Portal:The arts

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The arts or creative arts are a wide range of human practices of creative expression, storytelling, and cultural participation. They encompass multiple diverse and plural modes of thinking, doing, and being, in an extremely broad range of media. Both dynamic and a characteristically constant feature of human life, they have developed into innovative, stylized, and sometimes intricate forms. This is often achieved through sustained and deliberate study, training, and/or theorizing within a particular tradition, across generations, and even between civilizations. The arts are a vehicle through which human beings cultivate distinct social, cultural, and individual identities while transmitting values, impressions, judgements, ideas, visions, spiritual meanings, patterns of life, and experiences across time and space.

Prominent examples of the arts include:

They can employ skill and imagination to produce objects and performances, convey insights and experiences, and construct new environments and spaces.

The arts can refer to common, popular, or everyday practices as well as more sophisticated, systematic, or institutionalized ones. They can be discrete and self-contained or combine and interweave with other art forms, such as the combination of artwork with the written word in comics. They can also develop or contribute to some particular aspect of a more complex art form, as in cinematography. By definition, the arts themselves are open to being continually redefined. The practice of modern art, for example, is a testament to the shifting boundaries, improvisation and experimentation, reflexive nature, and self-criticism or questioning that art and its conditions of production, reception, and possibility can undergo.

As both a means of developing capacities of attention and sensitivity and as ends in themselves, the arts can simultaneously be a form of response to the world and a way that our responses and what we deem worthwhile goals or pursuits are transformed. From prehistoric cave paintings to ancient and contemporary forms of ritual to modern-day films, art has served to register, embody, and preserve our ever-shifting relationships to each other and to the world. (Full article...)

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The Ugly Duchess
The Ugly Duchess
A 1513 portrait of an unknown Duchess, perhaps Margaret, Countess of Tyrol, by Flemish artist Quentin Matsys. She holds a red flower in her right hand, at the time a symbol of engagement, indicating that she is trying to attract a suitor. This portrait inspired the appearance of the Duchess in Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. The painting is Matsys' best-known work, and developed half of a diptych. The painting is in the National Gallery in London.

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Self-portrait of Mary Cassat

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Portrait of Henry, Prince of Wales, and John Harington, by Robert Peake the Elder

Robert Peake the Elder (c. 1551–1619) was an English painter active in the later part of Elizabeth I's reign and for most of the reign of James I. In 1604, he was appointed picture maker to the heir to the throne, Prince Henry, and in 1607, serjeant-painter to King James I, a post he shared with John De Critz. Peake is often called "the elder", to distinguish him from his son, the painter and print seller William Peake (c. 1580–1639) and from his grandson, Sir Robert Peake (c. 1605–1667), who followed his father into the family print-selling business. Peake was the only English-born painter of a group of four artists whose workshops were closely connected. The others were De Critz, Marcus Gheeraerts the Younger, and the miniature-painter Isaac Oliver. Between 1590 and about 1625, they specialised in brilliantly coloured, full-length "costume pieces" (example pictured) that are unique to England at this time. It is not always possible to attribute authorship among Peake, De Critz, Gheeraerts and their assistants with certainty. (Full article...)

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Marcel Duchamp, The Creative Act (1957)

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