Arthur Danto

American art critic and philosopher (1924-2013)

Arthur Coleman Danto (January 1, 1924 – October 25, 2013) was an American art critic and philosopher.

Arthur Danto (2012)


  • My thought is that if some art is imitation and some art is not, neither term belongs to the definition of art as philosophically understood. A property is part of the definition only if it belongs to every work of art there is.
    • What Art Is (2013), Preface
  • It is true that art today is pluralistic. Pluralism was noticed by certain followers of Ludwig Wittgenstein. What makes art so powerful a force as it appears to be in song and story is due to what makes it art to begin with. There is really nothing like it when it comes to stirring the spirit.
    • What Art Is (2013), Preface
  • There were limits to what art—composed of such genres as portraiture, landscape, still life, and historical painting (the latter of which, in royal academies, enjoyed the highest esteem)—could do to show movement.
    • What Art Is (2013), Chap. 1 : Wakeful Dreams
  • Thanks to Descartes and Plato, I will define art as “wakeful dreams.” One wants to explain the universality of art. My sense is that everyone, everywhere, dreams. Usually this requires that we sleep. But wakeful dreams require of us that we be awake. Dreams are made up of appearances, but they have to be appearances of things in their world. True, the different arts in the encyclopedic museum are made by different cultures.
    • What Art Is (2013), Chap. 1 : Wakeful Dreams

External linksEdit

Wikipedia has an article about: