The arts are a vast subdivision of culture, composed of many creative endeavors and disciplines. It is a broader term than "art", which as a description of a field usually means only the visual arts. The arts encompass the visual arts, the literary arts and the performing arts – music, theatre, dance and film, among others. This list is by no means comprehensive, but only meant to introduce the concept of the arts. For all intents and purposes, the history of the arts begins with the history of art. The arts might have origins in early human evolutionary prehistory. According to a recent suggestion, several forms of audio and visual arts (rhythmic singing and drumming on external objects, dancing, body and face painting) were developed very early in hominid evolution by the forces of natural selection in order to reach an altered state of consciousness. In this state, which Jordania calls battle trance, hominids and early human were losing their individuality, and were acquiring a new collective identity, where they were not feeling fear or pain, and were religiously dedicated to the group interests, in total disregards of their individual safety and life. This state was needed to defend early hominids from predators, and also to help to obtain food by aggressive scavenging. Ritualistic actions involving heavy rhythmic music, rhythmic drill, coupled sometimes with dance and body painting had been universally used in traditional cultures before the hunting or military sessions in order to put them in a specific altered state of consciousness and raise the morale of participants.
Ancient Greek art saw the veneration of the animal form and the development of equivalent skills to show musculature, poise, beauty and anatomically correct proportions. Ancient Roman art depicted gods as idealized humans, shown with characteristic distinguishing features (i.e. Zeus' thunderbolt). In Byzantine and Gothic art of the Middle Ages, the dominance of the church insisted on the expression of biblical and not material truths. Eastern art has generally worked in a style akin to Western medieval art, namely a concentration on surface patterning and local colour (meaning the plain colour of an object, such as basic red for a red robe, rather than the modulations of that colour brought about by light, shade and reflection). A characteristic of this style is that the local colour is often defined by an outline (a contemporary equivalent is the cartoon). This is evident in, for example, the art of India, Tibet and Japan. Religious Islamic art forbids iconography, and expresses religious ideas through geometry instead. The physical and rational certainties depicted by the 19th-century Enlightenment were shattered not only by new discoveries of relativity by Einstein and of unseen psychology by Freud, but also by unprecedented technological development. Paradoxically the expressions of new technologies were greatly influenced by the ancient tribal arts of Africa and Oceania, through the works of Paul Gauguin and the Post-Impressionists, Pablo Picasso and the Cubists, as well as the Futurists and others.
The Freedom Monument
is a memorial, located in Riga
, in honor of soldiers killed in action
during the Latvian War of Independence
. It is considered an important symbol of the freedom, independence and sovereignty of Latvia. Unveiled in 1935, the 42-metre (138 ft) high monument of granite, travertine
and copper often serves as the focal point of public gatherings and official ceremonies. The sculptures and bas-reliefs of the Freedom Monument, arranged in thirteen groups, depict Latvian culture and history. The core of the monument is composed of tetragonal
shapes on top of each other, decreasing in size towards the top, completed by a 19-metre (62 ft) high travertine column bearing the copper figure of Liberty lifting three gilded stars. After several contests the monument was finally built at the beginning of the 1930s according to the scheme "Shine like a star!" by Latvian sculptor Kārlis Zāle
. During World War II
Latvia was annexed by the USSR and the Freedom Monument was considered for demolition, but no such move was carried out. Soviet sculptor Vera Mukhina
is sometimes credited with the rescue of the monument, possibly because she considered it to be of the highest artistic value. It remained a symbol of national independence to the general public and on 14 June 1987
about 5,000 people gathered there to commemorate the victims of the Soviet regime and to lay flowers. This rally began the national independence movement and three years later the independence of Latvia was re-established.
A scene from the Ramayana, an ancient Sanskrit epic. Depicted here are several stages of the War of Lanka, with the monkey army of the protagonist Rama (top left, blue figure) fighting the demon army of the king of Lanka, Ravana, to save Rama's kidnapped wife Sita. The three-headed figure of the demon general Trisiras occurs in several places – most dramatically at the bottom left, where he is shown beheaded by Hanuman.
was an American archaeologist
scholar who made significant contributions towards the study of the pre-Columbian Maya civilization
in the early 20th century. He is particularly noted for his extensive excavations of the Maya site of Chichen Itza
. He also published several large compilations and treatises on Maya hieroglyphic writing
, and wrote popular accounts on the Maya for a general audience. To his contemporaries he was one of the leading Mesoamerican
archaeologists of his day; although more recent developments in the field have resulted in a re-evaluation of his theories and works, his publications (particularly on calendric
inscriptions) are still cited. Overall, his commitment and enthusiasm for Maya studies would generate the interest and win the necessary sponsorship and backing to finance projects which would ultimately reveal much about the Maya of former times. His involvement in clandestine espionage
activities at the behest of the U.S. Office of Naval Intelligence
was another, surprising, aspect of his career, which came to light only well after his death.
- Parent project
- Descendant projects