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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Gaetano Donizetti
L'ange de Nisida (The Angel of Nisida) is an opera semiseria in four acts by Italian composer Gaetano Donizetti (pictured), from a libretto by Alphonse Royer and Gustave Vaëz. Parts of the libretto are considered analogous with the libretto for Giovanni Pacini's Adelaide e Comingio, and the final scene is based on the François-Thomas-Marie de Baculard d'Arnaud play Les Amants malheureux, ou le comte de Comminges. Donizetti worked on the opera in the autumn of 1839—its final page is dated 27 December 1839. Because the subject matter involved the mistress of a Neapolitan king, and may thus have caused difficulties with the Italian censors, Donizetti decided that the opera should be presented in France. However, the theater company Donizetti contracted went bankrupt. L'ange was never performed and was reworked as La favorite in September 1840.

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Kuna woman selling molas
Credit: Photo: Markus Leupold-Löwenthal

A Kuna woman selling molas, a textile art form used to make the clothing typically worn by Kuna women. The Kuna are an indigenous people of Panama and Colombia, with a total population of about 50,000. The greatest number of Kuna people live on small islands in the comarca of Kuna Yala.

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Fred Rowntree

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  • January 18: Rape-accused Russian political artist Pyotr Pavlensky to seek asylum in France
  • January 14: Fighter jet crashes during Children's Day airshow in Thailand
  • January 12: Artist who changed Hollywood sign to 'Hollyweed' surrenders to authorities
  • January 6: Indian actor Om Puri dies
  • January 3: Hollywood sign modified to read 'Hollyweed'
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Priest in Fribourg, c. 1860s
Pierre Rossier was a pioneering Swiss photographer whose albumen photographs, which include stereographs and cartes-de-visite, comprise portraits, cityscapes and landscapes. He was commissioned by the London firm of Negretti and Zambra to travel to Asia and document the progress of the Anglo-French troops in the Second Opium War and, although he failed to join that military expedition, he remained in Asia for several years, producing the first commercial photographs of China, the Philippines, Japan and Siam (now Thailand). He was the first professional photographer in Japan, where he trained Ueno Hikoma, Maeda Genzō, Horie Kuwajirō, as well as lesser known members of the first generation of Japanese photographers. In Switzerland he established photographic studios in Fribourg and Einsiedeln, and he also produced images elsewhere in the country. Rossier is an important figure in the early history of photography not only because of his own images, but also because of the critical impact of his teaching in the early days of Japanese photography.

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The toccata from L'Orfeo, composed by Claudio Monteverdi in 1607. Performed by Trisdee and the Bangkok Baroque Ensemble.

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Salvador Dalí
Salvador Dalí, People (September 27, 1976)
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