A new day, a new thing

My goal to learn something new every day

Day 56: You study ‘fine art’! What’s that?

The majority of the students I teach are university students, either studying now, or on a break from university to study English. Of the ones who have already graduated, I can be fairly certain that 99+ percent (no exaggeration) have a university degree. This makes asking the question what is/was your major a good ice breaker question. The majority of the time, I have a pretty good idea of what a particular major entails. I like knowing more about students’ majors and jobs and lives outside of the English academy, because it lets me adapt my lessons accordingly.

In the city where I live, there really are a finite set of degrees on offer. I see the same majors come up again and again. And every so often I’ll hear the name of a major, and while I have a broad understanding of what it involves, I wouldn’t feel comfortable trying to explain it. In this post, I will look at one major that a number of my students are studying.

My weakest subjects in school were languages ( :S ), sports/PE and art. I just couldn’t draw, paint, sculpt to save my life. Art does not interest me one bit, so any mention of it and I usually just turn off.

Fine Art

Obviously this one is art based, but what does it mean exactly? Before looking it up, I imagined it to be studying about ancient pottery from China. I don’t know why, that’s just the image I had in my head. I knew a girl from school who went off to do fine art, and I think she might have said something about liking ancient art or some similar thing, and perhaps that’s just the idea that stuck with me. Dictionary.com says this about fine art:

a visual art considered to have been created primarily for aesthetic purposes and judged for its beauty and meaningfulness, specifically, painting, sculpture, drawing, watercolor, graphics, and architecture.

Quite a few references on the internet say that fine art is often contrasted with applied art, a term up until today I had not encountered. Dictionary.com says this about applied art:

any art that applies aesthetic principles to the design or decoration of useful objects, such as industrial design, bookmaking, illustration, printmaking, and commercial art

The University of Oxford, which is one of the many universities offering a course in fine art, says this:

Fine Art is the making and study of visual art. It educates and prepares students to become artists and to follow other practices that are aligned to the making of art. The curriculum is centred on the individual student’s potential and imagination.

And further on down the page, it talks about the typical careers that fine art graduates can expect to go into. These careers include becoming artists, art teachers and art writers. Other jobs include working as a curator in galleries or museums, as well as jobs in architecture and film making.

So it appears that the study of fine art is much more broad than I had originally imagined. While I still don’t really get art, at least I have a slightly better understanding of what fine art is.

Featured image courtesy of br1dotcom on Flickr

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This entry was posted on February 25, 2015 by in Study and tagged , , , .

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