Symbiosis International University Symbiosis School for Liberal Arts

Art, Philosophy and Society

 Course Objectives 

  • To acquaint the students to some basic theoretical aspects of art (that they practice) like beauty, sublime, form, content, bhava-rasa.
  • To introduce them to the various theories of art (art as communication, expression, imitation, significant form) as also the questions regarding the process + production, meaning of an artwork, its relation and influence on the artist, audience.
  • To equip them, to an extent, with basic tools of art criticism to develop an aesthetic attitude and be able to appreciate art and its relevance to and role in society. 

At the end of the course the students are expected to:

  • Have basic knowledge about the various eastern and western theories of Art with a comparative approach.
  • Have developed a questioning attitude about historical notions of art and morality.
  • Nevertheless develop an aesthetic attitude to view the world and reconsider “art” objects.
  • Gain a window to view art in a social context including art as a social phenomenon and role of artist's in society.

 Teaching Methodology 

  • Interactive class discussions on every concept. Small class size
  • Use of articles, videos, innovative teaching resources, etc. to further explain concepts i.e. a practical understanding regarding the concept.
  • Students are made to analyze and question art forms/ works and apply theories to their own selected art works.
  • Evaluations are conducted throughout the semester to ensure that the students’ outcomes are appraised. 



 Course Outline 

S. No




Artworks and Art-forms

·        What is 'art'?: Meaning and Understandings

·        Kinds of art: plastic, performing and non-performing

·        Art-forms: traditions and cultures

·        Constituents of a Work of Art: materials, medium, form, content, subject matter

·        Disputable/ borderline cases of art: discussion.

12 hours


Art and Aesthetics: Philosophy of Art vs Aesthetics

·        Ontology of Art

·        Aesthetic Qualities: Beauty, Sublime

·        Aesthetic Attitude: David Hume and Immanuel Kant's views.



10 hours


Theories of Art, Shaping Society and Cultural Influence

·        Representation and imitation: Plato and Aristotle

·        Expression: Collingwood

·        Communication: Tolstoy

·        Significant Form: Clive Bell

·        Bhāva-Rasa: Bharata Muni and Abhinav Gupta

·        “In praise of shadows”: Junichiro Tanizaki

24 hours


Art, Society and Morality

·        Art and Authenticity:

(a)   Fakes and Forgeries

(b)  Authenticity in performance

·        Role of Art and Artists on Society

·        Current Trends: Expanded concept of Art – Modernism, Post-modernism and Social Sculpture




14 hours