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An exquisite Fabergé egg and carriage

welcome to technical aspects of the Fine Arts

The Muse Of Fine Arts welcomes you to this exploration of the technical aspects of the field of fine arts.


about the technical aspects of the fine arts

In their classical definition, the fields of fine art are primarily visual; they include painting, sculpture, drawing, watercolor, graphics, and architecture. Yet today there are more kinds of fine art than every before, many of which mitigate or completely dissolve barriers that in the past restricted the sensory appeal of fine art to the eyes at the expense of the other four senses.

Many of the new art forms and works mitigate or break down walls that once barred practitioners of the fine artsfine artists, artisans, technicians, and othersfrom creating works that appeal to our ears, noses, tongues, or fingers as well as those that appeal to our eyes. Today, a work of fine art can appeal to any combination of the five senses.

For example, at the artistic end of the fine arts spectrum a modern sculptor now has the option to design works to be fondled as well as seen. If his statue is articulated and automated, it can move while it's being touched; if he has something for it to say out loud, he can wire and amplify it so it can be heard.

Works like these are no longer excluded from galleries or museums on the grounds that they are untalented, heretical, disrespectful, un-classical, or un-artistic, as once they were.

At the commercial end of the fine arts spectrum, the designer of an elegant perfume bottle is free to imagine and project it to perfume manufacturers or end consumers as an impassioned consumer experience. He can shape it like an erotic sculpture to make it radiate sensuous eye and hand appeal; he can mount it on a swivel like a seesaw that will cause its tinted liquid to slosh to and fro and ooze a rapturous aroma as it's uncorked.

The technical aspects of any work of fine art are its properties as seen from two points of view:

  1. The point of view of a work of art

These aspects include artistic methods and techniques, compositional styles, media, and the materials from which a work of fine art is conceived, shaped, crafted, colored, molded, framed, and displayed by the artist.

These aspects also include a work's technical associations with artists, art periods and eras, schools of art, fields of art, cultures, critics, aesthetes, theorists, and aesthetic philosophies.

  1. The point of view of a product

These aspects include the methods and techniques with which a work is physically formed and shaped, created, manufactured, recreated, restored, disseminated, commercially analyzed and marketed, manufactured by production designers and engineers, sold by vendors, or purchased and appreciated by buyers, users, and art lovers alike.

In combining both of the points of view, contemporary fine art merges physics, chemistry, engineering, electronics, economics, manufacturing, and other non-artistic fields with aesthetics. To be realized, works of fine art require behind-the-scenes technical and business know-how that brings them down to earth, that converts creative artistic concepts visualized by the artist to concrete objects that other people can acquire, use, or just have.

Rembrandt's The Mill

More than ever before, fine art is a cooperative venture. Skillful artists are being accompanied by engineers, financiers, tradesmen, and other associates who work in their own ways to make it possible for creative artists to design viable utilitarian, commercial products; or artists are becoming these kinds of people themselves.

Did we just say more than ever before? In reality, technologies are inherent in all works of art, past and present. Technicians and engineers have always been hard at work in the fine arts in all eras, albeit at some times more than at others; they're an infixed part of the artistic process. There's little that's new about the contemporary trend to incorporate technology in fine art; it just seems new to some of us because more emphasis is being placed on technology in modern times than was placed on it previously.

Was technology really part of the art enterprise in the past? Primitive though their technology might seem compared to technology today, da Vinci and Michael Angelo were applying technology when they poured water and binder on egg yokes to mix quick-drying tempera paint, and when they drove sharpened chisels into hard marble to forge statuary. Without technology, their magnificent conceptions would have come to nothing. Without sponsoring popes, they would not have been able to hawk their wares or operate commercially. Even cave men exploited technology when they traced designs onto animal skins with deer antlers or rounded bone beads with stone knives.

Today we apply acrylic paints to canvas when we want to achieve vividly colored, quick drying, long-lasting images; we use quantum physics to burn designs into the hearts of crystals with pulsed lasers when we want to fashion permanent forms by carving materials from the inside out. We savor technical novelties, but our technical objectives are fundamentally the same as those of our forefathers.

The chief difference between then and now? Modern technology's role in fine art is more visible and tangible to artists and art lovers than in previous centuries because artists depend on it to a greater degree. theyplace more demands on it because today they step up and reach out to a greater degree. Inventing and implementing fresh, alternative art forms and art objects, as they do, is technically and physically more challenging.

Fortunately for the fine art world, technology has kept up with and met these challenges. Modern science and engineering have advanced so far technically, they not only are able to support the bulk of the artistic demands placed on them; they have even inspired a fair share of new artistic innovations.

beauty and technology in the fine arts

When this page opened on your screen, probably the first thing you noticed was the picture of the egg and coach at the top. Did you think about the technology behind them, or did you relish their beauty instead? Or perhaps you took Fabergé's objects for granted and ignored both their beauty and the technology and effort that went into making them.

Did you immerse yourself in their beauty? That reaction is likely because people normally think of the fine arts objects from an aesthetic point of view; they overlook the copious amounts of hard work, diligence, skill, artisanship, and technology that made them.

Did you completely ignore the egg and coach? Many among us are fortunate; we spend inordinate amounts of time surrounded by a sea of fine art that's not only beautiful, it's functional, decorative, and utilitarian as well. You may be lucky enough as to be one of these people; you may be a person who luxuriates in fine art objects everywhere you turn—in office buildings, campuses, parks, museums, at home. But do you notice and appreciate them or do you take them for granted?

Consider again for a moment the Fabergé egg and coach pictured above on this page. Now think about the skill, anguish, exhaustive labor, and meticulous attention to detail that must have been invested in making them. Does that consideration spoil your aesthetic gratification?

Many of those who notice and appreciate the fine art that surrounds them are so overcome with aesthetic joy and pleasure that they prefer to duck the unpleasant, blunt, and undeniable truth that high art is hard work. When they experience fine art they look the other way because the thought spoils the effect. theybelieve that art and hard work are inimical, but the truth is that stacks of menial, mundane, and practical tasks have to be completed before artists, their coworkers, and their other associates can produce the fine art they admire.

Fine art is not all whimsy and inspiration; much of it is grind. We all know that artists and artisans invest their best years acquiring arcane technical knowledge and perfecting their skills. Doing these things enables them eventually to acquire the prerequisite high levels of artistry and pragmatic knowhow they will need to devise works of art that are worthy to see the light of day.

The Muse OF Fine Arts urges you to acknowledge, respect, and admire the technological side of the fine arts. The works we take for granted owe their existence to the motivation, sacrifice, mastery, and dedication of the people who create them.

about this feature

A concern for technology just distracts us, redirects our attention away from the aesthetic side of art; isn't that counterproductive? There's no shortage of fine art for us to look at; why should we care about the technology that's behind it?

Why should technology become a concern of art lovers? There are two main answers to questions like these.

First, contemplating the technical aspects of fine art help us understand and appreciate the contributions made by artisans and others who are active in this field, past and present. And second, the more we know about fine art and works of fine art, the more aesthetic reward we will receive from them.

For these reasons, The Muse Of Fine Art invites you to explore the technical aspects of fine art.


what is fine art?

The Muse invites you to explore the explication of fine art at The Muse's page that welcomes you to the exploration of fine art.

  • See The Muse's exploration of the nature and meaning of fine art: click here.


the fine arts glossary

The Muse's Fine Arts Glossary contains over 500 important terms drawn from a variety of the fine arts, with definitions that are packed with interesting  and informative content. It offers automated features that are simple and easy to use. With their aid you can speed and ease the process of keyword searching, sorting, arranging search results, printing, and performing other actions that will assist you in finding fine arts terms that are relevant to your interests and separating them from terms that may not be relevant.

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