Fine arts are arts that are concerned with beauty or that appeal to one’s taste. The term relates to a limited number of visual art forms, including painting, sculpture, and printmaking. Many still use the term to indicate a traditional perspective on the visual arts, often implying an association with classic or academic art.
The word "fine" does not relate to the quality of an artwork; it refers to the purity of the art’s discipline. This definition tends to exclude visual art forms, such as craftwork or woodworking. Today, the term ‘visual art’ is considered more inclusive and includes the many mediums in which high art now occurs.
Fine arts being viewed as distinct from applied arts is mostly due to a conflict in Britain between the followers of the Arts and Crafts Movement and early modernists. The craft supporters sought to apply socialist principles to the arts by including the commonplace crafts of the masses, while the modernists sought to keep the arts exclusive, esoteric, and elitist.
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