Elham Towghiyan

Is the Division Between Fine art and Applied Arts Real?

Applied Art is a branch of visual art, which is belittled for always being at the service of people: an art whose aim is to communicate with its addressees, while the customer is not supposed to increase the visual or social cultural level of the society. In this hierarchical situation, the existence of addressees with different tastes, knowledge, beliefs, mental approaches, behaviors and values has an intensive effect on this practical art. Since the Arts and Crafts Movement at the turn of the 19th century, the applied arts have grown in importance and recognition. Perhaps the best known school of applied art is Bauhaus. Applied art has three principles: the artist, the consumer and the addressee. The result of this relation is a piece of art which meets the needs of all the three principles. Art is employed in advertisements, introductions, contexts and mottos.
Applied art is not a field for expressing internal feelings and characteristics. Its goal is to provide a specific communication in a specific time and it should be designed in a way that most addressees can relate to it easily.

Fine art refers to the arts concerned with a limited number of visual and performing art forms, including painting, sculpture, dance, theatre, architecture and printmaking. Schools, institutes, and other organizations still use the term to indicate a traditional perspective on the art forms, often implying an association with classic or academic art.

Charles Bateau, in his paper (1746), divided arts into three groups: beneficial arts, such as different manual industrial products; Fine Arts like poetry, painting, music and sculpture; and arts which have beauty and benefit at the same time. Fine art has basic ideas and concepts and it is non-multiplication.

Applied arts refer to the application of design and aesthetics to objects of function and everyday use. Whereas fine arts serve as intellectual stimulation to the viewer or academic sensibilities, the applied arts incorporate design and creative ideals to objects of utility, such as a cup, magazine or decorative park bench.

In comparing fine arts with applied arts, we can propound two questions: 1. Do we deal with two different cultural categories? 2. If we do, are there any real apparent moral differences between these two categories?

Differentiation between fine art and applied art happened in the industrial revolution and somewhat due to benefits which it could, government was persuaded to support art.
Establishing museums and designing schools with governmental support and the founding of museums of applied arts had the same connection with the above-mentioned idea. In this respect, art and decoration were considered one and the same.

In the end, we can list some of the specifications of both of them and point to the differences that exist between them:

Repetition of familiar forms can be seen in the applied art. Writing of abstract has no connection with ambiguity. Its direction to comfort is stereotyped and it is under influence of commercial aims. Anyway, this does not mean that the artist must have no creativity and or not satisfy his or her client’s demands in the simplest way, on the contrary, artists must, with the use of their knowledge and public taste and culture, produce their work.
The difference between fine and applied art was introduced in the twentieth century. Division of art almost exists between Art and styles of art, for example Leonardo da Vinci believes that painting is more important art than other arts, even more valuable than poetry, music and sculpture.
Sometimes the difference between fine and applied arts is based on the worth and cultural models. We may put it this way: difference in taste. That the models and communication channels have also affected it and even in some cases the difference is in specified communication channels.
On the other hand, this difference can be based on the way of observing artworks and our attitude towards them. Inaccessibility of works of Fine Art has no connection with natural position of it, but that is the result of the people’s action who called themselves keepers of cultural temples.
The word ‘time’ played an important part in taste and need of people. Each period, ask with art, which equal with mentality and specifications of itself.
In the aesthetic concept, Kant knows only free play of two faculties of mind: imagination and understanding for the aspect of aesthetic, but in the applied art, the sign of perception and enjoyment of work is the natural and material reactions.
From Cohen’s point of view, there should be no hierarchy between arts, because each group can meet the Essential and different needs of aesthetic art with equivalent values.
But from the Benjamin’s point of view: increase in the production of artworks, changes the essence of art and by erasing two qualities of uniqueness and inaccessibility, and annihilates the holy halo around it.

Based on the points mentioned above, in my opinion, we cannot claim that we are really dealing with two different cultural categories. These arts may be different from each other in articles, mind and aesthetics but this is not the negation of the other art. The categorization should not be described in this way.
Fine art and applied art, each answer their goal and necessity and the differentiation between the Arts and separating them from one another should not exist. This differentiation is in times to an extent that the difference between fine and applied arts is called art versus not-art.
Today in our society, with unseen and unrecognized observations of the applied art and the refusal of artists to act on this branch of art, people with any specialization enter this branch of art, as the rule of artist and art specialists. In this situation, this art has become abandoned and pushed into margins.

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