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THE VISUAL ARTS PORTAL

Introduction

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Visual arts is a class of art forms focusing on the creation of works that are primarily visual in nature, such as painting, drawing, illustration, architecture, photography, graphic design, printmaking, filmmaking, and Internet art also known as net.art. Works that involve moulding or modeling, such as sculpture, public art, and ceramics, are more narrowly referred to as plastic arts.

The visual arts are distinguished from the performing arts, language arts, culinary arts and other such classes of artwork, but those boundaries are not well defined. Many artistic endeavors combine aspects of visual arts with one or more non-visual art forms, such as music or spoken word.

The current use of the phrase "visual arts" includes fine arts as well as crafts, but this was not always the case. Prior to the Arts and Crafts movement in Britain and elsewhere at the turn of the 20th century, "visual artist" referred to a person working in the fine arts (such as painting, sculpture, or printmaking) and not the handicraft, craft, or applied art disciplines.

The scope of study and appreciation of visual arts spans the globe, and reaches through time back to people drawing on stone walls. All societies have embellished their tools and toys with more visual interest than is functionally necessary.

More about visual arts...

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Plate VI: The Smoking Fire from Carceri d'Invenzione by Giovanni Battista Piranesi
Credit: Fb78

Giovanni Battista Piranesi was famous for his etchings of imaginary "prisons" as illustrated here by Plate VI: The Smoking Fire from Carceri d'Invenzione.

Selected article


First stage of cruelty (Plate I)
The Four Stages of Cruelty is a series of four printed engravings published by William Hogarth in 1751. Each print depicts a different stage in the life of the fictional Tom Nero. Beginning with the torture of a dog as a child in the First stage of cruelty, Nero progresses to beating his horse as a man in the Second stage of cruelty, and then to robbery, seduction, and murder in Cruelty in perfection. Finally, in The reward of cruelty, he receives what Hogarth warns is the inevitable fate of those who start down the path Nero has followed: his body is taken from the gallows after his execution as a murderer and is mutilated by surgeons in the anatomical theatre.

The prints were intended as a form of moral instruction; Hogarth was dismayed by the routine acts of cruelty he witnessed on the streets of London. Issued on cheap paper, the prints were destined for the lower classes. The series shows a roughness of execution and a brutality that is untempered by the humorous touches common in Hogarth's other works, but which he felt was necessary to impress his message on the intended audience. Nevertheless, the pictures still carry the wealth of detail and subtle references that are characteristic of Hogarth.


Selected quote


Many are willing to suffer for their art. Few are willing to learn to draw.
Simon Munnery, Attention Scum!


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Dalí, photographed by Carl Van Vechten (1939)
Salvador Dalí was a Catalan-Spanish artist who became one of the most important painters of the twentieth century. A skilled draftsman, he is best known for his surrealist work identified by its striking, bizarre, dreamlike images. His painterly skills are often attributed to the influence of Renaissance masters. His best known work, The Persistence of Memory, was completed in 1931. In addition to painting, his artistic repertoire included film, sculpture, photography, and an Academy Award-nominated short cartoon, "Destino," on which he collaborated with Walt Disney; it was released posthumously in 2003. An artist of great imagination, Dalí had an affinity for doing unusual things to draw attention to himself. This sometimes irked those who loved his art as much as it annoyed his critics, since his eccentric manner sometimes drew more public attention than his artwork.


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