Later, other forms of fine art such as painting and architecture developed and most recently, printmaking and photography. This form of art has given rise to a few terms like old masters that can only be defined in relation to it. Old master paintings and antique works have always formed the major part of the European fine art festival that is held each year.

Defining Old Master

Old Masters can be classified as artists who worked earlier than the seventeenth century. However, this definition of Old Master often differs as one may observe when they are browsing paintings showcased in museums. Some artists like Eugene Delacroix are not termed as old masters and yet they were in existence in the 17th century. Others who came much later are classified as old masters. It is not clear as to what criterion is used to classify old masters but most of the famous painters like Michelangelo and Leonardo da Vinci certainly are Old Masters. However, their standing does not surpass that of old painters like Donatello and El Greco.

Evoking emotion

The major aim of any form of fine art is to evoke some kind of emotion in the viewer. This can be pain, joy, ecstasy or sorrow. Paintings therefore embody the largest form of art as they are able to bring out emotions in the people viewing them better than other genres. The experience of viewing it may be different from one person to the next; hence it has a subjective nature. This however does not mean that it cannot have a specified message it wants to convey.


There is a certain aspect of realism that makes paintings and other works become more in form of eliciting reactions. People relate to what they can imagine and what can actually happen. This is why simple paintings like the Arearea II by Paul Gauguin and Vincent Van Gogh’s The Rocks, are a favorite because although simply painted, they convey a much deeper meaning. Old masters were indeed knowledgeable in bringing out the message or them in a painting however simple. This is why most fine art exhibitions cannot exclude their work.

Classifying art

Classification of art as fine or applied is controversial and a part of work can be both. Art has been used in its entirety to perform many functions, ranging from aesthetic value to bringing about political revolutions. Revolutions occurred due to art forms as avant-garde art. Some forms of avant-garde art include Dadaism, surrealism, Russian constructivism and so on. In all ways, art is subjective and one may choose to interpret it any way they want. The word fine art is still an enigma and with the major development in modern art where all forms are commercialized, it may have as well lost meaning.

Source Ezine by Kenth A Bender

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