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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House with Chimaeras front façade
The House with Chimaeras is a major Art Nouveau building in Kiev, the capital of Ukraine. It was built in the period of 1901–1902 by noted architect Vladislav Gorodetsky, who was regarded as the Gaudí of Kiev. The building derives its popular name from its ornate decorations depicting various scenes of exotic animals and hunting scenes, as Gorodetsky was an avid hunter. It is situated on No. 10, Bankova Street, across from the President of Ukraine's office in the historic Pechersk neighborhood. Since 2005 it has been used as a presidential residence for official and diplomatic ceremonies.

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Injured soldiers in the Crimean WarCredit: 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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Portrait of Charles Holden by Benjamin Nelson, 1910
Charles Holden (1875–1960) was an English architect better known for designing many London Underground stations during the 1920s and 1930s, for Bristol Central Library, the Underground Electric Railways Company of London's headquarters at 55 Broadway and for the University of London's Senate House. He also created many war cemeteries in Belgium and northern France for the Imperial War Graves Commission. His architecture is widely viewed and appreciated. He won the Royal Institute of British Architects' Royal Gold Medal for architecture in 1936 and was appointed a Royal Designer for Industry in 1943. His station designs for London Underground became the corporation's standard design influencing designs by all architects working for the organisation in the 1930s. Many of his buildings have been granted listed building status, protecting them from unapproved alteration. Due to his modesty and belief in the team effort of his fellow architects, he declined twice the offer of a knighthood.

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