Artist

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An artist is a person engaged in one or more of any of a broad spectrum of activities related to creating art, practicing the arts and/or demonstrating an art. The common usage in both everyday speech and academic discourse is a practitioner in the visual arts only. The term is often used in the entertainment business, especially in a business context, for musicians and other performers (less often for actors). "Artiste" (the French for artist) is a variant used in English only in this context. Use of the term to describe writers, for example, is certainly valid, but less common, and mostly restricted to contexts like criticism.

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Dictionary definitions

Wiktionary defines the noun 'artist' (Singular: artist; Plural: artists) as follows:

The Oxford English Dictionary defines the older broad meanings of the term "artist,"

  • A learned person or Master of Arts (now rather obsolete)
  • One who pursues a practical science, traditionally medicine, astrology, alchemy, chemistry (also obsolete)
  • A follower of a pursuit in which skill comes by study or practice - the opposite of a theorist
  • A follower of a manual art, such as a mechanic - partly obsolete
  • One who makes their craft a fine art
  • One who cultivates one of the fine arts - traditionally the arts presided over by the muses - now the dominant usage

A definition of Artist from Princeton.edu: creative person (a person whose creative work shows sensitivity and imagination).

History of the term

Although the Greek word "technÄ›" is often mistranslated as "art," it actually implies mastery of any sort of craft. The Latin-derived form of the word is "tecnicus", from which the English words technique, technology, technical are derived.

In Greek culture each of the nine Muses oversaw a different field of human creation:

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