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Portal:Arts

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The Arts Portal


The Parthenon

The Parthenon on top of the Acropolis, Athens, Greece

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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Temple at Phile
Egyptian temples were built for the official worship of the gods and commemoration of pharaohs in ancient Egypt. Within them the Egyptians performed the central functions of Egyptian religion: giving offerings to the gods, reenacting their mythological interactions through festivals, and warding off the forces of chaos. These rituals were seen as necessary for the gods to continue to uphold the divine order of the universe. Most of the populace was forbidden from entering temples' most sacred areas, but temples were still important religious sites for all classes of Egyptians. Temples are among the largest and most enduring examples of Egyptian architecture, with their elements arranged and decorated according to complex patterns of religious symbolism. A large temple owned sizable tracts of land and employed thousands of laymen to supply its needs. Some temples have become world-famous tourist attractions that contribute significantly to the modern Egyptian economy. Egyptologists continue to study the surviving temples, as they are invaluable sources of information about ancient Egyptian society.

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"I did not raise my girl to be a voter"Credit: Cartoon: Merle De Vore Johnson; Restoration: Adam Cuerden

"I did not raise my girl to be a voter": A 1915 parody from Puck of the anti-World War I protest song "I Didn't Raise My Boy to Be a Soldier" with the context altered to women's suffrage. A conductor labeled "political boss" leads a lone female soloist surrounded by a male chorus with various labels including "procurer", "child labor employer", and "sweat shop owner". Arguments in favor of granting women the right to vote included the contention that female voters would support laws that reduced prostitution, labor abuses, and other perceived social evils. The fight for women's suffrage in the United States began in the 1830s, and concluded with the passage of the Nineteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution on August 18, 1920.

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Polyphemus Eleusis

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André Kertész
André Kertész (1894–1985) was a Hungarian-born photographer distinguished by his photographic composition and by his early efforts in developing the photo essay. In the early years of his lengthy career, his then-unorthodox camera angles, and his unwillingness to compromise his personal photographic style, prevented his work from gaining wider recognition. Even towards the end of his life, Kertész did not feel he had gained worldwide recognition. The first photographer to have an exposition devoted to his work, he is recognized as one of the seminal figures of photojournalism, if not photography as a whole. Dedicated by his family to work as a stock broker, Kertész was an autodidact and his early work was mostly published in magazines. The imminent threat of WWII pushed him to immigrate to the United States, where he had a more difficult life and needed to rebuild his reputation through commissioned work. He would take offense with several editors that he felt did not recognize his work. In the 1940s and '50s he stopped working for magazines and began to achieve greater international success. Despite the numerous awards he collected over the years, he still felt unrecognized, a sentiment which did not change even at the time of his death. His career is generally divided into four periods – the Hungarian period, the French period, the American period and, towards the end of his life, the International period.

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Instrumental version of the most famous song from the 1921 musical Shuffle Along, recorded during its original Broadway run. Later used as a presidential campaign song for Harry Truman.

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Francis Ford Coppola

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