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      Visual Arts

      These are the arts that meet the eye and evoke an emotion through an expression of skill and imagination. They include the most ancient forms, such as painting and drawing, and the arts that were born thanks to the development of technology, like sculpture, printmaking, photography, and installation art, the latter a combination of multiple creative expressions. Though beauty is in the eye of the beholder, different eras in art history have had their own principles to define beauty, from the richly ornamented taste of the Baroque to the simple, utilitarian style of the Prairie School.
      Browse Subcategories

      Featured content, September 28, 2020

      What’s the Difference Between Modern and Contemporary Art?
      Is that odd installation piece that rains on you when you get near it modern or contemporary art? Here are some tips on how...
      Demystified / Visual Arts
      The Jeff Koons tulips sculputure outside the Guggenheim Museums in Bilbao, Spain, Basque Country.
      Street Photography: How a Single Camera Brought About a Genre
      The invention of the Leica camera allowed photographers to move through the streets and capture moments that come and go...
      Companion / Visual Arts
      vintage Leica photo camera at KPI Museum, July 24, 2015, in Kiev, Ukraine
      10 Famous Artworks by Leonardo da Vinci
      Of the few surviving works by Leonardo da Vinci, which ones are the most famous?
      List / Visual Arts
      Leonardo da Vinci (1452-1519), Italian Renaissance painter from Florence. Engraving by Cosomo Colombini (d. 1812) after a Leonardo self portrait. Ca. 1500.
      The Most Stolen Work of Art
      Jan van Eyck’s Ghent Altarpiece has been stolen by Napoleon and Hitler, among others.
      #WTFact / Visual Arts
      Click on image for enlargements of panel sections. The Ghent Altarpiece (open view) by Jan and Hubert van Eyck, 1432, polyptych with 12 panels, oil on panel; in the Cathedral of Saint-Bavon, Ghent, Belg.
      Eduardo Kac
      Eduardo Kac, Brazilian American artist who was best known for his works featuring genetically altered organisms in ways that...
      Biography
      Art market
      Art market, physical or figurative venue in which art is bought and sold. At its most basic an art market requires a work...
      Encyclopedia / Visual Arts
      art market
      Oceanic art and architecture
      Oceanic art and architecture, the visual art and architecture of native Oceania, including media such as sculpture, pottery,...
      Encyclopedia / Visual Arts
      dilly bag; Aboriginal Australian art, Northern Territory, Australia
      Pop art
      Pop art, art in which commonplace objects (such as comic strips, soup cans, road signs, and hamburgers) were used as subject...
      Encyclopedia / Visual Arts
      Andy Warhol: Campbell's Soup Cans paintings

      Visual Arts Quizzes

      "Tilla Durieux" (Ottilie Goddeffroy, 1880-1971) oil on canvas by August Renoir, 1914; in the collection of the Art Institute of Chicago.
      Which Artist? Part Two Quiz
      Which artist painted Guernica? Who coped with arthritis by attaching a paintbrush to his hand? Test...
      Workmen constructing the Statue of Liberty in Frederic Auguste Bartholdi's Parisian warehouse workshop; first model; left hand and quarter-sized head. Photo by Albert Fernique, ca. 1882-83.
      Sculptors and Sculpture Quiz
      Sculpture is one of the oldest and most varied artistic forms. Test how much you know about some of the world’s most famous...
      "Madonna and Child" tempera on panel by Sandro Botticelli, c. 1470; in the collection of the National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C. (Florentine Renaissance)
      Artists of the Italian Renaissance Quiz
      Here’s a quick quiz about one of the most influential periods in the history of art. Learn how much you know about Renaissance...
      Marble sarcophagus with garlands, ca. A.D. 200-225; Severan period, Roman; in the collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. (festoon, swag)
      Textiles and Design Quiz
      How much do you know about the history of bell-bottoms? What about the origins of Hedwig glass? Test your knowledge of all...
      Drawing by Edward Lear for his poem "There was an Old Man in a tree, who was horribly bored by a bee; When they said, "Does it buzz?" he replied, "Yes, it does!" (cont'd)
      Everything in Art and Design (Part One) Quiz
      Want to learn a little about nearly everything in art and design? Start with this quiz and then keep going to the other three...
      "In the Omnibus" color drypoint and aquatint by Mary Cassatt, 1890-91; in the collection of the National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C. (Impressionism)
      Everything in Art and Design (Part Two) Quiz
      Want to learn a little about nearly everything in art and design? Take this quiz and then keep going through the other parts!
      Detail of the Chrysler Building, New York City, New York (photographed in 2007).
      Everything in Art and Design (Part Three) Quiz
      Want to learn a little about nearly everything in art and design? Start with this quiz and then keep going to the other three...
      Torii gate at entrance to a Shinto shrine on Mount Hakone, east-central Honshu, Japan. (gateways)
      Everything in Art and Design (Part Four) Quiz
      Want to learn a little about nearly everything in art and design? Start with this quiz and then keep going to the other three...
      Kathakali dancer performing on stage in Kerala, India. (dancing, performing arts)
      Another Dance Quiz
      Who pioneered the serious presentation of dance on film? What is the bedaja? Use this quiz to test...
      Isadora Duncan, ink on paper by Edmond van Saanen Algi, 1917; in the National Portrait Gallery, Washington, D.C.
      All About Dance Quiz
      You might be able to dance well, but can you answer well a few questions about dance? Figure out what you know with this...
      Image Gallery
      Visual Arts
      Never Miss a Day in History
      Sign up for daily fun facts about this day in history, updates, and special offers delivered right to your inbox.

      Visual Arts Subcategories

      Anubis weighing the soul of the scribe Ani, from the Egyptian Book of the Dead, c. 1275 bce. Architecture
      Architecture is a sphere of art and design in which functionality and aesthetics can combine to produce visually stunning structures that manage to both catch the eye and serve a functional purpose. The expansive variety of architectural styles that have been employed throughout the ages underscores the fact that not every building need look the same, a principle that is readily apparent when comparing Gothic cathedrals with igloos or pagodas with cliff dwellings. Noted architects such as Le Corbusier, Frank Lloyd Wright, I.M. Pei, Zaha Hadid, and Jeanne Gang are acclaimed not only for the striking aesthetics of their designs but also for the way in which their work reflected cultural themes and values. Although architecture is commonly associated first and foremost with the design and construction of buildings, landscape architects may work with gardens, parks, and other planned outdoor areas, aiding in the development and decorative planning of such spaces.
      Articles
      subcategory placeholder Arts Awards
      Awards such as the Praemium Imperiale and the Pritzker Prize honor artists for a job well done.
      Articles
      Scene from the Egyptian Book of the Dead. Decorative Art
      People appreciate the usefulness of things like glassware and furniture, but they appreciate such objects even more when they’re aesthetically pleasing, too. That’s where decorative art comes in. Explore the world of basketry, metalwork, pottery, interior design, tapestry, and more.
      Articles
      subcategory placeholder Fashion Design
      Looking to make a statement without even saying a word? Fashion designers know that clothing and accessories can speak volumes about the wearer, affecting both how the wearer is perceived by others and how the wearer perceives of him- or herself. The fashion industry has become a multibillion-dollar global enterprise devoted to the business of making and selling clothes; it thrives by being diverse and flexible enough to gratify any consumer's desire to embrace or even to reject fashionability, however that term might be defined.
      Articles
      Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec: Jane Avril Graphic Art
      Calligraphy, graffiti, engraving, caricature: graphic art's domain stretches as far as the eye can see. Take a look at some of the other types of graphic art, and learn more about the artists working within this category of fine arts.
      Articles
      subcategory placeholder Installation & Performance Art
      Learn about the artists who create installation art, which can incorporate a variety of different materials and artistic forms, such as sculptures, videos, and music, all with the purpose of transforming a given space. Performance artists may also make use of videos and music—as well as such varied elements as acting, poetry, dance, and painting—to create a live presentation for an audience; here, the "audience" could simply consist of onlookers on the street or patrons browsing the halls of a museum, among countless other possibilities.
      Articles
      St. George Painting
      Need help distinguishing your Picassos from your Monets? Learn about history’s celebrated painters and the different styles, techniques, mediums, and forms that have been used to create such unique visual images as Salvador Dalí’s melting clock and the ever-shifting eyes of Leonardo da Vinci’s enigmatic Mona Lisa.
      Articles
      Becher, Bernd; Becher, Hilla Photography
      Photography’s history began long before we were snapping pictures on camera phones. Learn about the masters of the craft and explore the development of photographic technology as it progressed through daguerreotypes and tintypes on the way to modern day’s increasingly sophisticated digital cameras.
      Articles
      Apollo and Daphne, marble sculpture by Gian Lorenzo Bernini, 1622–24; in the Borghese Gallery, Rome. Sculpture
      Looking to find a use for that extra clay, stone, plaster, or metal that you have lying around? Consider sculpture, in which artists employ these materials and others to create three-dimensional art. Perhaps you’ll join the ranks of noted sculptors such as Michelangelo, Auguste Rodin, and Donatello.
      Articles
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