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Artistic vs Aesthetic

Artistic and Aesthetic are often understood as equivalent terms, especially when used in such collocations as the artistic or aesthetic temperament; artistic or aesthetic satisfaction; artistic or aesthetic standards or values; for artistic or aesthetic reasons.

But artistic may stress the point of view of the artist or of one who actually produces a work of art, who thinks in terms of technique, of the relationship of details to the design of the whole, or of the effects to be gained and who therefore regards beauty as a thing that results from his attention to these matters and that is his creation.

By extension artistic may imply also the point of view of one who studies or judges art objectively from the artist’s angle.

On the other hand, aesthetic stresses the point of view of one who contemplates a finished work of art or beauty that exists and who thinks in terms of the effect it has upon him and especially of the sensations it stimulates and the feelings it excites.

Strictly, the artistic temperament shows itself in an urge to fashion or to express and to create out of materials, words, or sounds the beautiful thing that the artist designs or conceives: the aesthetic temperament shows itself in responsiveness to beauty wherever it is found, and by contrast, in aversion to that which is ugly.

Artistic satisfaction is the gratification that comes to one who can look at a work of art (his own or another’s) and call it good: aesthetic satisfaction is the content that accompanies the enjoyment of beauty for its own sake and independently of all other considerations.

For aesthetic, largely because of its connection with aesthetics, the branch of philosophy dealing with beauty, usually implies a distinction between that which is beautiful and that which is moral or useful or merely pleasing.

Artistic standards are therefore the tests of perfection in a work of art which artists and critics have accepted: aesthetic standards are the usually subjective criteria which have been set up by aestheticians or by the individual to enable him to distinguish the beautiful from the merely pleasing or gratifying.