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THE VISUAL ARTS PORTAL

Introduction

The visual arts are art forms such as ceramics, drawing, painting, sculpture, printmaking, design, crafts, photography, video, filmmaking, and architecture. Many artistic disciplines (performing arts, conceptual art, textile arts) involve aspects of the visual arts as well as arts of other types. Also included within the visual arts are the applied arts such as industrial design, graphic design, fashion design, interior design and decorative art.

Current usage of the term "visual arts" includes fine art as well as the applied, decorative arts and crafts, but this was not always the case. Before the Arts and Crafts Movement in Britain and elsewhere at the turn of the 20th century, the term 'artist' was often restricted to a person working in the fine arts (such as painting, sculpture, or printmaking) and not the handicraft, craft, or applied art media. The distinction was emphasized by artists of the Arts and Crafts Movement, who valued vernacular art forms as much as high forms. Art schools made a distinction between the fine arts and the crafts, maintaining that a craftsperson could not be considered a practitioner of the arts.

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View of Mt. Fuji from Numazu by Hokusai
Credit: Petrusbarbygere

Ukiyo-e, "pictures of the floating world", is a genre of Japanese woodblock prints (or woodcuts) and paintings produced between the 17th and the 20th centuries, featuring motifs of landscapes, the theatre and pleasure quarters. It is illustrated here by Hokusai's Red Fuji from his Thirty-six Views of Mt. Fuji series.

Selected article


Raising the Flag on Iwo Jima
Raising the Flag on Iwo Jima is an iconic photograph taken on February 23, 1945 by Joe Rosenthal. It depicts five United States Marines and a U.S. Navy corpsman raising the Flag of the United States atop Mount Suribachi during the Battle of Iwo Jima in World War II. The photograph was instantly popular, being reprinted in hundreds of publications. Later, it became the only photograph to win the Pulitzer Prize for Photography in the same year as its publication, and ultimately came to be regarded as one of the most significant and recognizable images in history, and possibly the most reproduced photograph of all time. Of the six men depicted in the picture, three (Franklin Sousley, Harlon Block, and Michael Strank) did not survive the battle; the three survivors (John Bradley, Rene Gagnon, and Ira Hayes) became suddenly famous. The photograph was later used by Felix de Weldon to sculpt the USMC War Memorial, located just outside Washington, D.C.


Selected quote


Painting is easy when you don't know how, but very difficult when you do.
Edgar Degas, unknown


Selected biography

Moore's Reclining Figure (1951)
Henry Moore was a British artist and sculptor. Born into a poor mining family in the Yorkshire town of Castleford, he became well-known for his large-scale abstract cast bronze and carved marble sculptures; substantially supported by the British art establishment, Moore helped to introduce a particular form of modernism into Britain. His ability to satisfy large-scale commissions made him exceptionally wealthy towards the end of his life. However, he lived frugally and most of his wealth went to endow the Henry Moore Foundation, which continues to support education and promotion of the arts. His signature form is a pierced reclining figure, first influenced by a Toltec-Maya sculpture known as "Chac Mool", which he had seen as a plaster cast in Paris in 1925. Early versions are pierced conventionally as a bent arm reconnects with the body. Later, more abstract versions, are pierced directly through the body in order to explore the concave and convex shapes. These more extreme piercings developed in parallel with Barbara Hepworth's sculptures. Hepworth first pierced a torso after misreading a review of one of Henry Moore's early shows.


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