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      Visual Arts

      These are the arts that meet the eye and evoke an emotion through an expression of skill and imagination. They include the most ancient forms, such as painting and drawing, and the arts that were born thanks to the development of technology, like sculpture, printmaking, photography, and installation art, the latter a combination of multiple creative expressions. Though beauty is in the eye of the beholder, different eras in art history have had their own principles to define beauty, from the richly ornamented taste of the Baroque to the simple, utilitarian style of the Prairie School.
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      Featured content, January 25, 2021

      Street Photography: How a Single Camera Brought About a Genre
      The invention of the Leica camera allowed photographers to move through the streets and capture moments that come and go...
      Companion / Visual Arts
      vintage Leica photo camera at KPI Museum, July 24, 2015, in Kiev, Ukraine
      The Most Stolen Work of Art
      Jan van Eyck’s Ghent Altarpiece has been stolen by Napoleon and Hitler, among others.
      #WTFact / Visual Arts
      Click on image for enlargements of panel sections. The Ghent Altarpiece (open view) by Jan and Hubert van Eyck, 1432, polyptych with 12 panels, oil on panel; in the Cathedral of Saint-Bavon, Ghent, Belg.
      8 Masterpieces of Islamic Architecture
      Take a tour of a few of the Islamic world’s great monuments
      List / Visual Arts
      Inside the Suleymaniye Mosque on may 25, 2013 in Istanbul, Turkey. The Suleymaniye Mosque is the largest mosque in the city, and one of the best-known sights of Istanbul.
      What’s the Difference Between Modern and Contemporary Art?
      Is that odd installation piece that rains on you when you get near it modern or contemporary art? Here are some tips on how...
      Demystified / Visual Arts
      The Jeff Koons tulips sculputure outside the Guggenheim Museums in Bilbao, Spain, Basque Country.
      Drawing
      Drawing, the art or technique of producing images on a surface, usually paper, by means of marks, usually of ink, graphite,...
      Encyclopedia / Visual Arts
      Berthe Morisot: The Artist's Sister, Edma, with Her Daughter, Jeanne
      Mi Fu
      Mi Fu, scholar, poet, calligrapher, and painter who was a dominant figure in Chinese art. Of his extensive writings—poetry,...
      Biography
      Tower of the Rising Clouds, colour on silk by Mi Fu; in the Freer Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.
      Central Asian arts
      Central Asian arts, literary, performing, and visual arts of a large portion of Asia embracing the Turkic republics (Uzbekistan,...
      Encyclopedia / Visual Arts
      Mongol shaman
      East Asian arts
      East Asian arts, the visual arts, performing arts, and music of China, Korea (North Korea and South Korea), and Japan. (The...
      Encyclopedia / Visual Arts
      Liangzhu ceremonial cong

      Visual Arts Quizzes

      Claude Monet's home in Giverny, France.
      This or That? Manet vs. Monet
      Their names only differ by one letter, but their works vary greatly. See if you can tell which of these things is true about...
      President Abraham Lincoln. Statue of Abraham Lincoln, designed by Daniel Chester French, in the Lincoln Memorial, Washington, D.C.
      Who Made That?
      You’ve probably heard of most of the famous works of art in this quiz—but do you remember who made them?
      Illustrations of Clowns
      Clowning Around
      Clowns have a longer history than you might think. Whether you love them or are terrified of them, test your knowledge of...
      Hagia Sophia. Istanbul, Turkey. Constantinople. Church of the Holy Wisdom. Church of the Divine Wisdom. Mosque.
      Architecture: The Built World
      What is the name of the tower associated with mosques? Who buillt Hearst Castle? Test your knowledge of architecture and...
      Tourists visit "Cloud Gate", a sculpture by Anish Kapoor, in Millenium Park in Chicago, Illinois.
      Who Made That? (Part 2)
      Who made these iconic works of art? Test your knowledge of art and artists with this quiz.
      The Creation of Adam to the Flood, detail of the ceiling fresco in the Sistine Chapel, Vatican, by Michelangelo Buonarroti (1475-1564), painted 1508-12. Location: Sistine Chapel, Vatican Palace, Vatican State
      Which Came First: Art Edition
      Think you have your art chronology straight? See if you can guess which of these works, techniques, and styles came first.
      Venus and the Lute Player, ca. 1565-70, Oil on canvas, 65 x 82.5 in. (165.1 x 209.6 cm) by Titian and Workshop. From the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, USA. Titian (Tiziano Vecellio or Vecelli) Italian Renaissance painter, Venetian school.
      Italian Renaissance Art
      Do you know who mastered the design and construction of the dome back in the 15th century? Take this quiz to find out.
      "Future Expectations" by James Van der Zee, c. 1925. James VanDerZee.
      Art of the Harlem Renaissance
      Literature was not the only art that flourished during the Harlem Renaissance. Take this quiz to test your knowledge of the...
      Photograph of urban collage background or typography paper texture
      Bits and Bobs: Collage and Assemblage
      Do you think poetry can be created from found papers and other objects? See how much you know about the arts of collage and...
      "Deux Fantassins Casques (Two Helmeted Infantrymen)" Roger de La Fresnaye, 1917. Pen and black ink with wash, 30.8x19.4 cm
      Cubism: Art and Artists
      What do you know about Cubism and the avant-garde artists who practiced it? Test your knowledge with this quiz.
      Image Gallery
      Visual Arts
      Never Miss a Day in History
      Sign up for daily fun facts about this day in history, updates, and special offers delivered right to your inbox.

      Visual Arts Subcategories

      Ryue Nishizawa (left) and Kazuyo Sejima with their Serpentine Gallery Pavilion, London, 2009. Architecture
      Architecture is a sphere of art and design in which functionality and aesthetics can combine to produce visually stunning structures that manage to both catch the eye and serve a functional purpose. The expansive variety of architectural styles that have been employed throughout the ages underscores the fact that not every building need look the same, a principle that is readily apparent when comparing Gothic cathedrals with igloos or pagodas with cliff dwellings. Noted architects such as Le Corbusier, Frank Lloyd Wright, I.M. Pei, Zaha Hadid, and Jeanne Gang are acclaimed not only for the striking aesthetics of their designs but also for the way in which their work reflected cultural themes and values. Although architecture is commonly associated first and foremost with the design and construction of buildings, landscape architects may work with gardens, parks, and other planned outdoor areas, aiding in the development and decorative planning of such spaces.
      Articles
      subcategory placeholder Arts Awards
      Awards such as the Praemium Imperiale and the Pritzker Prize honor artists for a job well done.
      Articles
      Teatro Olimpico, designed by Andrea Palladio and completed by Vincenzo Scamozzi, 1585, Vicenza, Italy. Decorative Art
      People appreciate the usefulness of things like glassware and furniture, but they appreciate such objects even more when they’re aesthetically pleasing, too. That’s where decorative art comes in. Explore the world of basketry, metalwork, pottery, interior design, tapestry, and more.
      Articles
      shoe Fashion Design
      Looking to make a statement without even saying a word? Fashion designers know that clothing and accessories can speak volumes about the wearer, affecting both how the wearer is perceived by others and how the wearer perceives of him- or herself. The fashion industry has become a multibillion-dollar global enterprise devoted to the business of making and selling clothes; it thrives by being diverse and flexible enough to gratify any consumer's desire to embrace or even to reject fashionability, however that term might be defined.
      Articles
      William Blake Graphic Art
      Calligraphy, graffiti, engraving, caricature: graphic art's domain stretches as far as the eye can see. Take a look at some of the other types of graphic art, and learn more about the artists working within this category of fine arts.
      Articles
      Turrell, James Installation & Performance Art
      Learn about the artists who create installation art, which can incorporate a variety of different materials and artistic forms, such as sculptures, videos, and music, all with the purpose of transforming a given space. Performance artists may also make use of videos and music—as well as such varied elements as acting, poetry, dance, and painting—to create a live presentation for an audience; here, the "audience" could simply consist of onlookers on the street or patrons browsing the halls of a museum, among countless other possibilities.
      Articles
      Vincent van Gogh: A Wheatfield, with Cypresses Painting
      Need help distinguishing your Picassos from your Monets? Learn about history’s celebrated painters and the different styles, techniques, mediums, and forms that have been used to create such unique visual images as Salvador Dalí’s melting clock and the ever-shifting eyes of Leonardo da Vinci’s enigmatic Mona Lisa.
      Articles
      Dada exhibit Photography
      Photography’s history began long before we were snapping pictures on camera phones. Learn about the masters of the craft and explore the development of photographic technology as it progressed through daguerreotypes and tintypes on the way to modern day’s increasingly sophisticated digital cameras.
      Articles
      subcategory placeholder Sculpture
      Looking to find a use for that extra clay, stone, plaster, or metal that you have lying around? Consider sculpture, in which artists employ these materials and others to create three-dimensional art. Perhaps you’ll join the ranks of noted sculptors such as Michelangelo, Auguste Rodin, and Donatello.
      Articles
      Ring in the new year with a Britannica Membership.
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