The French word art means artderived from it artist translates into English as the artist. But the Russian notion of "artist" is not quite it corresponds to. You probably got used to such phrases as "honored artist of the Republic"; "people's artist of the Soviet Union", "artists of the Theatre,", "artists of the Moscow theaters"... One and the same word means different concepts. Here in some cases the word "artist" becomes a synonym for the word "actor", in the other two it is an integral part of the honorary title.
The actor and the actor is not complete synonyms. The term "artist" is much broader. It is used in relation to the musicians, both singers and instrumentalists. And if the singer, well playing a role in an Opera, can be called with praise singing actor, violinist or flautist under no circumstances actor will not name. The circus performers, pop music, different genres of music and, of course, dramatic - they all combine this word with our hue recognition skills, artistic perfection. Not by chance appeared to him derivatives such as artistry, artistry. Not random and the honorary title of the honored and folk artists who are the most worthy.