What are Fine Arts?
The fine arts produce beautiful artistic works and include painting, drawing, sculpture, dance, and music.
Classical Christian education is dedicated to raising well-rounded people, and the fine arts play an important role, although not the same as liberal arts. (See liberal arts for a definition of “art” and “liberal art.”) Classical educators understand the importance of truth, beauty, and goodness, and there is no better way to cultivate a love and appreciation for beauty than by learning to create beauty for oneself. When a student learns to make music or paint, they also learn to see and enjoy the details and skill in someone else’s music and art. The fine arts also overlap, perhaps inextricably, with the liberal arts. For instance, the fine arts of painting and music also express ideas — the goal of rhetoric — and music is itself listed as one of the liberal arts.
Music was once considered one of the seven liberal arts, one of the four mathematical subjects in the quadrivium. This is because music theory deals with numerical proportions. However, music performance itself is a fine art, and learning performance and theory together is only natural. Teaching children to make music, whether with instruments or voices, is a sure-fire way to get them to appreciate it. Not only that, but learning music when you’re young makes for good pitch and rhythm later in life. This is especially important for young Christians who will be singing and making music in corporate worship for the rest of their lives.
Visual arts such as painting, drawing, and sculpture can train a person to observe the world around them carefully and recognize physical beauty. Aside from art classes themselves, classical schools also make an effort to make every day a beautiful experience. From hanging great art in classrooms, to having aesthetically tasteful furniture and fixtures, to wearing standard uniforms, classical schools recognize the influence aesthetic and orderly surroundings will have on students.