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T H E   A R T S   P O R T A L

Self-Portrait by Rembrandt

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, judgments, ideas, visions, spiritual meanings, patterns of life and experiences across time and space.

Prominent examples of the arts include:

They can employ skill and imagination to produce objects, performances, convey insights and experiences, and construct new environments and spaces.

The arts can refer to common, popular or everyday practices as well as more sophisticated and 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 re-defined. 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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  • Image 1Bramall Hall from the west, the side of the main entrance, showing the courtyard and the north and south wings. The Great Hall is in the centre.Bramall Hall is a largely Tudor manor house in Bramhall, in the Earldom of Chester and, historically, in the county of Cheshire, now within the Metropolitan Borough of Stockport, Greater Manchester, England. It is a timber-framed building; the oldest parts of which date from the 14th century, with later additions from the 16th and 19th centuries.  The house, which functions as a museum, and its 70 acres (28 ha) of landscaped parkland with lakes, woodland and gardens (Bramhall Park) are open to the public.Dating back to Anglo-Saxon England, the manor of Bramall was first described in the Domesday Book in 1086, when it was held by the Masseys. From the late 14th century, it was owned by the Davenports who built the present house; they remained lords of the manor for about 500 years. In 1877, they sold the estate of nearly 2,000 acres to the Manchester Freeholders' Company, a property company formed expressly for the purpose of exploiting the estate's potential for residential building development. The Hall and a residual park of over 50 acres was sold on by the Freeholders (though not the lordship of the manor) to the Nevill family of successful industrialists. In 1925, it was purchased by John Henry Davies and then, in 1935, acquired by the local government authority for the area, Hazel Grove and Bramhall Urban District Council. Following a local government reorganisation in 1974, Bramall Hall is now owned by Stockport Metropolitan Borough Council (SMBC), which describes it as "the most prestigious and historically significant building in the Conservation Area". (Full article...)
    Bramall Hall from west, 2011.jpg
    Bramall Hall from the west, the side of the main entrance, showing the courtyard and the north and south wings. The Great Hall is in the centre.

    Bramall Hall is a largely Tudor manor house in Bramhall, in the Earldom of Chester and, historically, in the county of Cheshire, now within the Metropolitan Borough of Stockport, Greater Manchester, England. It is a timber-framed building; the oldest parts of which date from the 14th century, with later additions from the 16th and 19th centuries. The house, which functions as a museum, and its 70 acres (28 ha) of landscaped parkland with lakes, woodland and gardens (Bramhall Park) are open to the public.

    Dating back to Anglo-Saxon England, the manor of Bramall was first described in the Domesday Book in 1086, when it was held by the Masseys. From the late 14th century, it was owned by the Davenports who built the present house; they remained lords of the manor for about 500 years. In 1877, they sold the estate of nearly 2,000 acres to the Manchester Freeholders' Company, a property company formed expressly for the purpose of exploiting the estate's potential for residential building development. The Hall and a residual park of over 50 acres was sold on by the Freeholders (though not the lordship of the manor) to the Nevill family of successful industrialists. In 1925, it was purchased by John Henry Davies and then, in 1935, acquired by the local government authority for the area, Hazel Grove and Bramhall Urban District Council. Following a local government reorganisation in 1974, Bramall Hall is now owned by Stockport Metropolitan Borough Council (SMBC), which describes it as "the most prestigious and historically significant building in the Conservation Area". (Full article...)
  • Image 2Wintjiya Napaltjarri (born between ca. 1923 to 1934) (also spelt Wentjiya, Wintjia or Wentja), and also known as Wintjia Napaltjarri No. 1, is a Pintupi-speaking Indigenous artist from Australia's Western Desert region. She is the sister of artist Tjunkiya Napaltjarri; both were wives of Toba Tjakamarra, with whom Wintjiya had five children.Wintjiya's involvement in contemporary Indigenous Australian art began in 1994 at Haasts Bluff, when she participated in a group painting project and in the creation of batik fabrics. She has also been a printmaker, using drypoint etching. Her paintings typically use an iconography that represents the eggs of the flying ant (waturnuma) and hair-string skirts (nyimparra). Her palette generally involves strong red or black against a white background. (Full article...)
    Wintjiya Napaltjarri (born between ca. 1923 to 1934) (also spelt Wentjiya, Wintjia or Wentja), and also known as Wintjia Napaltjarri No. 1, is a Pintupi-speaking Indigenous artist from Australia's Western Desert region. She is the sister of artist Tjunkiya Napaltjarri; both were wives of Toba Tjakamarra, with whom Wintjiya had five children.

    Wintjiya's involvement in contemporary Indigenous Australian art began in 1994 at Haasts Bluff, when she participated in a group painting project and in the creation of batik fabrics. She has also been a printmaker, using drypoint etching. Her paintings typically use an iconography that represents the eggs of the flying ant (waturnuma) and hair-string skirts (nyimparra). Her palette generally involves strong red or black against a white background. (Full article...)
  • The second quadrangle (built c. 1640–c.1712) of Jesus College, with the large bay window of the hall on the right
    The second quadrangle (built c. 1640–c.1712) of Jesus College, with the large bay window of the hall on the right
  • Charles-Valentin Alkan, c. 1835. Portrait by Édouard Dubufe
    Charles-Valentin Alkan, c. 1835. Portrait by Édouard Dubufe
  • Image 5"The Stolen Earth" is the twelfth episode of the fourth series and the 750th overall episode of the British science fiction television series Doctor Who. It was first broadcast on BBC One on 28 June 2008. The episode was written by show runner and head writer Russell T Davies and is the first of a two-part crossover story with spin-offs Torchwood and The Sarah Jane Adventures; the concluding episode is "Journey's End", the finale of the fourth series, broadcast on 5 July.The finale's narrative brings closure to several prominent story arcs created during Davies' tenure as show runner. In the episode, contemporary Earth and 26 other planets are stolen by the Daleks, aided by their megalomaniacal creator Davros and a shattered but precognitive Dalek Caan. As the Doctor (David Tennant) and his companion Donna Noble (Catherine Tate) try to find Earth, his previous companions Jack Harkness (John Barrowman), Martha Jones (Freema Agyeman), Sarah Jane Smith (Elisabeth Sladen), and Rose Tyler (Billie Piper) convene to contact him and mount a defence against the Daleks. In the episode's climax, the Doctor is shot by a Dalek and begins to regenerate. (Full article...)
    "The Stolen Earth" is the twelfth episode of the fourth series and the 750th overall episode of the British science fiction television series Doctor Who. It was first broadcast on BBC One on 28 June 2008. The episode was written by show runner and head writer Russell T Davies and is the first of a two-part crossover story with spin-offs Torchwood and The Sarah Jane Adventures; the concluding episode is "Journey's End", the finale of the fourth series, broadcast on 5 July.

    The finale's narrative brings closure to several prominent story arcs created during Davies' tenure as show runner. In the episode, contemporary Earth and 26 other planets are stolen by the Daleks, aided by their megalomaniacal creator Davros and a shattered but precognitive Dalek Caan. As the Doctor (David Tennant) and his companion Donna Noble (Catherine Tate) try to find Earth, his previous companions Jack Harkness (John Barrowman), Martha Jones (Freema Agyeman), Sarah Jane Smith (Elisabeth Sladen), and Rose Tyler (Billie Piper) convene to contact him and mount a defence against the Daleks. In the episode's climax, the Doctor is shot by a Dalek and begins to regenerate. (Full article...)
  • Image 6 Union Station is an Amtrak railroad station and mixed-use commercial building in downtown Erie, Pennsylvania, United States. It is served by the Lake Shore Limited route, which provides daily passenger service between Chicago and (via two sections east of Albany) New York City or Boston; Erie is the train
  • Portrait of Mary Wilbraham, Weston Park
    Portrait of Mary Wilbraham, Weston Park
  • Image 8Jane Marian Joseph (31 May 1894 – 9 March 1929) was an English composer, arranger and music teacher. She was a pupil and later associate of the composer Gustav Holst, and was instrumental in the organisation and management of various of the music festivals which Holst sponsored. Many of her works were composed for performance at these festivals and similar occasions. Her early death at age 35, which prevented the full realisation of her talents, was considered by her contemporaries as a considerable loss to English music.Holst first observed Joseph's potential when he was teaching her composition at St Paul's Girls' School. She began to act as his amanuensis in 1914, when he was composing The Planets, her special responsibility being the preparation of the score for the "Neptune" movement. She continued to assist Holst with transcriptions, arrangements and translations, and was his librettist for the choral ballet The Golden Goose. (Full article...)
    Jane Marian Joseph (31 May 1894 – 9 March 1929) was an English composer, arranger and music teacher. She was a pupil and later associate of the composer Gustav Holst, and was instrumental in the organisation and management of various of the music festivals which Holst sponsored. Many of her works were composed for performance at these festivals and similar occasions. Her early death at age 35, which prevented the full realisation of her talents, was considered by her contemporaries as a considerable loss to English music.

    Holst first observed Joseph's potential when he was teaching her composition at St Paul's Girls' School. She began to act as his amanuensis in 1914, when he was composing The Planets, her special responsibility being the preparation of the score for the "Neptune" movement. She continued to assist Holst with transcriptions, arrangements and translations, and was his librettist for the choral ballet The Golden Goose. (Full article...)
  • Image 9 After the Deluge, also known as The Forty-First Day, is a Symbolist oil painting by English artist George Frederic Watts, first exhibited as The Sun in an incomplete form in 1886 and completed in 1891. It shows a scene from the story of Noah
  • Image 10Master of Puppets is the third studio album by the American heavy metal band Metallica, released on March 3, 1986, by Elektra Records. Recorded in Denmark at Sweet Silence Studios with producer Flemming Rasmussen, it was the band's last album to feature bassist Cliff Burton, who died in a bus accident in Sweden during the album's promotional tour.The album's artwork, designed by Metallica and Peter Mensch and painted by Don Brautigam, depicts a cemetery field of white crosses tethered to strings, manipulated by a pair of hands in a clouded, blood-red sky, with a fiery orange glow on the horizon. Instead of releasing a single or video in advance of the album's release, Metallica embarked on a five-month American tour in support of Ozzy Osbourne. The European leg was canceled after Burton's death in September 1986, and the band returned home to audition a new bassist. (Full article...)
    Master of Puppets is the third studio album by the American heavy metal band Metallica, released on March 3, 1986, by Elektra Records. Recorded in Denmark at Sweet Silence Studios with producer Flemming Rasmussen, it was the band's last album to feature bassist Cliff Burton, who died in a bus accident in Sweden during the album's promotional tour.

    The album's artwork, designed by Metallica and Peter Mensch and painted by Don Brautigam, depicts a cemetery field of white crosses tethered to strings, manipulated by a pair of hands in a clouded, blood-red sky, with a fiery orange glow on the horizon. Instead of releasing a single or video in advance of the album's release, Metallica embarked on a five-month American tour in support of Ozzy Osbourne. The European leg was canceled after Burton's death in September 1986, and the band returned home to audition a new bassist. (Full article...)
  • Virupaksha temple at Hampi, the sacred centre at Vijayanagara, the royal capital
    Virupaksha temple at Hampi, the sacred centre at Vijayanagara, the royal capital
  • Image 12True at First Light is a book by American novelist Ernest Hemingway about his 1953–54 East African safari with his fourth wife Mary, released posthumously in his centennial year in 1999. The book received mostly negative or lukewarm reviews from the popular press and sparked a literary controversy regarding how, and whether,  an author's work should be reworked and published after his death. Unlike critics in the popular press, Hemingway scholars generally consider True at First Light to be complex and a worthy addition to his canon of later fiction.In a two-day period in January 1954, Hemingway and Mary were in two plane crashes in the African bush. He was reported dead by the international press, arriving in Entebbe to face questions from reporters.  The severity of his injuries was not completely known until he returned to Europe months later. Hemingway spent much of the next two years in Havana, recuperating and writing the manuscript of what he called 'the Africa book',  which remained unfinished at the time of his suicide in July, 1961. In the 1970s, Mary donated it along with his other manuscripts to the John F. Kennedy Library.  The manuscript was released to Hemingway's son Patrick in the mid-1990s. Patrick edited the work to half its original length to strengthen the underlying storyline and emphasize the fictional aspects. The result is a blend of memoir and fiction. (Full article...)
    True at First Light is a book by American novelist Ernest Hemingway about his 1953–54 East African safari with his fourth wife Mary, released posthumously in his centennial year in 1999. The book received mostly negative or lukewarm reviews from the popular press and sparked a literary controversy regarding how, and whether, an author's work should be reworked and published after his death. Unlike critics in the popular press, Hemingway scholars generally consider True at First Light to be complex and a worthy addition to his canon of later fiction.

    In a two-day period in January 1954, Hemingway and Mary were in two plane crashes in the African bush. He was reported dead by the international press, arriving in Entebbe to face questions from reporters. The severity of his injuries was not completely known until he returned to Europe months later. Hemingway spent much of the next two years in Havana, recuperating and writing the manuscript of what he called 'the Africa book', which remained unfinished at the time of his suicide in July, 1961. In the 1970s, Mary donated it along with his other manuscripts to the John F. Kennedy Library. The manuscript was released to Hemingway's son Patrick in the mid-1990s. Patrick edited the work to half its original length to strengthen the underlying storyline and emphasize the fictional aspects. The result is a blend of memoir and fiction. (Full article...)
  • Berlioz by August Prinzhofer, 1845
    Berlioz by August Prinzhofer, 1845
  • Image 14Madman's Drum is a wordless novel by American artist Lynd Ward (1905–1985), published in 1930.  It is the second of Ward's six wordless novels.  The 118 wood-engraved images of Madman's Drum tell the story of a slave trader who steals a demon-faced drum from an African he murders, and the consequences for him and his family.Ward's first wordless novel was Gods' Man of 1929.  Ward was more ambitious with his second work in the medium: the characters are more nuanced, the plot more developed and complicated, and the outrage at social injustice more explicit.  Ward used a wider variety of carving tools to achieve a finer degree of detail in the artwork, and was expressive in his use of symbolism and exaggerated emotional facial expressions. (Full article...)
    Madman's Drum is a wordless novel by American artist Lynd Ward (1905–1985), published in 1930. It is the second of Ward's six wordless novels. The 118 wood-engraved images of Madman's Drum tell the story of a slave trader who steals a demon-faced drum from an African he murders, and the consequences for him and his family.

    Ward's first wordless novel was Gods' Man of 1929. Ward was more ambitious with his second work in the medium: the characters are more nuanced, the plot more developed and complicated, and the outrage at social injustice more explicit. Ward used a wider variety of carving tools to achieve a finer degree of detail in the artwork, and was expressive in his use of symbolism and exaggerated emotional facial expressions. (Full article...)

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Chromostereopsis
Stained-glass credit: unknown; photographed by Jan Mehlich
Chromostereopsis is a visual illusion in which the impression of depth is conveyed in two-dimensional color images. This 1564 stained-glass window, in the Bielsko-Biała Museum and Castle in Poland, exhibits this effect, with contrasting depth perception in the red and blue areas. The window, an example of Standesscheibe, depicts the coat of arms of Unterwalden, a canton of the Old Swiss Confederacy.

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Ima Hogg

Ima Hogg was an enterprising circus emcee who brought culture and class to Houston, Texas. A storied ostrich jockey, she once rode to Hawaii to visit the Queen. Raised in government housing, young Ima frolicked among a backyard menagerie of raccoons, possums and a bear. Her father, "Big Jim" Hogg, in an onslaught against fun itself, booby-trapped the banisters she loved to slide down, shut down her money-making schemes, and forced her to pry chewing gum from furniture. He was later thrown from his seat on a moving train and perished; the Hogg clan then struck black gold on land Big Jim had forbidden them from selling. Ima had apocryphal sisters named "Ura" and "Hoosa" and real-life brothers sporting conventional names and vast art collections; upon their deaths, she gave away their artwork for nothing and the family home to boot. Tragically, Ms. Hogg (a future doctor) nursed three dying family members. She once sweet-talked a burglar into returning purloined jewelry and told him to get a job. Well into her nineties, she remained feisty and even exchanged geriatric insults with an octogenarian pianist. Hogg claimed to have received thirty proposals of marriage in her lifetime, and to have rejected them all. Hogg was revered as the "First Lady of Texas", and her name and legacy still thrive today. (Full article...)

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  • Frank C. Stanley's 1910 performance of Robert Burns' Auld Lang Syne. Contains the first and last verse.
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