What is Art and Culture? What is the difference between the two?

What is Art and Culture? What is the difference between the two?
Posted on 16-07-2023

What is Art and Culture? What is the difference between the two?

When we consider 'Art and Culture,' it often brings to mind topics commonly asked about in UPSC exams, such as Persian literature, the Bhakti-Sufi tradition, or Gandhara art. While there may be some overlap between art and culture, it is important to understand the distinction between the two.

Let's classify the following items into either 'Art' or 'Culture':

  1. Chola bronze sculpture - Art

  2. Singing hymns in praise of different Gods - Culture

  3. Filial piety (respecting your elders) - Culture

  4. Bharatnatyam - Art

  5. Thang Ta - Art

  6. Sujni - Art

  7. The language Maithili - Culture

  8. Buddhism and Jainism - Culture

  9. Nowruz/Navroz - Culture

  10. Idli, dosa, and aloo parantha - Culture

Bharatnatyam and Thang Ta are classified as art forms since they are performing arts. However, their participation as a performer or audience member can evoke a sense of cultural identity and belonging.

While cooking idli, dosa, and aloo parantha may be considered an art form, the act of indulging in these dishes, especially when away from one's home country, can evoke a strong sense of cultural connection. Thus, it is considered a part of culture.

Languages, religions, filial piety, and singing hymns are all integral aspects of culture rather than being categorized solely as art forms.

In essence, culture represents a way of life, encompassing ideas, customs, and social behavior, while art is a manifestation of culture and the creative expressions of people within a particular culture. Customs, traditions, and various forms of creative activity are all manifestations of culture.

According to the Oxford Dictionary, 'Culture' is defined as "the arts and other manifestations of human intellectual achievement regarded collectively" and "the ideas, customs, and social behavior of a particular people or society."

Likewise, the same dictionary defines 'Art' as "the expression or application of human creative skill and imagination, typically in a visual form such as painting or sculpture, producing works to be appreciated primarily for their beauty or emotional power." Additionally, it encompasses various branches of creative activity, including painting, music, literature, and dance.

In summary, while art and culture are interconnected, culture represents the broader context of a way of life, encompassing customs, traditions, languages, and religions. Art, on the other hand, is a specific expression of human creativity within a cultural context, encompassing various forms such as visual arts, music, literature, and dance.


Art and culture are intertwined aspects of human expression and society. While they share connections, there are distinct differences between the two.

Art refers to the expression or application of human creative skill and imagination. It encompasses various forms of creative activity, such as painting, sculpture, music, literature, dance, and more. Art is driven by the desire to communicate ideas, evoke emotions, and provide aesthetic experiences. It involves the use of skills, techniques, and mediums to produce works that are appreciated for their beauty, emotional power, and ability to convey meaning. Art can be both subjective and objective, allowing for individual interpretation and cultural appreciation.

On the other hand, culture refers to the ideas, customs, behaviors, and social practices of a particular group, community, or society. It encompasses the shared beliefs, values, traditions, rituals, and norms that shape the way of life for a specific group of people. Culture encompasses various aspects, including language, religion, cuisine, clothing, social interactions, celebrations, and more. It is a collective expression of identity, heritage, and heritage, passed down through generations. Culture provides a framework for individuals to understand their place in society, form social bonds, and develop a sense of belonging.

The key difference between art and culture lies in their focus and scope. Art is more concerned with individual creativity, expression, and aesthetic appreciation. It is a means of personal and artistic exploration, often driven by the artist's unique perspective and intention. Art can transcend cultural boundaries and be appreciated by individuals from different backgrounds.

Culture, on the other hand, encompasses the broader social fabric and collective identity of a group or society. It represents shared values, traditions, and practices that define a particular community's way of life. Culture provides a sense of belonging and guides social interactions, rituals, and belief systems. While art can be a manifestation of culture, culture extends beyond art to encompass various aspects of societal existence.

In summary, art is the expression of human creativity, skill, and imagination, appreciated for its aesthetic and emotional qualities. Culture, on the other hand, represents the collective beliefs, customs, behaviors, and practices that define a group's way of life. While art can be an element of culture, culture encompasses a broader range of social and communal aspects beyond artistic expression.

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