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Portal:Visual arts

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The visual arts are art forms such as painting, drawing, printmaking, sculpture, ceramics, photography, video, filmmaking, design, crafts and architecture. Many artistic disciplines such as performing arts, conceptual art, and textile arts also involve aspects of 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 or 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' had for some centuries often been restricted to a person working in the fine arts (such as painting, sculpture, or printmaking) and not the decorative arts, craft, or applied Visual arts 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. The increasing tendency to prefer the painting styles, and to a lesser degree sculpture, of technique or style over another has been a feature of artist throughout the ages. In many instances painting has been seen as relying to the highest degree on the imagination of the artist, and the furthest removed from manual labour – in Chinese painting the most highly valued styles were those of "scholar-painting", at least in theory practiced by gentleman amateurs. The Western hierarchy of genres reflected similar attitudes. (Full article...)

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A scene from the Kunsthistorisches Museum’s Freydal Illuminated manuscript: Freydal jousts with Veit von Wolkenstein (fol.133)

Freydal is an uncompleted illustrated prose narrative commissioned by the Holy Roman Emperor, Maximilian I in the early 16th century. It was intended to be a romantic allegorical account of Maximilian's own participation in a series of jousting tournaments in the guise of the tale's eponymous hero, Freydal. In the story, Freydal takes part in the tournaments to prove that he is worthy to marry a princess, who is a fictionalised representation of Maximilian's late wife, Mary of Burgundy.

The text was never completed, although a manuscript draft is held by the Austrian National Library. 256 miniature paintings to accompany the text were created by court painters, and 255 are preserved in an illuminated manuscript ‘tournament book’ held by the Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna. These miniatures vividly record the different types of jousts that were popular at the time as well as the court masquerades, or ‘mummeries’, that took place at the end of the day after each tournament. It is the most extensive visual record of late medieval tournaments and court masquerades that exists. (Full article...)
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Yellow Christ by Paul Gauguin
Yellow Christ by Paul Gauguin
Credit: Postdlf
Paul Gauguin's The Yellow Christ (1889) is a quintessential example of Cloisonnism, a post-Impressionism movement noted for its bold forms and dark contours. The painting now hangs in the Albright-Knox Art Gallery in Buffalo, New York.

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When I've painted a woman's behind so that I want to touch it, then it's finished!
Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Vollard, Ambroise (1925). Renoir: an initimate record. Translated by Van Dooren, Harold L.; Weaver, Randolph T. New York: Alfred A. Knopf. p. 57. OCLC 631984646.

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Black-and-white photograph of Escher in November 1971
Escher in 1971

Maurits Cornelis Escher (Dutch pronunciation: [ˈmʌurɪt͡s kɔrˈneːlɪs ˈɛʃər]; 17 June 1898 – 27 March 1972) was a Dutch graphic artist who made mathematically inspired woodcuts, lithographs, and mezzotints. Despite wide popular interest, Escher was for most of his life neglected in the art world, even in his native Netherlands. He was 70 before a retrospective exhibition was held. In the late twentieth century, he became more widely appreciated, and in the twenty-first century he has been celebrated in exhibitions around the world.

His work features mathematical objects and operations including impossible objects, explorations of infinity, reflection, symmetry, perspective, truncated and stellated polyhedra, hyperbolic geometry, and tessellations. Although Escher believed he had no mathematical ability, he interacted with the mathematicians George Pólya, Roger Penrose, Harold Coxeter and crystallographer Friedrich Haag, and conducted his own research into tessellation. (Full article...)
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