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Portal:Arts

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The arts is a vast subdivision of culture, composed of many creative endeavors and disciplines. It is a broader term than "art", which, as a description of a field, usually means only the visual arts. The arts encompass the visual arts, the literary arts and the performing artsmusic, theatre, dance and film, among others. This list is by no means comprehensive, but only meant to introduce the concept of the arts. For all intents and purposes, the history of the arts begins with the history of art. The arts might have origins in early human evolutionary prehistory.

Ancient Greek art saw the veneration of 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 (e.g. Jupiter's 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. Paradoxically the expressions of new technologies were greatly influenced by the ancient tribal arts of Africa and Oceania, through the works of Paul Gauguin and the Post-Impressionists, Pablo Picasso and the Cubists, as well as the Futurists and others.

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Hieroglyphs from the tomb of Seti I
Ancient Egyptian literature was written in the Egyptian language from Ancient Egypt's pharaonic period until the end of Roman domination. Along with Sumerian literature, it is considered the world's earliest literature. Writing in Ancient Egypt first appeared in the late 4th millennium BC. By the Old Kingdom, literary works included funerary texts, epistles and letters, religious hymns and poems, and commemorative autobiographical texts. It was not until the early Middle Kingdom that a narrative Egyptian literature was created. Middle Egyptian, the spoken language of the Middle Kingdom, became a classical language during the New Kingdom, when the vernacular language known as Late Egyptian first appeared in writing. Scribes of the New Kingdom canonized and copied many literary texts written in Middle Egyptian, which remained the language used for oral readings of sacred hieroglyphic texts. Ancient Egyptian literature has been preserved on a wide variety of media, including papyrus scrolls and packets, limestone or ceramic ostraca, wooden writing boards, monumental stone edifices and coffins. Hidden caches of literature, buried for thousands of years, have been discovered in settlements on the dry desert margins of Egyptian civilization.

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Hohenzollern BridgeCredit: Photo: Thomas Wolf

The Hohenzollern Bridge crossing the Rhine in Cologne, Germany, with the Cologne Cathedral in the background. The bridge is a tied-arch railway bridge, as well as a pedestrian bridge. Originally built in 1911, it survived numerous Allied bombings in World War II, only to be destroyed by German engineers as the war drew to a close. Reconstruction began soon after and the bridge was opened to pedestrian traffic in 1948 then completely opened in 1959.

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Priest in Fribourg, c. 1860s
Pierre Rossier was a pioneering Swiss photographer whose albumen photographs, which include stereographs and cartes-de-visite, comprise portraits, cityscapes and landscapes. He was commissioned by the London firm of Negretti and Zambra to travel to Asia and document the progress of the Anglo-French troops in the Second Opium War and, although he failed to join that military expedition, he remained in Asia for several years, producing the first commercial photographs of China, the Philippines, Japan and Siam (now Thailand). He was the first professional photographer in Japan, where he trained Ueno Hikoma, Maeda Genzō, Horie Kuwajirō, as well as lesser known members of the first generation of Japanese photographers. In Switzerland he established photographic studios in Fribourg and Einsiedeln, and he also produced images elsewhere in the country. Rossier is an important figure in the early history of photography not only because of his own images, but also because of the critical impact of his teaching in the early days of Japanese photography.

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Movement V of Suite du Premier Ton (Suite in C major) from Louis-Nicolas Clérambault's 1710 set of compositions, Livre d'Orgue, performed by Ashtar Moïra.

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Leonard Baskin, Publishers Weekly (April 5, 1965)

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