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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 societies and cultures. Major constituents of the arts include literature (including drama, poetry, and prose), performing arts (among them dance, music, and theatre), and visual arts (including drawing, painting, filmmaking, architecture, ceramics, sculpting, and photography).

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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St. Mary Redcliffe from the north west
The buildings and architecture of Bristol are an eclectic combination of styles, ranging from the medieval to 20th century brutalism and beyond. During the mid-19th century, Bristol Byzantine, an architectural style unique to the city was developed, of which several examples have survived. Buildings from most of the architectural periods of the United Kingdom can be seen throughout Bristol. Parts of the fortified city and castle date back to the medieval era, as do some churches dating from the 12th century onwards. As the city grew, it merged with its surrounding villages, each with its own character and centre, often clustered around a parish church. The construction of the city's floating harbour, taking in the wharves on the Avon and Frome rivers, provided a focus for industrial development and the growth of the local transport infrastructure, including the Clifton Suspension Bridge and Temple Meads railway station. The 20th century saw further expansion of the city, the growth of the University of Bristol, and the arrival of the aircraft industry. During World War II, the city centre suffered from extensive bombing during the Bristol Blitz. The redevelopment of shopping centres, office buildings, and the harbourside continues to this day.

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The poilu's holidayCredit: Artist: Adolphe Willette; Restoration: Lise Broer

The poilu's holiday December 25 and 26, 1915, a French World War I poster depicting a poilu's Christmas leave from the war. "Poilu", literally meaning "hairy one", is a nickname for French infantrymen. The word carries the sense of the infantryman's typically rural, agricultural background. Beards and bushy moustaches were often worn. The image of the dogged, bearded French soldier was widely used in propaganda and war memorials.

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Fountain of Justice

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Gertrude Stein photographed by Carl Van Vechten, 1935

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André Kertész
André Kertész (1894–1985) was a Hungarian-born photographer distinguished by his photographic composition and by his early efforts in developing the photo essay.

In the early years of his lengthy career, his then-unorthodox camera angles, and his unwillingness to compromise his personal photographic style, prevented his work from gaining wider recognition. Even towards the end of his life, Kertész did not feel he had gained worldwide recognition. The first photographer to have an exposition devoted to his work, he is recognized as one of the seminal figures of photojournalism, if not photography as a whole.

Dedicated by his family to work as a stock broker, Kertész was an autodidact and his early work was mostly published in magazines. The imminent threat of WWII pushed him to immigrate to the United States, where he had a more difficult life and needed to rebuild his reputation through commissioned work. He would take offense with several editors that he felt did not recognize his work. In the 1940s and '50s he stopped working for magazines and began to achieve greater international success. Despite the numerous awards he collected over the years, he still felt unrecognized, a sentiment which did not change even at the time of his death.

His career is generally divided into four periods – the Hungarian period, the French period, the American period and, towards the end of his life, the International period.

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La marcha real (The Royal March), the National Anthem of Spain, performed by the United States Navy Band. It is one of the oldest national anthems in the world as it was adopted in 1770, though, due to its age, the composer is unknown. It is also one of the few national anthems without words.

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