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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St. Mary Redcliffe from the north west
The buildings and architecture of Bristol are an eclectic combination of styles, ranging from the medieval to 20th century brutalism and beyond. During the mid-19th century, Bristol Byzantine, an architectural style unique to the city was developed, of which several examples have survived. Buildings from most of the architectural periods of the United Kingdom can be seen throughout Bristol. Parts of the fortified city and castle date back to the medieval era, as do some churches dating from the 12th century onwards. As the city grew, it merged with its surrounding villages, each with its own character and centre, often clustered around a parish church. The construction of the city's floating harbour, taking in the wharves on the Avon and Frome rivers, provided a focus for industrial development and the growth of the local transport infrastructure, including the Clifton Suspension Bridge and Temple Meads railway station. The 20th century saw further expansion of the city, the growth of the University of Bristol, and the arrival of the aircraft industry. During World War II, the city centre suffered from extensive bombing during the Bristol Blitz. The redevelopment of shopping centres, office buildings, and the harbourside continues to this day.

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Giovanna degli Albizzi
Credit: Artist: Domenico Ghirlandaio

A portrait of Giovanna Tornabuoni, the daughter in law of Giovanni Tornabuoni. She was a member of the Albizzi family, who were rivals of the Medici and Alberti families, and were at the centre of Florentine oligarchy starting from 1382 in the reaction that followed the Ciompi revolt. However, after Cosimo de' Medici returned from exile in 1434 (arranged by Rinaldo degli Albizzi) and regained power, he in turn exiled all but one of the Albizzis from Florence. This painting was done around 1490, long after the Albizzis' fall from grace.

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Felice Beato
Felice Beato was a British and Italian photographer. He was one of the first photographers to take pictures in East Asia and one of the first war photographers. He is also noted for his genre works, portraits, and views and panoramas of the architecture and landscapes of Asia and the Mediterranean region. Beato's travels to many lands gave him the opportunity to create powerful and lasting images of countries, people and events that were unfamiliar and remote to most people in Europe and North America. To this day his work provides the key images of such events as the Indian Rebellion of 1857 and the Second Opium War and his photographs represent the first substantial oeuvre of what came to be called photojournalism. He had a significant impact on other photographers, and Beato's influence in Japan, where he worked with and taught numerous other photographers and artists, was particularly deep and lasting.

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