An extract on #artist
Wiktionary defines the noun 'artist' (Singular: artist; Plural: artists) as follows:
A person who creates art.
A person who makes and creates art as an occupation.
A person who is skilled at some activity.
A person whose trade or profession requires a knowledge of design, drawing, painting, etc.
The Oxford English Dictionary defines the older broad meanings of the term "artist":
A learned person or Master of Arts
One who pursues a practical science, traditionally medicine, astrology, alchemy, chemistry
A follower of a pursuit in which skill comes by study or practice
A follower of a manual art, such as a mechanic
One who makes their craft a fine art
One who cultivates one of the fine arts traditionally the arts presided over by the muses
The Greek word "techn", often translated as "art," implies mastery of any sort of craft. The adjectival Latin form of the word, "technicus", became the source of the English words technique, technology, technical.
In Greek culture each of the nine Muses oversaw a different field of human creation:
Calliope (the 'beautiful of speech'): chief of the muses and muse of epic or heroic poetry
Clio (the 'glorious one'): muse of history
Erato (the 'amorous one'): muse of love or erotic poetry, lyrics, and marriage songs
Euterpe (the 'well-pleasing'): muse of music and lyric poetry
Melpomene (the 'chanting one'): muse of tragedy
Polyhymnia or Polymnia (the '[singer] of many hymns'): muse of sacred song, oratory, lyric, singing, and rhetoric
Terpsichore (the '[one who] delights in dance'): muse of choral song and dance
Thalia (the 'blossoming one'): muse of comedy and bucolic poetry
Urania (the 'celestial one'): muse of astronomy
No muse was identified with the visual arts of painting and sculpture. In ancient Greece sculptors and painters were held in low regard, somewhere between freemen and slaves, their work regarded as mere manual labour.
The word art derives from the Latin "ars" (stem art-), which, although literally defined, means "skill method" or "technique", and conveys a connotation of beauty.
During the Middle Ages the word artist already existed in some countries such as Italy, but the meaning was something resembling craftsman, while the word artesan was still unknown. An artist was someone able to do a work better than others, so the skilled excellency was underlined, rather than the activity field. In this period some "artisanal" products (such as textiles) were much more precious and expensive than paintings or sculptures.
The first division into major and minor arts dates back at least to the works of Leon Battista Alberti (14041472): De re aedificatoria, De statua, De pictura, which focused on the importance of the intellectual skills of the artist rather than the manual skills (even if in other forms of art there was a project behind).
With the Academies in Europe (second half of 16th century) the gap between fine and applied arts was definitely set.
Many contemporary definitions of "artist" and "art" are highly contingent on culture, resisting aesthetic prescription, in much the same way that the features constituting beauty and the beautiful cannot be standardized easily without corruption into kitsch.