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"Hans Rottenhammer, Allegory of the Arts (second half of the 16th century). "Gemäldegalerie, Berlin.

The arts refers to the "theory and "physical expression of "creativity found in human "societies and "cultures. Major constituents of the arts include "literature (including "poetry, "prose and "drama), "performing arts (among them "music, "dance, and "theatre), and "visual arts (including "drawing, "painting, "photography, "ceramics, "sculpting, and "architecture).

Some art forms combine a visual element with performance (e.g. "cinematography) or artwork with the written word (e.g. "comics). From prehistoric "cave paintings to modern day "films, art serves as a vessel for storytelling and conveying humankind's relationship with the environment.



In its most basic abstract definition, art is a documented expression of a sentient being through or on an accessible medium so that anyone can view, hear or experience it. The act itself of producing an expression can also be referred to as a certain art, or as art in general. If this solidified expression, or the act of producing it, is "good" or has value depends on those who access and rate it and this public rating is dependent on various subjective factors. "Merriam-Webster defines "the arts" as "painting, sculpture, music, theater, literature, etc., considered as a group of activities done by people with skill and imagination."[1] Similarly, the "United States Congress, in the National Foundation on the Arts and Humanities Act, defined "the arts" as follows:[2]

The term 'the arts' includes, but is not limited to, music (instrumental and vocal), dance, drama, folk art, creative writing, architecture and allied fields, painting, sculpture, photography, graphic and craft arts, industrial design, costume and fashion design, motion pictures, television, radio, film, video, tape and sound recording, the arts related to the presentation, performance, execution, and exhibition of such major art forms, all those traditional arts practiced by the diverse peoples of this country. (sic) and the study and application of the arts to the human environment.


In "Ancient Greece, all art and craft was referred to by the same word, "techne. Thus, there was no distinction between the arts. "Ancient Greek art brought the veneration of the animal form and the development of equivalent skills to show musculature, poise, beauty, and anatomically correct proportions. "Ancient Roman art depicted gods as idealized humans, shown with characteristic distinguishing features (e.g. "Zeus' thunderbolt). In "Byzantine and "Gothic art of the "Middle Ages, the dominance of the church insisted on the expression of biblical and not material truths. "Eastern art has generally worked in a style akin to Western medieval art, namely a concentration on surface patterning and local colour (meaning the plain colour of an object, such as basic red for a red robe, rather than the modulations of that colour brought about by light, shade and reflection). A characteristic of this style is that the local colour is often defined by an outline (a contemporary equivalent is the cartoon). This is evident in, for example, the art of "India, "Tibet and "Japan. Religious "Islamic art forbids iconography, and expresses religious ideas through geometry instead.


"Lawrence Alma-Tadema's Catullus-at-Lesbia's (1865)

In the "Middle Ages, the "Artes Liberales (liberal arts) were taught in "universities as part of the "Trivium, an introductory curriculum involving "grammar, "rhetoric, and "logic,[3] and of the "Quadrivium, a curriculum involving the "mathematical arts" of "arithmetic, "geometry, "music, and "astronomy.[4] The "Artes Mechanicae (consisting of vestiaria – "tailoring and "weaving; agricultura – "agriculture; architectura – "architecture and "masonry; militia and venatoria – "warfare, "hunting, "military education, and the "martial arts; mercatura – "trade; coquinaria – "cooking; and metallaria – "blacksmithing and "metallurgy)[5] were practised and developed in guild environments. The modern distinction between "artistic" and "non-artistic" skills did not develop until the "Renaissance. In modern "academia, the arts are usually grouped with or as a subset of the "humanities. Some subjects in the humanities are "history, "linguistics, "literature, "theology, "philosophy, and "logic.

The arts have also been classified as seven: "Literature, "painting, "sculpture, and "music comprise the main four arts, of which the other three are derivative; "drama is literature with "acting, "dance is music expressed through "motion, and "song is music with literature and "voice.[6]

Visual arts[edit]


Drawing is a means of making an "image, using any of a wide variety of tools and techniques. It generally involves making marks on a surface by applying pressure from a tool, or moving a tool across a surface. Common tools are "graphite "pencils, "pen and ink, "inked "brushes, wax "colour pencils, "crayons, "charcoals, "pastels, and "markers. Digital tools which can simulate the effects of these are also used. The main techniques used in drawing are line drawing, "hatching, crosshatching, random hatching, scribbling, "stippling, and blending. An "artist who excels in drawing is referred to as a drafter, draftswoman, or draughtsman.[7] Drawing can be used to create art used in cultural industries such as "illustrations, "comics and "animation.


The "Mona Lisa, by "Leonardo da Vinci, is one of the most recognizable artistic paintings in the "Western world.

Painting is a mode of creative expression, and can be done in numerous forms. "Drawing, "gesture (as in "gestural painting), "composition, "narration (as in "narrative art), or "abstraction (as in "abstract art), among other aesthetic modes, may serve to manifest the expressive and conceptual intention of the practitioner.[8] Paintings can be naturalistic and representational (as in a "still life or "landscape painting), "photographic, abstract, narrative, "symbolistic (as in "Symbolist art), "emotive (as in "Expressionism), or "political in nature (as in "Artivism).

Modern painters have extended the practice considerably to include, for example, "collage. Collage is not painting in the strict sense since it includes other materials. Some modern painters incorporate different materials such as "sand, "cement, "straw, "wood or strands of hair for their "artwork texture. Examples of this are the works of "Elito Circa, "Jean Dubuffet or "Anselm Kiefer.


Ceramic art is art made from "ceramic materials (including "clay), which may take forms such as "pottery, "tile, "figurines, "sculpture, and "tableware. While some ceramic products are considered "fine art, some are considered to be "decorative, "industrial, or "applied art objects. Ceramics may also be considered "artefacts in "archaeology.Ceramic art can be made by one person or by a group of people. In a pottery or ceramic factory, a group of people design, manufacture, and decorate the pottery. Products from a pottery are sometimes referred to as "art pottery." In a one-person pottery studio, ceramists or potters produce "studio pottery. In modern ceramic engineering usage, "ceramics" is the art and science of making objects from inorganic, non-metallic materials by the action of heat. It excludes "glass and "mosaic made from glass "tesserae.


Photography as an art form refers to photographs that are created in accordance with the creative vision of the photographer. Art photography stands in contrast to "photojournalism, which provides a visual account for news events, and commercial photography, the primary focus of which is to advertise products or services.


The "Parthenon on top of the "Acropolis, "Athens, "Greece

Architecture is the "art and "science of "designing "buildings and "structures. The word architecture comes from the Greek arkhitekton, "master builder, director of works," from αρχι- (arkhi) "chief" + τεκτων (tekton) "builder, carpenter".[9] A wider definition would include the design of the built environment, from the macrolevel of "town planning, "urban design, and "landscape architecture to the microlevel of creating "furniture. Architectural design usually must address both feasibility and "cost for the "builder, as well as function and "aesthetics for the "user.

Table of architecture, "Cyclopaedia, 1728

In modern usage, architecture is the "art and "discipline of creating, or inferring an implied or apparent plan of, a complex object or "system. The term can be used to connote the implied architecture of abstract things such as "music or "mathematics, the apparent architecture of natural things, such as "geological formations or the "structure of biological cells, or explicitly planned architectures of human-made things such as "software, "computers, "enterprises, and "databases, in addition to buildings. In every usage, an architecture may be seen as a subjective "mapping from a human perspective (that of the user in the case of abstract or physical artifacts) to the "elements or components of some kind of "structure or system, which preserves the relationships among the elements or components. Planned architecture manipulates space, volume, texture, light, shadow, or abstract elements in order to achieve pleasing "aesthetics. This distinguishes it from "applied science or "engineering, which usually concentrate more on the functional and feasibility aspects of the design of constructions or structures.

In the field of building architecture, the skills demanded of an architect range from the more complex, such as for a "hospital or a "stadium, to the apparently simpler, such as planning "residential houses. Many architectural works may be seen also as cultural and political "symbols, or works of art. The role of the architect, though changing, has been central to the successful (and sometimes less than successful) design and implementation of pleasingly built environments in which people live.


Sculpture is the branch of the "visual arts that operates in three dimensions. It is one of the "plastic arts. Durable sculptural processes originally used "carving (the removal of material) and modelling (the addition of material, as clay), in "stone, "metal, "ceramics, "wood and other materials; but since "modernism, shifts in sculptural process led to an almost complete freedom of materials and process. A wide variety of materials may be worked by removal such as carving, assembled by "welding or modelling, or "moulded, or "cast.

Conceptual art[edit]

Conceptual art is art in which the concept(s) or idea(s) involved in the work takes precedence over traditional aesthetic and material concerns. The inception of the term in the 1960s referred to a strict and focused practice of idea-based art that often defied traditional visual criteria associated with the visual arts in its presentation as text.[10] Through its association with the "Young British Artists and the "Turner Prize during the 1990s,["citation needed] its popular usage, particularly in the "UK, developed as a synonym for all "contemporary art that does not practise the traditional skills of "painting and "sculpture.

Literary arts[edit]

Literature is literally "acquaintance with letters" as in the first sense given in the "Oxford English Dictionary. The noun "literature" comes from the "Latin word littera meaning "an individual written character ("letter)." The term has generally come to identify a collection of "writings, which in Western culture are mainly "prose (both "fiction and "non-fiction), "drama and "poetry. In much, if not all of the world, the artistic linguistic expression can be "oral as well, and include such "genres as "epic, "legend, "myth, "ballad, other forms of oral "poetry, and as "folktale. "Comics, the combination of drawings or other visual arts with narrating literature, are often called the ""ninth art" (le neuvième art) in Francophone scholarship.[11]

Performing arts[edit]

Performing arts comprise "dance, "music, "theatre, "opera, "mime, and other art forms in which a human performance is the principal product. Performing arts are distinguished by this performance element in contrast with disciplines such as visual and literary arts where the product is an object that does not require a performance to be observed and experienced. Each discipline in the performing arts is temporal in nature, meaning the product is performed over a period of time. Products are broadly categorized as being either repeatable (for example, by script or score) or improvised for each performance.[12] Artists who participate in these arts in front of an audience are called performers, including "actors, "magicians, "comedians, "dancers, "musicians, and "singers. Performing arts are also supported by the services of other artists or essential workers, such as "songwriting and "stagecraft. Performers often adapt their "appearance with tools such as "costume and "stage makeup.


A musical score by "Mozart. ""About this sound Play 

Music is an art form whose "medium is sound and silence, occurring in time. Common elements of music are "pitch (which governs melody and harmony), "rhythm (and its associated concepts tempo, metre, and articulation), dynamics, and the sonic qualities of "timbre and "texture. The creation, performance, significance, and even the definition of music vary according to culture and social context. Music ranges from strictly organized compositions (and their reproduction in performance) through improvisational music to "aleatoric pieces. Music can be divided into genres and subgenres, although the dividing lines and relationships between music genres are often subtle, sometimes open to individual interpretation, and occasionally controversial. Within "the arts," music may be classified as a "performing art, a "fine art, and "auditory art.


Theatre or theater (from Greek theatron (θέατρον); from theasthai, "behold")[13] is the branch of the "performing arts concerned with "acting out stories in front of an audience using combinations of speech, gesture, music, dance, sound and spectacle – indeed, any one or more elements of the other performing arts. In addition to the standard narrative dialogue style, theatre takes such forms as "opera, "ballet, "mime, "kabuki, "classical Indian dance, "Chinese opera and "mummers' plays.


A "ballroom dance exhibition

"Dance (from "Old French dancier, of unknown origin)[14] generally refers to human "movement either used as a form of expression or presented in a "social, "spiritual or "performance setting. Dance is also used to describe methods of "non-verbal communication (see "body language) between humans or "animals ("bee dance, mating dance), "motion in inanimate objects (the "leaves danced in the "wind), and certain "musical forms or "genres. "Choreography is the art of making dances, and the person who does this is called a choreographer. People danced to relieve stress.["citation needed] Definitions of what constitutes dance are dependent on "social, "cultural, "aesthetic, "artistic and "moral constraints and range from functional movement (such as "Folk dance) to codified, "virtuoso techniques such as "ballet. In "sports, "gymnastics, "figure skating and "synchronized swimming are dance disciplines while "Martial arts ""kata" are often compared to dances.

Multidisciplinary artistic works[edit]

Areas exist in which artistic works incorporate multiple artistic fields, such as "film, "opera and "performance art. While opera is often categorized in the performing arts of music, the word itself is Italian for "works," because opera combines several artistic disciplines in a singular artistic experience. In a typical traditional "opera, the entire work utilizes the following: the sets (visual arts), costumes (fashion), acting (dramatic performing arts), the libretto, or the words/story (literature), and singers and an orchestra (music).

Ernestine Schumann-Heink as Waltraute

The composer "Richard Wagner recognized the fusion of so many disciplines into a single work of opera, exemplified by his cycle "Der Ring des Nibelungen ("The Ring of the Nibelung"). He did not use the term opera for his works, but instead "Gesamtkunstwerk ("synthesis of the arts"), sometimes referred to as "Music Drama" in "English, emphasizing the literary and theatrical components which were as important as the music. Classical "ballet is another form which emerged in the 17th century in which orchestral music is combined with dance.

Other works in the late 19th, 20th and 21st centuries have fused other disciplines in unique and creative ways, such as "performance art. Performance art is a performance over time which combines any number of instruments, objects, and art within a predefined or less well-defined structure, some of which can be improvised. Performance art may be scripted, unscripted, random or carefully organized; even audience participation may occur. "John Cage is regarded by many as a performance artist rather than a composer, although he preferred the latter term. He did not compose for traditional ensembles. Cage's composition "Living Room Music composed in 1940 is a "quartet" for unspecified instruments, really non-melodic objects, which can be found in a living room of a typical house, hence the title.

Other arts[edit]

There is no clear line between art and "culture. Cultural fields like "gastronomy are sometimes considered as arts.[15]

Applied arts[edit]

The applied arts are the application of design and decoration to everyday, functional, objects to make them aesthetically pleasing.[16] The applied arts includes fields such as industrial design, illustration, and commercial art.[17] The term "applied art" is used in distinction to the fine arts, where the latter is defined as arts that aims to produce objects which are beautiful or provide intellectual stimulation but have no primary everyday function. In practice, the two often overlap.

Video games[edit]

A debate exists in the fine arts and "video game cultures over whether video games can be counted as an art form.[18] Game designer "Hideo Kojima professes that video games are a type of service, not an art form, because they are meant to entertain and attempt to entertain as many people as possible, rather than being a single artistic voice (despite Kojima himself being considered a gaming auteur, and the mixed opinions his games typically receive). However, he acknowledged that since video games are made up of artistic elements (for example, the visuals), game designers could be considered museum curators – not creating artistic pieces, but arranging them in a way that displays their artistry and sells tickets.

Within social sciences, cultural economists show how video games playing is conducive to the involvement in more traditional art forms and cultural practices, which suggests the complementarity between video games and the arts.[19]

In May 2011, the "National Endowment of the Arts included video games in its redefinition of what is considered a "work of art" when applying of a grant.[20] In 2012, the "Smithsonian American Art Museum presented an exhibit, The Art of the Video Game.[18] Reviews of the exhibit were mixed, including questioning whether video games belong in an art museum.

Arts criticism[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Definition of The Arts". Merriam-Webster. Retrieved May 14, 2017. 
  2. ^ Van Camp, Julie (November 22, 2006). "Congressional definition of "the arts"". PHIL 361I: Philosophy of Art. California State University, Long Beach. Retrieved October 28, 2016. 
  3. ^ Onions, C. T; Friedrichsen, George Washington Salisbury; Burchfield, Robert William (1991). The Oxford dictionary of English etymology. Oxford: at The Clarendon Press. p. 994. "ISBN "0198611129. 
  4. ^ """Wikisource link to Quadrivium". The New International Encyclopædia. "Wikisource. 1905. "The quadrivium consisted of arithmetic, music, geometry, and astronomy." 
  5. ^ In his commentary on Martianus Capella's early fifth century work, The Marriage of Philology and Mercury, one of the main sources for medieval reflection on the liberal arts
  6. ^ Rowlands, Joseph; Landauer, Jeff (2001). "Esthetics". Importance of Philosophy. Retrieved October 28, 2016. 
  7. ^ "The definition of draftsman". Dictionary.com. Retrieved October 29, 2016. 
  8. ^ Perry, Lincoln (Summer 2014). "The Music of Painting". The American Scholar. 83 (3): 85. 
  9. ^ Harper, Douglas (2001–2016). "architect (n.)". Online Etymology Dictionary. Retrieved October 29, 2016. 
  10. ^ "Conceptual art". Tate. Retrieved May 14, 2017. 
  11. ^ Miller, Ann (2007). Reading bande dessinée : critical approaches to French-language comic strip. p. 23. "ISBN "9781841501772. "OCLC 939254581. 
  12. ^ Honderich, Ted (2006). The Oxford companion to philosophy. Oxford University Press. "doi:10.1093/acref/9780199264797.001.0001. "ISBN "9780199264797. "OCLC 180031201. 
  13. ^ Harper, Douglas (2001–2016). "theater (n.)". Online Etymology Dictionary. Retrieved October 29, 2016. 
  14. ^ Harper, Douglas (2001–2016). "dance (n.)". Online Etymology Dictionary. Retrieved October 29, 2016. 
  15. ^ "The New Face of French Gastronomy - Knowledge@Wharton". Knowledge.wharton.upenn.edu. 2013-12-20. Retrieved 2018-05-08. 
  16. ^ "applied art" in The Oxford Dictionary of Art. Online edition. "Oxford University Press, 2004. www.oxfordreference.com. Retrieved 23 November 2013.
  17. ^ "Applied art | Define Applied art at". Dictionary.com. Retrieved 2018-05-08. 
  18. ^ a b Parker, Felan (December 12, 2012). "An Art World for Artgames". Loading... 7 (11). "ISSN 1923-2691. 
  19. ^ Borowiecki, Karol J.; Prieto-Rodriguez, Juan (2015). "Video Games Playing: A substitute for cultural consumptions?". Journal of Cultural Economics. 39 (3): 239–258. "doi:10.1007/s10824-014-9229-y. 
  20. ^ "National Endowment for the Arts

Further reading[edit]

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