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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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Funerary Monument to Sir John Hawkwood
The Funerary Monument to Sir John Hawkwood is a fresco by Paolo Uccello, commemorating English condottiero John Hawkwood, commissioned in 1436 for the Florence Cathedral. The fresco is an important example of art commemorating a soldier-for-hire in the Italian peninsula and is a seminal work in the development of perspective. The politics of the commissioning and recommissioning of the fresco have been analyzed and debated by historians. The fresco is often cited as a form of "Florentine propaganda" for its appropriation of a foreign soldier of fortune as a Florentine hero and for its implied promise to other condottieri of the potential rewards of serving Florence. The fresco has also been interpreted as a product of internal political competition between the Albizzi and Medici factions in Renaissance Florence, due to the latter's modification of the work's symbolism and iconography during its recommissioning. The fresco is the oldest extant and authenticated work of Uccello, and from a relatively well-known aspect of his career compared to the periods before and after its creation. The fresco has been restored (once by Lorenzo di Credi, who added the frame) and is now detached from the wall; it has been repositioned twice, in modern times.

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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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Photo of Sylvanus G. Morley, circa 1912
Sylvanus Morley was an American archaeologist, epigrapher and Mayanist scholar who made significant contributions towards the study of the pre-Columbian Maya civilization in the early 20th century. He is particularly noted for his extensive excavations of the Maya site of Chichen Itza. He also published several large compilations and treatises on Maya hieroglyphic writing, and wrote popular accounts on the Maya for a general audience. To his contemporaries he was one of the leading Mesoamerican archaeologists of his day; although more recent developments in the field have resulted in a re-evaluation of his theories and works, his publications (particularly on calendric inscriptions) are still cited. Overall, his commitment and enthusiasm for Maya studies would generate the interest and win the necessary sponsorship and backing to finance projects which would ultimately reveal much about the Maya of former times. His involvement in clandestine espionage activities at the behest of the U.S. Office of Naval Intelligence was another, surprising, aspect of his career, which came to light only well after his death.

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La marcha real (The Royal March), the National Anthem of Spain, performed by the United States Navy Band. It is one of the oldest national anthems in the world as it was adopted in 1770, though, due to its age, the composer is unknown. It is also one of the few national anthems without words.

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