The May-June (Mai/Juni) cover of Bonsai Art magazine. Europe’s (and maybe the world’s) most beautiful bonsai mag (German language only).
Is bonsai art?
You’ll often see the term ‘bonsai artist’ in this blog (and elsewhere). You’ll also often see the term ‘the art of bonsai.’ Clearly, there’s no problem with putting the words bonsai and art (or artist) together. And why not? High quality bonsai pretty much fits the definition of art (see below) and most people would agree that good bonsai requires artistry.
A better question
Perhaps a better question than ‘is bonsai an art,’ would be; ‘when is bonsai art?’ Clearly not every little plant that has been stuck into a bonsai pot qualifies as art. Nor does the sticker merit the title ‘artist’. It’s same with painting and other human endeavors that are often referred to as art; most attempts don’t really rise to art. Something is missing.
I’ll just call it magic
That missing something is ineffable (we know it when we see it, but it’s difficult to say exactly what it is). I’ll just call it magic (there’s a word begging for misunderstanding) and leave the rest to you.
There’s more, but maybe later
There’s much more that we could say about bonsai and art, but we’ll save it for another time (or maybe for the comments).
It’s not really bonsai, but I’d definitely call it art. Also from Bonsai Art magazine.
Wikipedia’s current definition of art
“Art is the product or process of deliberately arranging items (often with symbolic significance) in a way that influences and affects one or more of the senses, emotions, and intellect. It encompasses a diverse range of human activities, creations, and modes of expression, including music, literature, film, photography, sculpture, and paintings. The meaning of art is explored in a branch of philosophy known as aesthetics, and even disciplines such as history and psychology analyze its relationship with humans and generations.
Traditionally, the term art was used to refer to any skill or mastery. This conception changed during the Romantic period, when art came to be seen as “a special faculty of the human mind to be classified with religion and science”. Generally, art is made with the intention of stimulating thoughts and emotions.”