry.

On the other hand art may have a social function. At its simplest, art is a form of communication. It seeks to entertain and bring about a particular emotion or mood, for the purpose of relaxing or entertaining the viewer. Art may also be an expression of social protest, seeking to question aspects of society.

Types of art

The oldest form of art are visual arts, which include creation of images or objects in fields including painting, sculpture, printmaking, photography, and other visual media. Architecture is often included as one of the visual arts; however, like the decorative arts, it involves the creation of objects where the practical considerations of use are essential, in a way that they usually are not in a painting, for example.

Music, theater, film, dance, and other performing arts, as well as literature and other media such as interactive media, are included in a broader definition of art or the arts.


Until the 17th century, art referred to any skill or mastery and was not differentiated from crafts or sciences. In modern usage after the 17th century, where aesthetic considerations are paramount, the fine arts are separated and distinguished from acquired skills in general, such as the decorative or applied arts.

Characteristics of art

Art may be characterized in terms of mimesis (i.e. its representation of reality), expression, communication of emotion, or other qualities. During the Romantic period, art came to be seen as "a special faculty of the human mind to be classified with religion and science". Though the definition of what constitutes art is disputed and has changed over time, general descriptions mention an idea of imaginative or technical skill stemming from human agency and creation.


The nature of art, and related concepts such as creativity and interpretation, are explored in a branch of philosophy known as aesthetics.

Source: Wikipedia


  1. Art has a limited set of functions.
    a. True
    b. False
  2. Architecture may be considered to be part of visual art.
    a. True.
    b. False.
  3. In modern usage acquired skills are not considered part of fine arts.
    a. True
    b. False

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