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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Runestone U 201
The Greece Runestones comprise about 30 runestones containing information related to voyages made by Norsemen to "Greece", which referred to the Byzantine Empire. They were made during the Viking Age and until c. 1100. The stones were engraved in the Old Norse language with Scandinavian runes. All of the stones were found in modern-day Sweden, and the majority reside in Uppland (18 runestones) and Södermanland (7 runestones). Most of the stones were carved in memory of members of the Varangian Guard who never returned home, but a few stones mention men who returned with wealth. The only group of runestones that refer to expeditions abroad that are comparable in number are those that mention expeditions to England, the England Runestones. The stones vary in size from the small whetstone from Timans, to the boulder in Ed which is 18 m (59 ft) in circumference. Most of them are adorned with various runestone styles that were in use during the 11th century, and especially styles that were part of the Ringerike style (eight or nine stones) and the Urnes style (eight stones). The runestones have been continuously identified by scholars beginning with Johannes Bureus in the late 16th century, with many stones discovered during a national search for historic monuments in the late 17th century.

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Injured soldiers in the Crimean War
Credit: Artist: William Simpson; Lithographer: Edmond Morin; Restoration: NativeForeigner

A tinted lithograph, titled "Embarkation of the sick at Balaklava", shows injured and ill soldiers in the Crimean War boarding boats to take them to hospital facilities. Modern nursing had its roots in the war, as war correspondents for newspapers reported the scandalous treatment of wounded soldiers in the first desperate winter, prompting the pioneering work of women such as Florence Nightingale, Mary Seacole, Frances Margaret Taylor and others.

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Ichikawa Danjūrō I as Takenuki Goro

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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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Giuseppe Verdi. Portrait by Giovanni Boldini, 1886

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