TOK: What is Art?

There is no real purpose for the arts. Evaluate this claim.


Unlike the other areas of knowledge, art is simply created by humans as a form of self expression. It does not involve the investigation into our species nor does it provide us valuable insight. Art is also loosely defined and doesn’t serve a true purpose, it is created mainly to entertain or out of the enjoyment of the creator. It isn’t common that a piece of art is created to discover new information about the world. While the arts does manage to accomplish certain things such as allow the artist to express their emotions or communicate certain messages for the viewer to interpret, it does not serve a common purpose. Without art, while our world would be potentially more bland, information that contributes to the development of humans could still continue to be investigated.


While all art may not serve the same purpose, art can be used for aspects in understanding human kind. Firstly historians can use art from different periods to understand what occurred during that time. Drawings of famous political figures or famous events are often what historians only have to base their information off of when technology wasn’t advanced during that time. For example through art of the Boston tea party historians could understand the events during that time. Furthermore while art may not provide us factual information about specific time periods, we can better understand the emotions of the artist through their paintings, which in itself can be the purpose of art. Picasso’s blue period was a clear indication of a bad time during his life, through his art people could understand the situation he was going through even though it may not have been explicitly stated by him himself.

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