THE VISUAL ARTS PORTAL

Introduction

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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Grant Centennial dollar obverse.jpg

The Grant Memorial coinage are a gold dollar and silver half dollar struck by the United States Bureau of the Mint in 1922 in honor of the 100th anniversary of the birth of Ulysses S. Grant, a leading Union general during the American Civil War and later the 18th president of the United States. The two coins are identical in design and were sculpted by Laura Gardin Fraser.

The Ulysses S. Grant Centenary Memorial Association, also called the Grant Commission, wanted to sell 200,000 gold dollars to be able to finance multiple projects in the areas of Grant's birthplace and boyhood home. Congress authorized only 10,000 gold coins, but also authorized 250,000 half dollars. Hoping to boost sales, the Grant Commission asked for 5,000 of the gold dollars to bear a special mark, an incuse star; the Mint did the same for the half dollars as well, unasked for. (Full article...)
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View of Mt. Fuji from Numazu by Hokusai
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.

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Drawing is the honesty of the art. There is no possibility of cheating. It is either good or bad.
Salvador Dalí, People (September 27, 1976)


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Auguste Rodin by George Charles Beresford (NPG x6573).jpg
Photograph by Beresford, 1902

François Auguste René Rodin (12 November 1840 – 17 November 1917) was a French sculptor, generally considered the founder of modern sculpture. He was schooled traditionally and took a craftsman-like approach to his work. Rodin possessed a unique ability to model a complex, turbulent, and deeply pocketed surface in clay. He is known for such sculptures as The Thinker, Monument to Balzac, The Kiss, The Burghers of Calais, and The Gates of Hell.

Many of Rodin's most notable sculptures were criticized, as they clashed with predominant figurative sculpture traditions in which works were decorative, formulaic, or highly thematic. Rodin's most original work departed from traditional themes of mythology and allegory. He modeled the human body with naturalism, and his sculptures celebrate individual character and physicality. Although Rodin was sensitive to the controversy surrounding his work, he refused to change his style, and his continued output brought increasing favor from the government and the artistic community. (Full article...)
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