Portal:Arts

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The arts is a vast subdivision of culture, composed of many creative endeavors and disciplines. It is a broader term than "art", which, as a description of a field, usually means only the visual arts. The arts encompass the visual arts, the literary arts and the performing artsmusic, theatre, dance and film, among others. This list is by no means comprehensive, but only meant to introduce the concept of the arts. For all intents and purposes, the history of the arts begins with the history of art. The arts might have origins in early human evolutionary prehistory.

Ancient Greek art saw 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. Jupiter's 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. The physical and rational certainties depicted by the 19th-century Enlightenment were shattered not only by new discoveries of relativity by Einstein and of unseen psychology by Freud, but also by unprecedented technological development. Paradoxically the expressions of new technologies were greatly influenced by the ancient tribal arts of Africa and Oceania, through the works of Paul Gauguin and the Post-Impressionists, Pablo Picasso and the Cubists, as well as the Futurists and others.

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Featured article

Harris Theater (left) and The Heritage at Millennium Park (right) viewed from Randolph Street
The Joan W. and Irving B. Harris Theater for Music and Dance is a 1525-seat theater for the performing arts located along the northern edge of Millennium Park in the Loop community area of Chicago. The theater was named for its primary benefactors, Joan and Irving Harris. It serves as the Park's indoor performing venue, a complement to Jay Pritzker Pavilion, which hosts the park's outdoor performances. Constructed in 2002–03, it is the city's premier performance venue for small- and medium-sized music and dance groups. It provides subsidized rental, technical expertise, and marketing support for the companies using it, and turned a profit in its fourth fiscal year. The Harris Theater has hosted notable national and international performers, such as the New York City Ballet's first visit to Chicago in over 25 years (in 2006). Performances have included the San Francisco Ballet, Mikhail Baryshnikov, and Stephen Sondheim. The theater has been credited as contributing to the performing arts renaissance in Chicago, and has been favourably reviewed for its acoustics, sightlines, proscenium and for providing a home for numerous performing organisations.

Featured picture

The Ugly Duchess
Credit: Quentin Matsys

A 1513 portrait of an unknown Duchess, possibly Margaret, Countess of Tyrol, by Flemish painter Quentin Matsys. She holds a red flower in her right hand, at the time a symbol of engagement, indicating that she is trying to attract a suitor. This portrait inspired the appearance of the Duchess in Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. The portrait is Matsys' best-known work, and formed half of a diptych. The painting is in the National Gallery in London.

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Polyphemus Eleusis

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Featured biography

1885 hand-coloured albumen silver print by Farsari of three Maiko posing on an engawa
Adolfo Farsari (1841–1898) was an Italian photographer based in Yokohama, Japan. Following a brief military career, including service in the American Civil War, he became a successful entrepreneur and commercial photographer. His photographic work was highly regarded, particularly his hand-coloured portraits and landscapes, which he sold mostly to foreign residents and visitors to the country. Farsari's images were widely distributed, presented or mentioned in books and periodicals, and sometimes recreated by artists in other media; they shaped foreign perceptions of the people and places of Japan and to some degree affected how Japanese saw themselves and their country. His studio – the last notable foreign-owned studio in Japan – was one of the country's largest and most prolific commercial photographic firms. Largely due to Farsari's exacting technical standards and his entrepreneurial abilities it had a significant influence on the development of photography in Japan.

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"Lo, How a Rose E'er Blooming", an 1894 English translation of the 16th-century German Christmas carol, "Es ist ein Ros entsprungen". Performed by the chorus of the U.S. Army Band, c. 2010.

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Karel Čapek
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