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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.
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    Featured content, June 19, 2021

    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.
    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.
    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
    Central Asian arts
    Central Asian arts, literary, performing, and visual arts of a large portion of Asia embracing the Turkic republics (Uzbekistan,...
    Encyclopedia / Visual Arts
    Mongol shaman
    East Asian arts
    East Asian arts, the visual arts, performing arts, and music of China, Korea (North Korea and South Korea), and Japan. (The...
    Encyclopedia / Visual Arts
    Liangzhu ceremonial cong
    Art, a visual object or experience consciously created through an expression of skill or imagination. The term art encompasses...
    Encyclopedia / Visual Arts
    Leonardo da Vinci: Mona Lisa
    South Asian arts
    South Asian arts, the literary, performing, and visual arts of India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Sri Lanka. Despite a history...
    Encyclopedia / Visual Arts
    Mridanga; in the Victoria and Albert Museum, London.

    Visual Arts Quizzes

    Art Nouveau wall covering of poppies by Albert Ainsworth of machine printed on oatmeal paper made in Hackensack, New Jersey, c. 1905.
    Art at Random Quiz
    Test your knowledge of the deepest nooks and crannies of art history with this quiz.
    "Self-Portrait Etching at a Window" etching (drypoint and burin in black on ivory laid paper) by Rembrandt van Rijn, 1648; in the collection of the Art Institute of Chicago.
    Artistic Styles and Techniques Quiz
    Do you know how etching works? What was used in ancient China for drawing and lettering? Learn this and more in this quiz...
    "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 what you know...
    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...
    Image Gallery
    Visual Arts
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    Visual Arts Subcategories

    Ryue Nishizawa (left) and Kazuyo Sejima with their Serpentine Gallery Pavilion, London, 2009. 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.
    subcategory placeholder Arts Awards
    Awards such as the Praemium Imperiale and the Pritzker Prize honor artists for a job well done.
    Teatro Olimpico, designed by Andrea Palladio and completed by Vincenzo Scamozzi, 1585, Vicenza, Italy. 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.
    shoe 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.
    William Blake 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.
    Turrell, James 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.
    Vincent van Gogh: A Wheatfield, with Cypresses 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.
    Dada exhibit 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.
    subcategory placeholder 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.
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