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Portal:Arts

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The Arts Portal


An artist's palette

An artist's palette


The arts refers to the theory and physical expression of creativity found in human cultures and societies. Major constituents of the arts include visual arts (including architecture, ceramics, drawing, filmmaking, painting, photography, and sculpting), literature (including fiction, drama, poetry, and prose), and performing arts (including dance, music, and theatre).

Some art forms combine a visual element with performance (e.g., cinematography), or artwork with the written word (e.g., comics). From prehistoric cave paintings to modern-day films, art serves as a vessel for storytelling and conveying humankind's relationship with the environment.

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Tomb of Philippe Pot, governor of Burgundy under Louis XI
Funerary art is any work of art forming, or placed in, a repository for the remains of the dead. Tomb is a general term for the repository, while grave goods are objects—other than the primary human remains—which have been placed inside. Such objects may include the personal possessions of the deceased, objects specially created for the burial, or miniature versions of things believed to be needed in an afterlife. Knowledge of many non-literate cultures is drawn largely from these sources. Funerary art can serve many cultural functions. It can play a role in burial rites, serve as an article for use by the dead in the afterlife, and celebrate the life and accomplishments of the dead, whether as part of kinship-centered practices of ancestor veneration or as a publicly directed dynastic display. It can also function as a reminder of the mortality of humankind, as an expression of cultural values and roles, and help to propitiate the spirits of the dead, maintaining their benevolence and preventing their unwelcome intrusion into the affairs of the living. The deposit of objects with an apparent aesthetic intention may go back to the Neanderthals over 50,000 years ago, and is found in almost all subsequent cultures—the Hindu culture, which has little, is a notable exception. Many of the best-known artistic creations of past cultures—from the Egyptian pyramids and the Tutankhamun treasure to the Terracotta Army surrounding the tomb of the Qin Emperor, the Mausoleum of Halicarnassus, the Sutton Hoo ship burial and the Taj Mahal—are tombs or objects found in and around them.

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Ancient Mexican calendarCredit: Artist: A. de Leon y Gama; Restoration: Garrondo/Lise Broer

An illustration depicting an ancient Mexican calendar. The Maya and Aztec calendars are the most familiar of the Mexican calendars, but similar ones were used by other cultures. Common to all Mesoamerican cultures was the 260-day ritual calendar that had no confirmed correlation to astronomical or agricultural cycles. These were used in combination with a separate 365-day calendar to create a 52-year cycle known as a calendar round.

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John Douglas
John Douglas (1830–1911) was an English architect who designed about 500 buildings in Cheshire, North Wales and northwest England, in particular in the estate of Eaton Hall. Douglas' output included the creation, restoration and renovation of churches, church furnishings, houses and other buildings.

His architectural styles were eclectic and many of his works incorporate elements of the English Gothic style. He was also influenced by architectural styles from the mainland of Europe and included elements of French, German and Netherlandish architecture into his works.

Douglas is remembered for his use of half-timbering, tile-hanging, pargeting, decorative brick in diapering and the design of tall chimney stacks. Of particular importance is Douglas' use of joinery and highly detailed wood carving. Throughout his career he attracted commissions from wealthy landowners and industrialists.

Most of Douglas' works have survived. The city of Chester contains a number of his structures, the most admired of which are his half-timbered black-and-white buildings and Eastgate Clock. The highest concentration of his work is found in the Eaton Hall estate and the surrounding villages of Eccleston, Aldford and Pulford.

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