Read this short definition of aesthetics, and how it relates to works of art.
Aesthetics is the philosophical argument about the nature of beauty. It's an idea central to any exploration of art. Aesthetics deals with notions of taste, cultural conventions – ideas of art being 'good' and 'bad' based on specific cultural information and beliefs and the judgments we make based on our perceptions. As deep as visual art is embedded in the fabric of our lives, it still is the source of controversy and irony. It thrives on common experience yet contradicts ideas of ourselves. Art is part of the culture it's created in, but can reflect many cultures at once. From where you and I stand today art has become probably more complex than ever in its use of imagery, mediums and meanings. We need a way to access the visual information of our society, of past cultures, and cultures not known to us to have a way to understand what we are looking at.
Source: Christopher Gildow, Washington State Board for Community and Technical Colleges, http://opencourselibrary.org/art-100-art-appreciation/
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