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The arts is a broad subdivision of culture, composed of many expressive disciplines. In modern usage, it is a term broader than "art", which usually means the visual arts (comprising both fine art, decorative art, and crafts). The arts encompasses visual arts, performing arts, language arts, culinary arts, and physical arts. Many artistic disciplines involve aspects of the various arts, so the definitions of these terms overlap to some degree.
The great traditions in art have a foundation in the art of the seven ancient civilizations:
- Ancient Egypt
- Ancient Greece
- Ancient Rome
- Mayas, Incas, Aztecs
Ancient Greek art saw a veneratiof 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 (i.e. Zeus' 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.
Increasing global interaction during this time saw an equivalent influence of other cultures into Western art.
The various arts
A precise definition of the arts can be contentious, but the following areas of activity usually are included:
Historically, the arts included the Artes Liberales (liberal arts) taught in medieval universities as part of the Trivium (grammar, rhetoric, and logic) and the Quadrivium (arithmetic, geometry, music, and astronomy.)
Newspapers typically include a section on the arts.
- Main article: Drawing
Drawing is a means of making an image, using any of a wide variety of tools and techniques. It generally involves making marks on a surface by applying pressure from a tool, or moving a tool across a surface. Common tools are graphite pencils, pen and ink, inked brushes, wax color pencils, crayons, charcoals, pastels, and markers. Digital tools which simulate the effects of these are also used. The main techniques used in drawing are: line drawing, hatching, crosshatching, random hatching, scribbling, stippling, and blending. An artist who excels in drawing is referred to as a draftsman or draughtsman.
- Main article: Architecture
Architecture (from Latin, architectura and ultimately from Greek, αρχιτεκτων, "a master builder", from αρχι- "chief, leader" and τεκτων, "builder, carpenter") is the art and science of designing buildings and structures.
A wider definition would include within its scope the design of the total built environment, from the macrolevel of town planning, urban design, and landscape architecture to the microlevel of creating furniture. Architectural design usually must address both feasibility and cost for the builder, as well as function and aesthetics for the user.
In modern usage, architecture is the art and discipline of creating an actual, or inferring an implied or apparent plan of any complex object or system. The term can be used to connote the implied architecture of abstract things such as music or mathematics, the apparent architecture of natural things, such as geological formations or the structure of biological cells, or explicitly planned architectures of human-made things such as software, computers, enterprises, and databases, in addition to buildings. In every usage, an architecture may be seen as a subjective mapping from a human perspective (that of the user in the case of abstract or physical artifacts) to the elements or components of some kind of structure or system, which preserves the relationships among the elements or components.
Planned architecture often manipulates space, volume, texture, light, shadow, or abstract elements in order to achieve pleasing aesthetics. This distinguishes it from applied science or engineering, which usually concentrate more on the functional and feasibility aspects of the design of constructions or structures.
In the field of building architecture, the skills demanded of an architect range from the more complex, such as for a hospital or a stadium, to the apparently simpler, such as planning residential houses. Many architectural works may be seen also as cultural and political symbols, and/or works of art. The role of the architect, though changing, has been central to the successful (and sometimes less than successful) design and implementation of pleasingly built environments in which people live.
- Main article: Painting
Painting taken literally is the practice of applying pigment suspended in a vehicle (or medium) and a binding agent (a glue) to a surface (support) such as paper, canvas ,wood panel or a wall. However, when used in an artistic sense it means the use of this activity in combination with drawing, composition and other aesthetic considerations in order to manifest the expressive and conceptual intention of the practitioner. Painting is also used to express spiritual motifs and ideas; sites of this kind of painting range from artwork depicting mythological figures on pottery to The Sistine Chapel to the human body itself.
Colour is the essence of painting as sound is of music. Colour is highly subjective, but has observable psychological effects, although these can differ from one culture to the next. Black is associated with mourning in the West, but elsewhere white may be. Some painters, theoreticians, writers and scientists, including Goethe, Kandinsky, Newton, have written their own colour theory. Moreover the use of language is only a generalisation for a colour equivalent. The word "red", for example, can cover a wide range of variations on the pure red of the spectrum. There is not a formalised register of different colours in the way that there is agreement on different notes in music, such as C or C#, although the Pantone system is widely used in the printing and design industry for this purpose.
Modern artists have extended the practice of painting considerably to include, for example, collage. This began with Cubism and is not painting in strict sense. Some modern painters incorporate different materials such as sand, cement, straw or wood for their texture. Examples of this are the works of Jean Dubuffet or Anselm Kiefer.
Modern and contemporary art has moved away from the historic value of craft in favour of concept; this has led some to say that painting, as a serious art form, is dead, although this has not deterred the majority of artists from continuing to practise it either as whole or part of their shirt.
- Main article: Language
Literature is literally "acquaintance with letters" as in the first sense given in the Oxford English Dictionary (from the Latin littera meaning "an individual written character (letter)"). The term has generally come to identify a collection of writings, which in Western culture are mainly prose, both fiction and non-fiction, drama and poetry. In much, if not all of the world, texts can be oral as well, and include such genres as epic, legend, myth, ballad, other forms of oral poetry, and the folktale.
- Main article: Performing arts
The performing arts differ from the plastic arts insofar as the former uses the artist's own body, face, presence as a medium, and the latter uses materials such as clay, metal or paint which can be molded or transformed to create some art object.
Artists who participate in these arts in front of an audience are called performers, including actors, comedians, dancers, musicians, and singers. Performing arts are also supported by workers in related fields, such as songwriting and stagecraft.
Performers often adapt their appearance, such as with costumes and stage makeup, etc.
There is also a specialized form of fine art in which the artists perform their work live to an audience. This is called Performance art. Most performance art also involves some form of plastic art, perhaps in the creation of props. Dance was often referred to as a plastic art during the Modern dance era.
- Main article: Music
Music as an academic discipline mainly focuses on two career paths, music performance (focused on the orchestra and the concert hall) and music education (training music teachers). Students learn to play instruments, but also study music theory, musicology, history of music and composition. In the liberal arts tradition, music is also used to broaden skills of non-musicians by teaching skills such as concentration and listening.
- Main article: Theatre
Theatre or theater (Greek "theatron", θέατρον) is the branch of the performing arts concerned with acting out stories in front of an audience using combinations of speech, gesture, music, dance, sound and spectacle — indeed any one or more elements of the other performing arts. In addition to the standard narrative dialogue style, theatre takes such forms as opera, ballet, mime, kabuki, classical Indian dance, Chinese opera, mummers' plays, and love.
- Main article: Dance
Dance is also used to describe methods of non-verbal communication (see body language) between humans or animals (bee dance, mating dance), motion in inanimate objects (the leaves danced in the wind), and certain musical forms or genres.
Choreography is the art of making dances, and the person who does this is called a choreographer. People danced to relieve stress.
Definitions of what constitutes dance are dependent on social, cultural, aesthetic, artistic and moral constraints and range from functional movement (such as Folk dance) to codified, virtuoso techniques such as ballet. In sports, gymnastics, figure skating and synchronized swimming are dance disciplines while Martial arts 'kata' are often compared to dances.
- Visual Arts Data Service (VADS)
- Dictionary of the history of ideas — Classification of the arts
- Open Directory — Arts
- Intute: Arts and Humanities
- Arts — New York Times
- Arts — The Times
- History of Art: From Paleolithic Age to Contemporary Art
- Art is everywherea project of awareness to stimulate the imagination through “art”
- Arts councils
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