Portal:Visual arts

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THE VISUAL ARTS PORTAL

Introduction

Vincent van Gogh painting The Church at Auvers from 1890 gray church against blue sky
The Church at Auvers, an oil painting by Vincent van Gogh (1890)

The visual arts are art forms such as painting, drawing, printmaking, sculpture, ceramics, photography, video, filmmaking, design, crafts, and architecture. Many artistic disciplines, such as performing arts, conceptual art, and textile arts, also involve aspects of the visual arts as well as arts of other types. Also included within the visual arts are the applied arts, such as industrial design, graphic design, fashion design, interior design, and decorative art.

Current usage of the term "visual arts" includes fine art as well as applied or decorative arts and crafts, but this was not always the case. Before the Arts and Crafts Movement in Britain and elsewhere at the turn of the 20th century, the term 'artist' had for some centuries often been restricted to a person working in the fine arts (such as painting, sculpture, or printmaking) and not the decorative arts, crafts, or applied visual arts media. The distinction was emphasized by artists of the Arts and Crafts Movement, who valued vernacular art forms as much as high forms. Art schools made a distinction between the fine arts and the crafts, maintaining that a craftsperson could not be considered a practitioner of the arts. The increasing tendency to privilege painting, and to a lesser degree sculpture, above other arts has been a feature of Western art as well as East Asian art. In both regions, painting has been seen as relying to the highest degree on the imagination of the artist and being the furthest removed from manual labour – in Chinese painting, the most highly valued styles were those of "scholar-painting", at least in theory practiced by gentleman amateurs. The Western hierarchy of genres reflected similar attitudes. (Full article...)

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San Lorenzo Colossal Head 4, now at the Museo de Antropología de Xalapa

The Olmec colossal heads are stone representations of human heads sculpted from large basalt boulders. They range in height from 1.17 to 3.4 metres (3.8 to 11.2 ft). The heads date from at least 900 BC and are a distinctive feature of the Olmec civilization of ancient Mesoamerica. All portray mature individuals with fleshy cheeks, flat noses, and slightly-crossed eyes; their physical characteristics correspond to a type that is still common among the inhabitants of Tabasco and Veracruz. The backs of the monuments often are flat. The boulders were brought from the Sierra de Los Tuxtlas mountains of Veracruz. Given that the extremely large slabs of stone used in their production were transported over large distances (over 150 kilometres (93 mi)), requiring a great deal of human effort and resources, it is thought that the monuments represent portraits of powerful individual Olmec rulers. Each of the known examples has a distinctive headdress. The heads were variously arranged in lines or groups at major Olmec centres, but the method and logistics used to transport the stone to these sites remain unclear. They all display distinctive headgear and one theory is that these were worn as protective helmets, maybe worn for war or to take part in a ceremonial Mesoamerican ballgame. The discovery of the first colossal head at Tres Zapotes in 1862 by José María Melgar y Serrano was not well documented nor reported outside of Mexico.

The excavation of the same colossal head by Matthew Stirling in 1938 spurred the first archaeological investigations of Olmec culture. Seventeen confirmed examples are known from four sites within the Olmec heartland on the Gulf Coast of Mexico. Most colossal heads were sculpted from spherical boulders but two from San Lorenzo Tenochtitlán were re-carved from massive stone thrones. An additional monument, at Takalik Abaj in Guatemala, is a throne that may have been carved from a colossal head. This is the only known example from outside the Olmec heartland. (Full article...)
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Fantasy coffin
Fantasy coffin
Fantasy coffin
Credit: Coffin artist: Kudjoe Affutu; Photographer: Regula Tschumi
Fantasy coffin built by Kudjoe Affutu, the main part of Saâdane Afif's exhibition Anthologie de l'humour noir in the Centre Pompidou.

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I try to apply colors like words that shape poems, like notes that shape music.
Joan Miró, unknown


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Isobel Rae (18 August 1860 – 16 March 1940) was an Australian-born impressionist painter who lived and worked most of her life in Europe.

After training at Melbourne's National Gallery of Victoria Art School, where she studied alongside Frederick McCubbin and Jane Sutherland, Rae travelled to France in 1887 with her family, and spent most of the rest of her life there. A longstanding member of the Étaples art colony, Rae lived in or near the village of Étaples from the 1890s until the 1930s. During that period, Rae exhibited her paintings at the Royal Society of British Artists, the Society of Oil Painters, and the Paris Salon. During World War I, she was a member of the Voluntary Aid Detachment and worked throughout the war in Étaples Army Base Camp. She and Jessie Traill were the only Australian women to live and paint in France during the war, however they were not included in their country's first group of official war artists. Following Hitler's rise to power, Rae moved to south-eastern England, where she died in 1940. (Full article...)
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