The arts are a very wide range of human practices of creative expression, storytelling, and cultural participation. They encompass multiple diverse and plural modes of thinking, doing, and being, in an extremely broad range of media. Both highly dynamic and a characteristically constant feature of human life, they have developed into innovative, stylized, and sometimes intricate forms. This is often achieved through sustained and deliberate study, training, and/or theorizing within a particular tradition, across generations, and even between civilizations. The arts are a vehicle through which human beings cultivate distinct social, cultural, and individual identities while transmitting values, impressions, judgements, ideas, visions, spiritual meanings, patterns of life, and experiences across time and space.
The arts can refer to common, popular, or everyday practices as well as more sophisticated, systematic, or institutionalized ones. They can be discrete and self-contained or combine and interweave with other art forms, such as the combination of artwork with the written word in comics. They can also develop or contribute to some particular aspect of a more complex art form, as in cinematography. By definition, the arts themselves are open to being continually redefined. The practice of modern art, for example, is a testament to the shifting boundaries, improvisation and experimentation, reflexive nature, and self-criticism or questioning that art and its conditions of production, reception, and possibility can undergo.
As both a means of developing capacities of attention and sensitivity and as ends in themselves, the arts can simultaneously be a form of response to the world and a way that our responses and what we deem worthwhile goals or pursuits are transformed. From prehistoric cave paintings to ancient and contemporary forms of ritual to modern-day films, art has served to register, embody, and preserve our ever-shifting relationships to each other and to the world. (Full article...)
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The Third of May 1808 (also known as El tres de mayo de 1808 en Madrid or Los fusilamientos de la montaña del Príncipe Pío, or Los fusilamientos del tres de mayo) is a painting completed in 1814 by the Spanish painter Francisco Goya, now in the Museo del Prado, Madrid. In the work, Goya sought to commemorate Spanish resistance to Napoleon's armies during the occupation of 1808 in the Peninsular War. Along with its companion piece of the same size, The Second of May 1808 (or The Charge of the Mamelukes), it was commissioned by the provisional government of Spain at Goya's own suggestion shortly after the ousting of the French occupation and the restoration of King Ferdinand VII.
The painting's content, presentation, and emotional force secure its status as a ground-breaking, archetypal image of the horrors of war. Although it draws on many sources from both high and popular art, The Third of May 1808 marks a clear break from convention. Diverging from the traditions of Christian art and traditional depictions of war, it has no distinct precedent, and is acknowledged as one of the first paintings of the modern era. According to the art historian Kenneth Clark, The Third of May 1808 is "the first great picture which can be called revolutionary in every sense of the word, in style, in subject, and in intention". (Full article...)
Singin' and Swingin' and Gettin' Merry like Christmas is the third book of Maya Angelou's seven-volume autobiography series. Set between 1949 and 1955, the book spans Angelou's early twenties. In this volume, Angelou describes her struggles to support her young son, form meaningful relationships, and forge a successful career in the entertainment world. The work's 1976 publication was the first time an African-American woman had expanded her life story into a third volume. Scholar Dolly McPherson calls the book "a graphic portrait of the adult self in bloom" and critic Lyman B. Hagen calls it "a journey of discovery and rebirth". In Singin' and Swingin, Angelou examines many of the same subjects and themes in her previous autobiographies including travel, music, race, conflict, and motherhood. Angelou depicts the conflict she felt as a single mother, despite her success as a performer as she travels Europe with the musical Porgy and Bess. Her depictions of her travels, which take up 40 percent of the book, have roots in the African-American slave narrative. Angelou uses music and musical concepts throughout Singin' and Swingin'; McPherson calls it Angelou's "praisesong" to Porgy and Bess. Angelou's stereotypes about race and race relations are challenged as she interacts more with people of different races. During the course of this narrative, she changes her name from Marguerite Johnson to Maya Angelou for professional reasons. Her young son changes his name as well, from Clyde to Guy, and their relationship is strengthened as the book ends. (Full article...)
The story is set in a future society ruled by a human interstellar government dominated by a military elite called the Terran Federation. Under this system, only veterans of the military enjoy full citizenship, including the right to vote. The first-person narrative follows Juan "Johnny" Rico, a young man of Filipino descent, through his military service in the Mobile Infantry. He progresses from recruit to officer against the backdrop of an interstellar war between humans and an alien species known as "Arachnids" or "Bugs". Interspersed with the primary plot are classroom scenes in which Rico and others discuss philosophical and moral issues, including aspects of suffrage, civic virtue, juvenile delinquency, and war; these discussions have been described as expounding Heinlein's own political views. Starship Troopers has been identified with a tradition of militarism in US science fiction, and draws parallels between the conflict between humans and the Bugs, and the Cold War. A coming-of-age novel, Starship Troopers also criticizes the US society of the 1950s, arguing that a lack of discipline had led to a moral decline, and advocates corporal and capital punishment. (Full article...)
Monmouth had been a significant border settlement since the Roman occupation of Britain, when it was the site of the fort of Blestium. The River Wye may have been bridged at this time but the Monnow, being easily fordable, appears not to have had a crossing until after the Norman Conquest. According to the local tradition, construction of Monnow Bridge began in 1272 to replace a 12th-century Norman timber bridge. Through the medieval era, the English Civil War, and the Chartist uprising, the bridge played a significant, if ineffectual, role in defending Monmouth. It also served as a gaol, a munitions store, a lodge, an advertising hoarding, a focus for celebrations and, most significantly, as a toll gate. Much of the medieval development of Monmouth was funded by the taxes and tolls the borough was entitled to raise through royal charter. The tolls were collected through control of the points of entry to the town, including the gatehouse on Monnow Bridge. (Full article...)
Nelson's Pillar, c. 1830
Nelson's Pillar (also known as the Nelson Pillar or simply the Pillar) was a large granite column capped by a statue of Horatio Nelson, built in the centre of what was then Sackville Street (later renamed O'Connell Street) in Dublin, Ireland. Completed in 1809 when Ireland was part of the United Kingdom, it survived until March 1966, when it was severely damaged by explosives planted by Irish republicans. Its remnants were later destroyed by the Irish Army.
The decision to build the monument was taken by Dublin Corporation in the euphoria following Nelson's victory at the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805. The original design by William Wilkins was greatly modified by Francis Johnston, on grounds of cost. The statue was sculpted by Thomas Kirk. From its opening on 29 October 1809 the Pillar was a popular tourist attraction, but provoked aesthetic and political controversy from the outset. A prominent city centre monument honouring an Englishman rankled as Irish nationalist sentiment grew, and throughout the 19th century there were calls for it to be removed, or replaced with a memorial to an Irish hero. (Full article...)
Daguerreotype, c. 1849
Frédéric François Chopin (born Fryderyk Franciszek Chopin; 1 March 1810 – 17 October 1849) was a Polish composer and virtuoso pianist of the Romantic period, who wrote primarily for solo piano. He has maintained worldwide renown as a leading musician of his era, one whose "poetic genius was based on a professional technique that was without equal in his generation".
Chopin was born in Żelazowa Wola and grew up in Warsaw, which in 1815 became part of Congress Poland. A child prodigy, he completed his musical education and composed his earlier works in Warsaw before leaving Poland at the age of 20, less than a month before the outbreak of the November 1830 Uprising. At 21, he settled in Paris. Thereafter he gave only 30 public performances, preferring the more intimate atmosphere of the salon. He supported himself by selling his compositions and by giving piano lessons, for which he was in high demand. Chopin formed a friendship with Franz Liszt and was admired by many of his musical contemporaries, including Robert Schumann. After a failed engagement to Maria Wodzińska from 1836 to 1837, he maintained an often troubled relationship with the French writer Aurore Dupin (known by her pen name George Sand). A brief and unhappy visit to Mallorca with Sand in 1838–39 would prove one of his most productive periods of composition. In his final years, he was supported financially by his admirer Jane Stirling. For most of his life, Chopin was in poor health. He died in Paris in 1849 at the age of 39. (Full article...)
Sir Michael Murray Hordern, CBE (3 October 1911 – 2 May 1995) was an English actor. He is best known for his Shakespearean roles, especially King Lear. He often appeared in film, rising from a bit part actor to leading roles; by the time of his death he had appeared in nearly 140 films. His later work was predominantly in television and radio.
The wordless novel is a narrative genre that uses sequences of captionless pictures to tell a story. As artists have often made such books using woodcut and other relief printing techniques, the terms woodcut novel or novel in woodcuts are also used. The genre flourished primarily in the 1920s and 1930s and was most popular in Germany.
Art Deco architecture flourished in New York City during the 1920s and 1930s. The style broke with many traditional architectural conventions and was characterized by verticality, ornamentation, and building materials such as plastics, metals, and terra cotta. Art Deco is found in government edifices, commercial projects, and residential buildings in all five boroughs. The architecture of the period was influenced by worldwide decorative arts trends, the rise of mechanization, and New York City's 1916 Zoning Resolution, which favored the setback feature in many buildings.
The exuberant economy of the Roaring Twenties and commercial speculation spurred a citywide building boom. The size and sophistication of Art Deco ranged from towering skyscrapers to modest middle-class housing and municipal buildings. Colorful, lavishly-decorated skyscrapers came to dominate the skyline of Manhattan before the Great Depression ended their construction. The Depression and changing tastes pushed the style to more subdued applications as it spread in the 1930s, becoming a style of choice for infrastructure projects and modern middle-class apartments in the outer boroughs. (Full article...)
Mells War Memorial is a First World War memorial by Sir Edwin Lutyens in the village of Mells in the Mendip Hills of Somerset, south-western England. Unveiled in 1921, the memorial is one of multiple buildings and structures Lutyens designed in Mells. His friendship with two prominent families in the area, the Horners and the Asquiths, led to a series of commissions; among his other works in the village are memorials to two sons—one from each family—killed in the war. Lutyens toured the village with local dignitaries in search of a suitable site for the war memorial, after which he was prompted to remark "all their young men were killed".
The memorial takes the form of a marble column topped by a sculpture of Saint George slaying a dragon, an image Lutyens used on two other public war memorials. At the base of the column, the names of the village's war dead are inscribed on stone panels. The memorial is flanked by identical rubble walls in local stone, on top of which grows a yew hedge. Low stone benches protrude from the walls to allow wreaths to be laid. Additional panels were fixed to the wall after the Second World War to commemorate that conflict. The memorial was unveiled on 26 June 1921 by Brigadier-General Arthur Asquith, whose brother is among those commemorated on it. It is a grade II* listed building and since 2015 has been part of a national collection of Lutyens' war memorials. (Full article...)
Weird Tales is an American fantasy and horror fictionpulp magazine founded by J. C. Henneberger and J. M. Lansinger in late 1922. The first issue, dated March 1923, appeared on newsstands February 18. The first editor, Edwin Baird, printed early work by H. P. Lovecraft, Seabury Quinn, and Clark Ashton Smith, all of whom went on to be popular writers, but within a year, the magazine was in financial trouble. Henneberger sold his interest in the publisher, Rural Publishing Corporation, to Lansinger, and refinanced Weird Tales, with Farnsworth Wright as the new editor. The first issue under Wright's control was dated November 1924. The magazine was more successful under Wright, and despite occasional financial setbacks, it prospered over the next 15 years. Under Wright's control, the magazine lived up to its subtitle, "The Unique Magazine", and published a wide range of unusual fiction.
Lovecraft's Cthulhu mythos stories first appeared in Weird Tales, starting with "The Call of Cthulhu" in 1928. These were well-received, and a group of writers associated with Lovecraft wrote other stories set in the same milieu. Robert E. Howard was a regular contributor, and published several of his Conan the Barbarian stories in the magazine, and Seabury Quinn's series of stories about Jules de Grandin, a detective who specialized in cases involving the supernatural, was very popular with the readers. Other well-liked authors included Nictzin Dyalhis, E. Hoffmann Price, Robert Bloch, and H. Warner Munn. Wright published some science fiction, along with the fantasy and horror, partly because when Weird Tales was launched, no magazines were specializing in science fiction, but he continued this policy even after the launch of magazines such as Amazing Stories in 1926. Edmond Hamilton wrote a good deal of science fiction for Weird Tales, though after a few years, he used the magazine for his more fantastic stories, and submitted his space operas elsewhere. (Full article...)
Lowell graduated from Harvard College in 1838, despite his reputation as a troublemaker, and went on to earn a law degree from Harvard Law School. He published his first collection of poetry in 1841 and married Maria White in 1844. The couple had several children, though only one survived past childhood. (Full article...)
Doolittle is the second studio album by the American alternative rock band Pixies, released in April 1989 on 4AD. Doolittle was the Pixies' first international release, with Elektra Records as the album's distributor in the United States and PolyGram in Canada. Vocalist Black Francis' lyrics invoke biblical violence, surrealist imagery, and contain descriptions of torture and death, while the album is often praised for the quiet/loud dynamic set up between Black's vocals, Joey Santiago's guitar and the rhythm section.
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. (Full article...)