Art as ExpressionThe definition comes from Collingwood’s Principles of Art (1938). Collingwood definesart primarily as an activity: that of clarifying an emotion, by which he means identifying theemotion one is feeling not merely as a general type, such as anger or remorse, but with as muchparticularity as possible. Collingwood does not deny that one can rephrase this definition interms of a work of art rather than an activity, but he believes the work exists primarily in theminds of artist and audience, rather than in one of the more usual artistic media. He seems tothink that the job of the medium it to enable the communication of emotion to the audience whoshare the same emotions.The definition assumes that the emotion expressed in a work is always the artist’semotion, but it is not at all clear why a work cannot express, or be expressive of, an emotion notfelt by the artist when creating the work.FormalismThe best known and most explicit formalist definition of art belongs to Clive Bell.According to Bell, art is what has significant form. Significant form is form that imbues whatpossesses it with a special sort of value that consists in the affect produced in those who perceiveit. Bell calls the affect “the aesthetic emotion” though, as Carol Gould (1994) has pointed out,this is probably a misnomer since what he has in mind is more likely a positive, pleasurablereaction to a perceptual experience. Thus, Bell claims that what is special about form in art is thatit is valuable in a special way.Formalism describes the critical position that the most important aspect of a work of art isits form – the way it is made and its purely visual aspects – rather than its narrative content or itsrelationship to the visible world. ... All this led quickly to abstract art, an art of pure form.Formalism Theory The formalistic approach directs that art be analyzed by reviewing form andstyle. Elements like color, shapes, textures, and line are emphasized, while the context of thework is de-emphasized, and made a secondary characteristic—at times taken completely out ofconsequence.