Portal:Arts

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The Arts Portal


An artist's palette

An artist's palette

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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The Laima Clock with the Freedom Monument visible in the background
The Freedom Monument is a memorial, located in Riga, Latvia, in honor of soldiers killed in action during the Latvian War of Independence. It is considered an important symbol of the freedom, independence and sovereignty of Latvia. Unveiled in 1935, the 42-metre (138 ft) high monument of granite, travertine and copper often serves as the focal point of public gatherings and official ceremonies. The sculptures and bas-reliefs of the Freedom Monument, arranged in thirteen groups, depict Latvian culture and history. The core of the monument is composed of tetragonal shapes on top of each other, decreasing in size towards the top, completed by a 19-metre (62 ft) high travertine column bearing the copper figure of Liberty lifting three gilded stars. After several contests the monument was finally built at the beginning of the 1930s according to the scheme "Shine like a star!" by Latvian sculptor Kārlis Zāle. During World War II Latvia was annexed by the USSR and the Freedom Monument was considered for demolition, but no such move was carried out. Soviet sculptor Vera Mukhina is sometimes credited with the rescue of the monument, possibly because she considered it to be of the highest artistic value. It remained a symbol of national independence to the general public and on 14 June 1987 about 5,000 people gathered there to commemorate the victims of the Soviet regime and to lay flowers. This rally began the national independence movement and three years later the independence of Latvia was re-established.

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"After the war, a medal and maybe a job"
Credit: Artist: John French Sloan; Restoration: Lise Broer

"After the war, a medal and maybe a job", an anti-World War I editorial cartoon showing a soldier who is missing the lower half of his body dragging himself along with his hands, with his intestines trailing behind him. A fat capitalist sitting in a chair offers him a medal for his service.

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Montecito Apartments, Hollywood, California

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Holkham Hall
Matthew Brettingham (1699–1769) was an 18th-century Englishman who rose from humble origins to supervise the construction of Holkham Hall, and eventually became one of the country's better-known architects of his generation. Much of his principal work has since been demolished, particularly his work in London, where he revolutionised the design of the grand townhouse. As a result he is often overlooked today, remembered only for his Palladian remodeling of numerous country houses, many of them situated in the East Anglian area of Britain. As Brettingham neared the pinnacle of his career, Palladianism began to fall out of fashion and neoclassicism was introduced, championed by a young Robert Adam. Brettingham was the second son of Launcelot Brettingham, a bricklayer or stonemason from Norwich, the county town of Norfolk, England.

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Frank C. Stanley's 1910 performance of Robert Burns' Auld Lang Syne. Contains the first and last verse.

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