THE VISUAL ARTS PORTAL
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, and filmmaking. 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.
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.
||I try to apply colors like words that shape poems, like notes that shape music.
||— Joan Miró, unknown
Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio
was an Italian artist
active in Rome
. He is commonly placed in the Baroque
school, on which he had a formative influence.
Even in his own lifetime Caravaggio was enigmatic, fascinating, and dangerous. He burst upon the Rome art scene in 1600, and never afterwards lacked commissions or patrons, yet handled his success atrociously. In 1606 he killed a young man in a brawl and fled Rome with a price on his head. In Malta in 1608 he was involved in another brawl, and yet another in Naples in 1609, possibly a deliberate attempt on his life by unidentified enemies. By the next year, after a career of little more than a decade, he was dead.
Famous while he lived, Caravaggio was almost completely forgotten in the centuries after his death, and it was only in the last few decades of the 20th century that he has been rediscovered. Yet despite this his influence on the common style which eventually emerged from the ruins of Mannerism, the Baroque, was profound. Andre Berne-Joffroy, Paul Valery’s secretary, said of him: "What begins in the work of Caravaggio is, quite simply, modern painting."