Portal:Arts

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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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Gabriel Fauré
The piano music of Gabriel Fauré is among his best known work. Written between the 1860s and the 1920s, Fauré's major sets of piano works are thirteen nocturnes, thirteen barcarolles, six impromptus and four valses-caprices. These sets display the change in his style, over the decades, from uncomplicated youthful charm to a final enigmatic but sometimes fiery introspection, by way of a turbulent period in his middle years. His other notable piano pieces, including shorter works, or collections composed or published as a set, are Romances sans paroles, Ballade in F major, Mazurka in B major, Thème et variations in C major, and Huit pièces brèves. For piano duet, Fauré composed the Dolly Suite and, together with his friend and former pupil André Messager, an exuberant parody of Wagner in the short suite Souvenirs de Bayreuth. Much of the ambidextrous Fauré's piano music is difficult to play, but it is rarely virtuoso in style. The composer disliked showy display, and the predominant characteristic of his piano music is a classical restraint and understatement.

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General Art and Industrial Exposition of Stockholm (1897)
Credit: Photochrom: Photoglob Zürich; Restoration: Lise Broer

A photochrom print of the General Art and Industrial Exposition of Stockholm complex on the island of Djurgården, located in central Stockholm, Sweden. Several of the structures built for the 1897 World's Fair still remain on the western part of the island, including Djurgårdsbron, the main bridge to the island; the Skansens Bergbana, the funicular railway now in the Skansen open air museum and zoo; and the Nordic Museum.

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Gertrude Stein photographed by Carl Van Vechten, 1935

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John Douglas
John Douglas (1830–1911) was an English architect who designed about 500 buildings in Cheshire, North Wales and northwest England, in particular in the estate of Eaton Hall. Douglas' output included the creation, restoration and renovation of churches, church furnishings, houses and other buildings. His architectural styles were eclectic and many of his works incorporate elements of the English Gothic style. He was also influenced by architectural styles from the mainland of Europe and included elements of French, German and Netherlandish architecture into his works. He is remembered for his use of half-timbering, tile-hanging, pargeting, decorative brick in diapering and the design of tall chimney stacks. Of particular importance is Douglas' use of joinery and highly detailed wood carving. Throughout his career he attracted commissions from wealthy landowners and industrialists. Most of his works have survived. The city of Chester contains a number of his structures, the most admired of which are his half-timbered black-and-white buildings and Eastgate Clock. The highest concentration of his work is found in the Eaton Hall estate and the surrounding villages of Eccleston, Aldford and Pulford.

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The 11th-century "Victimae Paschali Laudes", traditionally attributed to Wipo of Burgundy, is one of the few traditional Latin "sequences" still used by the Roman Catholic Church today.

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Leonard Baskin, Publishers Weekly (April 5, 1965)

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