The arts is a broad subdivision of culture, composed of many expressive disciplines. It is a broader term than "art", which as a description of a field usually means only the visual arts (comprising fine art, decorative art, architecture and crafts). The arts encompasses visual arts, literature, the performing arts, including music, drama, film, dance and related media, and by some definitions other areas such as fashion. A more complete list is given below.
Quatrain on Heavenly Mountain, by Emperor Gaozong (1107–1187) of Song Dynasty; fan mounted as album leaf on silk.
The great traditions in art have a foundation in the art of the ten ancient civilizations:
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.
An artist's palette
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...