The Greeks regularly equated art with craft, τέχνη, which *Aristotle defined as the ‘trained ability (ἕξις) of making something under the guidance of rational thought’ (Eth. Nic. 1140a9–10). Until the late Hellenistic period, there is no evidence that sculpture and painting were viewed as fundamentally different from shoemaking or any other profession which produced a product. Although a number of writers betray an instinctive recognition of a qualitative difference between the visual arts on the one hand and utilitarian crafts on the other, no formal distinction was ever made between the ‘fine arts’ and other arts in Greek thought.
From an aristocratic point of view artists were regarded as social inferiors because they were obliged to do physical work for others, and this type of life was held to have a degrading effect on their bodies and minds (Xen. Oec. 4. 2–3; Arist. Pol.Less
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