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Was da Vinci an artistic genius? Sure, but he was also born in the right place at the right time — pre-Renaissance, Western artists got little individual credit for their work. And in many non-Western cultures, traditional forms have always been prized over innovation. So, where do we get our notions of art vs. craft? Laura Morelli traces the history of how we assign value to the visual arts.

Lesson by Laura Morelli, animation by Sandro Katamashvili.

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32 thoughts on “Is there a difference between art and craft? – Laura Morelli”

  1. Excellent! And in just 5 1/2 mins! Thank you Laura and TED-Ed 😀
    (I do agree with the suggestion that 'art and craft' could well be replaced with 'visual arts'. )

  2. reeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee

  3. Great guestion! The ability to mass produce something has, to some extent, help create this distinction. Whether someone is making a piece for some utilitarian purpose or not, the design of the object or placed on an object is the art. It is the uniqueness of a work that is the art and makes someone an artist. A craftsperson may be someone who can reproduce a lovely object that they did not design.

  4. There will generally be craft in art, but less likely art in craft. The first iterations of current "crafts" could be considered art however.

    Your original take on a craft can become art, but recreating or abiding by logic to a preconceived result is craft, having the end in mind in something that already "exists". That's how I see it. Art is driven by intuition but quite often brought to reality through logic.

    For eg. Learning guitar can be a craft and playing others songs. Writing your own music outside a traditional formulaic genre etc. would make it art.

  5. I prefer for there to be no distinction between artists and artisans. We're both craftsman, seeking to create what is practically necessary to fulfill human desires. Whether that manifest in beautiful cups or paintings, people want them, and are satisfied in them in ways other objects can't provide.

  6. The difference between art and craft

    Art is creating something from your heart to make something beautiful

    Craft is just hot glueing to popsicle sticks together to make the holy cross to bless ur unholy family

  7. Art is a picture weather using colour or drawing or painting craft is an actual object that is physical. So you can have an artistic crafted vase but you know that vase has designs and or colour which either been moulded into the design or been drawn or painted on

  8. Art exists because the West puts innovation on a high pedestal, which is a blessing to all of us eventually. The same impulse that created Art, also gave us space-ships and trains and planes. Being a Westerner, it's easy for you to denounce this innovative impulse, but being an Easterner, I see the utmost value in this break in tradition and the drive to create something new every time which speaks to its time better than a work preceding it.

  9. I don't know who said this, but I think it's very insightful. "There is art in craft and craft in art. But craft aims for perfection, and art aims for full expression."

  10. Art is a reflection of the individual, craft is a reflection of the collective. Both aspects can be found in the same objet d'art.

  11. I once had a long debate on this. Here's what I think:
    Art and Craft are intertwined but there are 2 main differences between them.
    1- Craft is born out of a PRACTICAL necessity. Art is born out of an EMOTIONAL/INTELLECTUAL necessity. You can create a beautifully engraved chair, give a stylish haircut, serve a masterfully decorated cake, or design a cool looking car, but ALL of the crafts required to make these products are born out of practical demands: "I need to sit down", "I need to trim my hair", "I want to eat", "I need a car".
    Art, on the other hand, exists purely out of a mental necessity: be it for beauty, emotion or intellectual stimulus. You can't eat a novel, you can't drive a movie or wear a painting. All of these things exist SOLELY to serve your inner self. (This is also why it's MUCH harder to make a living as an artist than as a craftsman: emotional/intellectual necessities are MUCH harder to monetise than practical ones).
    2- The second difference is structural in nature.
    Craft is MUCH more structured than Art, because Craft creates products to sell, so the products need to be consistently replicated again and again and again. Art, on the other hand, while still structured to some degree, has almost NO LIMITATIONS in terms of transformation and degrees of expression. An actor can rehearse his part and perform on a stage for 15 nights in a row, yet EVERY single night will be slightly different. Art is performative in nature, so it's deeply tied to the individuality of each artist.

    Every artist studies and practices his craft in order to become a better artist, but the craft itself is not the end goal: it's just a tool to create the art.

  12. So, art is creative, while craft is reproductive?

    I don't see any reason to change the treatment of it and invent more nebulous terms.

  13. I'm amused by the number of people who think art has no functional value. If something pleases your mind, to your mind it has value. If a functional item serves it's purpose, it pleases your mind. So I'm thinking that an item that is further from physical functionality is generally more art than craft, even though you can't make art without craft processes. If an "art piece" doesn't please your mind you are welcome to call it bad art or a useless end result of craft applied to material.

  14. There can be endless opinions of what is craft and what is art. Most probably art is an elevated form of craft.  The problem with art is that there are many kinds of art so in a way it defies definition. Besides, the line between art and craft is often blurred. Eventually it's up to the viewer to define what is art and what is mere craft (GattoTheCat)

  15. Muy buen video aunque discrepo de la frase final "El arte y su definición depende de la perspectiva que se mire" pues según esto el concepto se convierte en algo subjetivo y visto desde ahí todo podría ser arte, por consiguiente si todo es arte, el concepto mismo se ve afectado pues pierde completamente su valor, como lo vemos en nuestros tiempos.

  16. Very interesting and precise documentary. About the art which doesn't evolve much in time, one of the greatest example is Bizantine art with its derivation, like the famous Russian Icons. They are almost the same in centuries. The reason was in the message they wanted the art to carry, and that was that God and the saints were powerful and somewhat the centre of the universe, while in Europe, more attention was starting to be given to the mankind and art developed somewherelse. But nobody would ever dream to say that bizantine art is primitive or that it isn't art.

  17. For me all craft is art. If I can piss on the floor and call it art, surely a fine porcelain, an intricate plasterwork, or a sculptural salt cellar can be called art.

  18. 4:10 They did not value innovation; their art barely evolved past its most primal forms. This is what it means to be primitive. Get over it, you dirty relativist.

  19. Put it this way, you get couture fashion houses making all sorts of weird and wonderful footwear that has no life beyond its critical appraisal on the catwalk. The designers are pushing the limits of their own creativity and finding new ways to express themselves. This is a form of art. But the models can't walk in them. You then get steel toed boots made for working on building sites and trainers made for sport which also have another life as fashion items but would have no critical value within the world of fashion. The value here is in fulfilling a need and the commercial viability of the product. This is a form of craft.

  20. I disagree. The difference between art is a compositional manifestation of a thinking : what is the purpose of the universe? what is the mission of the human being? These ideas are reflected in the formal qualities, themes and subject chosen by the artist. Art is always breaking with traditions, not because traditions are not worthy, because art is always looking for its own freedom, its own possibilities, its own terms.

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